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|AB de Villiers||14||8||3||0||175.00|
These are still early days in the Pakistan Super League and we've already seen a few closely-fought contests. With teams likely to get more and more acquainted to the conditions and the opponents, the competition is only going to get tougher. Both Peshawar Zalmi and Lahore Qalandars got off to poor starts respectively and will be looking to make amends and bounce back into the competition. They will lock horns at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on 17th February.
The last year's runners-up didn't exactly get off to the kind of start they were looking for. Despite getting a good start in both halves of the game, Peshawar Zalmi failed to end up on the correct end of their result in their opening match of the tournament, against Quetta Gladiators.
Darren Sammy's side got off a phenomenal start with the elder Akmal brother partnering well with Sohaib Maqsood after the early dismissal of Andre Fletcher. The dismissal of Kamran Akmal, however, triggered a mini-collapse as they lost their next four wickets, including the one of Kamran, for just 26 runs. The veteran Pakistani batsmen, Misbah Ul Haq, was the lone fighter as he finished unbeaten one run shy of a half-century.
The Zalmis couldn't really have started off in a better manner than they did. Hasan Ali trapped Ahmed Shahzad in front on only the first delivery of the innings. Barring Wahab Riaz, who returned with the impressive figures of 4-0-18-2, none of their bowlers could make any impact whatsoever as they eventually lost the match by six wickets and two deliveries to spare.
Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Umar Amin, WL Madsen, Kieron Pollard, LA Dawson, DJG Sammy, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umaid Asif, Ibtisam Sheikh.
The biggest star in the Pakistan Super League 2019, AB de Villiers, was picked by Lahore Qalandars and he was certainly expected to change the fortunes of the sides. Although he couldn't really do much in the batting department in their last match, he was enthusiastic about his feedback on the ground which helped Qalandars steal their first win of the tournament, against Karachi Kings.
In a match which was influenced by rain albeit a little, Lahore Qalandars restricted the potent Karachi Kings' batting to just 116 in the defense of 138. Batting first, the Qalandars got off to a terrific start with Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar adding 64 runs for the first wicket. However, just like the last game, their middle-order failed to capitalize on the good start as they failed to even double the eight-over score despite having nine wickets in hand.
After a dismal batting performance in the death overs, Qalandars needed an inspirational performance from their new-ball bowlers for them to have any chance of defending the subpar score. The opening pair of Yasir Shah and Shaheen Shah Afridi did just that as Yasir Shah kept things tight from one end Shaheen Afridi chipped away with the wicket of Liam Livingstone. The turning point of the match proved to be the dismissal of Babar Azam who was castled by Hardus Viljoen in the 12th over of the match. Rahat Ali and Haris Rauf then did exceedingly well to keep things under the control as they picked up seven wickets between them to demolish Karachi Kings.
AB de Villiers, F Zaman, Sohail Akhtar, Anton Devcich, Agha Salman, BRM Taylor, Hardus Viljoen, Hassan Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali.
So far in the tournament, Peshawar Zalmi are the only team which is yet to taste success in the tournament. They are placed at the bottom of the table, but points-table doesn't really depict the full picture. Lahore Qalandars bounced back from a heart-wrenching defeat to upset Karachi Kings, but the fragility of their middle-order was apparent again. Having said that, they have displayed better cricket as compared to Peshawar Zalmi and have the confidence and momentum with a win in their previous fixture. With openers and bowlers in good form and AB de Villiers in the middle-order, the Qalandars are more likely to emerge on top in the upcoming encounter.