About the Match
Lahore Qalandars stand at the bottom of the table with zero points after two outings and will now take on Quetta Gladiators who are placed first with 6 points from three wins, on 8th February at Dubai. The Gladiators won in a close encounter against Peshawar Zalmi in the recently concluded match. Earlier, they defeated Karachi Kings by 8 wickets to continue with their winning momentum while Qalandars suffered defeat against Peshawar Zalmi in another dismal effort. Qalandars will have to pull up their socks and perform better here if they want to start climbing the points table; on the other hand, Gladiators, who now have three wins from three games to their name, have been excellent on the field and will leave no stone unturned to win the upcoming match too.
Put to bat first by Peshawar Zalmi in the last match, the Qalandar batsmen were able to muster only 117 runs on board after hard-hitters like Chris Gayle and Cameron Delport were out for ducks in the very first over. Azhar Ali and Dwayne Bravo tried to build the innings by scoring 30+ runs while Umran Akmal and Hammad Azam contributed well to help take the total across the hundred mark.
The bowlers had a tough task in front of them to defend the low total and only Mendis was able to take a wicket leading to a massive loss by 9 wickets with 6 overs to spare. Zohaib Khan and Chris Gayle tried to stifle the opposition with their variations but it was a stiff challenge to overcome in the end. In the match against Karachi Kings also, they failed to put up a competitive total batting first and the bowlers couldn’t break partnerships when required.
They have an experienced batting line-up with players like Gayle, Delport, Azhar Ali, Bravo, Sohaib Maqsood and Mohammad Rizwan, who can definitely get the big runs if they focus on stabilizing the innings in the middle. The bowling needs to be more disciplined and they should bring out all their firepower to contain the Gladiators on Monday if they want to win the match.
The Gladiators have done very well to register three straight wins in as many games played so far and they are confident to take on Qalandars with another brilliant performance on the field. In their game against Peshawar on Sunday, the bowlers provided regular breakthroughs to stifle the opponent; while Kevin Pietersen anchored the chase to take them within the striking distance. Anwar Ali and Zulfiqar Babar took a wicket each, Umar Gul took 2 wickets and Mohammad Nawaz, who has been in terrific form, took three wickets stop the top order from getting the big runs.
Earlier in their game against Karachi, with 148 runs to chase, the batting line-up proved its mettle yet again as Ahmed Shehzad came back into form and scored 71 off 46 to give a quick start; Wright, who has been in good nick with the bat, yet again contributed well as he scored 47 off 39 deliveries while Pietersen scored an unbeaten 29 to take the team home safely.
They have a good batting line-up and an in-form bowling unit that can surprise the opponents and help the team win matches with ease; if they can keep a cool head above their shoulders in crunch situations, then the contest against Qalandars could well go in their favour.
While Qalandars are desperately in need of a win here, the Gladiators have proved to be a formidable force to reckon with till now; the contest could go either way with strong batsmen on both sides, but we feel that Gladiators are in better shape to triumph yet again on Monday