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|AB de Villiers||52||29||3||3||179.31|
|U Siddiq Khan||53||38||4||2||139.47|
The most consistent side of the tournament, Quetta Gladiators, continued to show their prowess as they crushed Multan Sultans in the eighth match of Pakistan Super League. With that loss, the Sultans are stuck in the mid-table tussle where five teams have two points each to their name. They'll be looking to get out of this mid-table rut when they face Lahore Qalandars on 22nd February at Sharjah Cricket Ground. Having signed AB de Villiers, Lahore would have hoped for a better turnaround in this season, but they're languishing at the bottom of the table. A win here, however, will push them to the top half of the points table and we expect them to come out all guns blazing on Friday.
After posting a convincing win against Karachi Kings, the Qalandars will be disappointed the way the lost to Peshawar Zalmi in their subsequent match. They are languishing at the floor of the points table with the net run rate which is lowest among all the teams.
Lahore Qalandars continued to be the most beleaguered franchise in the history of Pakistan Super League and this season as they were dismantled for just 78 batting first against Peshawar Zalmi. It was a complete batting failure and after AB de Villiers was castled by Hasan Ali, the Qalandars never really stood a chance.
Going by what has happened in their first three matches, Lahore Qalandars would be satisfied with the way their bowling has fared. Their batting, however, has failed on all three occasions, resulting in two losses. They'd need their batting to step-up and with AB de Villiers in the website, it certainly doesn't look impossible. They'd need some AB magic to get back into the tournament and they'd be hoping for nothing less.
F Zaman, Salman Butt, AB de Villiers, Sohail Akhtar, Agha Salman, BRM Taylor, D Wiese, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali.
Batting first on a decent Sharjah wicket, little did Sultans know that the total of 161 will prove to be a cake-walk for the Gladiators' batsmen. Despite the loss, there were plenty of positives to take from the match for the Sultans.
At one stage, the Sultans were superbly placed at 137 for 3 with Shoaib Malik looking to cut loose. They looked well set to get past 180 but could get only to 161 - which proved to be the turning point of the match. The departure of Shoaib Malik robbed them of all the momentum as they could score only 23 off the last 20 deliveries and lost as many as six wickets in the process.
Barring the first couple of overs, Multan Sultans were never really given a chance by Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw. Apart from Mohammad Irfan, who picked up a wicket for 26 in his four overs, no bowler was able to put Quetta batsmen in any sort of trouble. It was rather surprising considering that the Sultans are reliant more on their bowling as compared to their batting.
J Vince, Laurie Evans, U Siddiq Khan, Shoaib Malik, DT Christian, Andre Russell, Hammad Azam, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Irfan Khan, Mohammad Irfan.
As far as recent form is concerned, there's nothing separating the two sides. Both Sultans and Qalandars have managed to win just one game in the competition so far and are desperately searching for a victory. While Sultans have done reasonably in all the matches, they've been average at best. Lahore Qalandars, on the other hand, have done superbly with the ball, but their poor batting has trumped their brilliant bowling more often than not. The Sultans have the experience and appear to be a better-balanced side with contributions coming in from all departments and are better placed to win the upcoming encounter.
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