About the Match
Runners up from season one, Quetta Gladiators will kick-start their campaign this year with the opening match against Lahore Qalandars, who finished last on the table last year, at Dubai on 10th February. While both teams have a good mix of experience as well as young talent, they will be eager to take a focused approach through the league and make it to the knock-out stage in a methodical way. Fresh talent has been infused on both sides and it needs to be seen which of them emerges as the winner at the end of the day; fans are expected to fill up the stands completely and we could surely have a full-on entertainer on Friday.
The energetic and inspiring ex-New Zealand captain, Brendon McCullum has been roped in to lead the side and he could do a good job at that. Having finished at the bottom of the table last season despite having some star players on the team, the Qalandars will try to redeem themselves this time around with better performances overall.
The batting line-up has experienced players like Umar Akmal, Azhar Ali, James Franklin, Bilawal Bhatti, Cameron Delport and all-rounders like Grant Elliott, who can stabilize the innings from the middle. The bowling squad has pacemen like Sohail Tanvir and Aamer Yamin, who are new to this team but have exceptional capabilities in stalling the opposition from scoring the big runs. Spinners include the in-form Yasir Shah and Sunil Narine, who can wreak havoc on the other side while Zafar Gohar, Elliott and Chris Green bring variety to the squad.
Overall, they have a good mix of batsmen and bowlers, who will leave no stone unturned to help their team win the contest here.
They came close to the title last year but were vanquished by Islamabad in the finals; however, they have all the firepower to do one better this year. The experienced top-order batsman Sarfraz Ahmed leads the side that has players like Ahmed Shehzad, who was the top-scorer for the team last season, Kevin Pietersen, who is in tremendous form and had an impressive BBL series, all-rounders like Rilee Rossouw, Thisara Perera, Luke Wright, Nathan McCullum and the feisty Mahmudullah.
The batting line-up is deep and they could do well to set up a big total while batting first or chase one with ease. Spinners like Mohammad Nawaz, who was the leading wicket-taker for the team last year with 13 wickets, Zulfiqar Babar and McCullum will be in action and they will try to outwit the opponents here.
Speedsters Anwar Ali, Mir Hamza, Umar Gul and the T20 specialist Tymal Mills from England will provide their fast-bowling skills and could stifle the Qalandars here right from the start; they have a good mix of spinners and pacers who could bring out all their firepower to dominate on the field.
Both sides have match-winners from the domestic circuit as well as established overseas performers, who can help their team emerge victorious on Friday. The contest could well go down to the wire but we feel that the Gladiators’ batting strength could overcome the Qalandars bowling power and win this opening match