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|Mohammad Irfan Jnr||4.0||0||32||2||8.00|
After a spell of uncertainties, Pakistan Super League is back on track as Blitz and Trans Group have stepped in to fill the TV production void. As we get back to the business, Quetta Gladiators are leading the table and Lahore Qalandars are struggling to find a rhythm yet again and are languishing at the bottom of the table with the rest of the teams in between. Quetta Gladiators will look to maintain their supremacy at the ladder when they clash with Multan Sultans in the upcoming fixture at Sharjah on 20th February.
After getting off to a terrible start, the Sultans from Multan did wonderfully well to register their first win and get into the top half of the table. The Sultans bank heavily on the experience which has been clearly apparent in both their games.
Shahid Afridi was wonderful in the previous game, against Islamabad, where he once again rolled back the time and produced a magical spell with the ball. He not only picked up two important wickets but also kept it tight resulting in more pressure to score on United's batsmen. Ali Shafiq bowled well in tandem with Afridi and picked up two wickets for 11 as Sultans restricted Islamabad United to just 125.
Chasing 126 shouldn't have presented Sultans with a lot of problems, but their top-order batsmen failed which pushed Sultans into a hole. Shoaib Malik used his experience and coupled with Afridi's belligerence, Multan Sultans eventually killed the chase with five wickets in hand.
Shan Masood, J Vince, Laurie Evans, Shoaib Malik, DT Christian, Andre Russell, SMSK Afridi, Shakeel Ansar, Nauman Ali, Ali Shafiq, Mohammad Irfan.
In the history of the competition, Quetta Gladiators, led by Sarfraz Ahmed have arguably been the most consistent side. They've started off the tournament on a similar note - winning both their matches so far.
Their last win came against Islamabad United wherein Sohail Tanvir and Shane Watson combined to cruise to a seven-wicket win. Bowling first on a batsman-friendly wicket, Quetta Gladiators begun in a dominant fashion as Tanvir delivered a double-wicket maiden. It took Wayne Parnell's effort of 41 to push United to a post a competitive total on the board. Sohail Tanvir and Fawad Ahmed were the pick of the bowlers for the Gladiators and returned with the respective figures of 21 for 4 and 15 for 3.
157 was a competitive total on Dubai's surface where we saw a string on low totals in the preceding matches. The brilliance of Umar Akmal, who scored a half-century in the first match as well, turned this chase into a walk in the park. Shane Watson played the anchor role to perfection and scored 81 off 55 deliveries as the Gladiators eventually overhauled the total with considerable ease.
SR Watson, Ahsan Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Umar Akmal, Dwayne Smith, Sarfraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Ghulam Mudassar, S Tanvir, M Irfan Jnr, Fawad Ahmed.
We are done with the first leg in the Pakistan Super League and as we move to Sharjah, we are likely to see higher totals being scored. Quetta Gladiators have done exceptionally well in both their matches wherein Umar Akmal has played a primary role. Multan Sultans, on the other hand, have looked rather shaky, but have two important points in their kitty. Considering the recent results and on-paper lineups, Quetta Gladiators are firm favorites to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.
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