About the Match
Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, who occupy the first and second position respectively, will face each other in the 1st Qualifying Final of the ongoing Pakistan Super League at Dubai on 19th February. Zalmi defeated Karachi Kings in the last league match on Wednesday by 5 wickets to keep the top spot on the table while Gladiators had suffered defeat against Zalmi in their last outing and will be eager to avenge that defeat here to keep their campaign going. Friday’s clash will decide which team reserves a berth in the finals, while the other will have to fight it out with the winner of the 2nd qualifying match over the weekend.
Facing 152-run target against Kings, Hodge played a decisive role as he posted an unbeaten 85 off 45 to take the team safely home. He kept the scoreboard ticking and built sound partnerships with Allenby, Akmal and Sammy to help the team win the match by 5 wickets. Earlier, the bowlers contained the opponents as Afridi, Yamin, Sammy and others claimed a wicket each. The victory has boosted their morale yet again and they will take on Gladiators with renewed vigour on Friday.
When they faced Gladiators earlier in the league, they were victorious in one match while suffered defeat in the other; in last Sunday’s match, Zalmi successfully chased 129-run target to win by 8 wickets as Dawid Malan posted 60 off 52 and Hafeez continued with his good form with the bat. The bowlers were ruthless as Afridi claimed a stunning figure of 5-7 to demolish the Gladiators and Wahab Riaz and Asghar provided regular breakthroughs taking 3 wickets between them.
However, Zalmi will be cautious in their approach towards Gladiators as they had suffered defeat against them after being restricted to 135. With an in-form batting line-up and strong bowling unit, Zalmi looks well placed to make it to the finals.
They had defeated Zalmi once before as Mohammad Nawaz struck with 3 wickets and Umar Gul followed it up with 2 scalps; the bowlers restricted the opponents to 135 runs, which the batsmen successfully chased down thanks to Kevin Pietersen and Sarfraz Ahmed’s strong partnership.
Although Gladiators suffered loss against the same team recently, they will be motivated to do well here and try to make it to the finals of this first edition of the PSL; with strong batsmen like Luke Wright, Ahmed Shehzad, Sangakkara, Elliott and Sarfraz Ahmed in the top-order, the Gladiators will focus on building a solid foundation whether batting first or during chase.
Bowlers Zulfiqar Babar, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Nabi, Umar Gul and Elliott have found success with the wickets but need to contain the run-flow in order to pressurise the opposition.
The contest will definitely be well-fought by both these strong units and from their past record, the match could go either way; however, we feel that Peshawar Zalmi has performed better and look more confident to win the match and become the first finalist of the season