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The PSL group stages have come to an end and we have the same four teams qualify as every other season of the PSL. There is nothing that the people involved in running the Pakistan Super League can do anything about it but there has to be a way of breaking up the predictability of the league.
That, however, is a conversation for another day. Right now, we have the PSL 2019 Qualifier 1 to look forward to. The two teams that finish at the top of the table are going to be rewarded by getting two chances of making the PSL Final.
The Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi are those two teams and we don’t think anyone can say that they did not deserve to be in this position. The best two sides of PSL 2019 are going to do battle in Karachi and we expect to see some fireworks.
Kamran Akmal is truly at another level when he is playing in Pakistan and he showed this once again in the final group stage match of the PSL. Akmal is one of the best ever players in PSL history and pulled out another gem to derail a strong Karachi Kings bowling attack.
Bowlers like Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, and Imad Wasim were smashed around the par by Kamran Akmal. He is going to be the key to Peshawar Zalmi’s fortunes in PSL Qualifier 1 as well. Imam Ul Haq continued to score runs and change perceptions about his utility in the shortest format of the game.
It was very good to see Kieron Pollard be promoted up the order in the previous match. Peshawar Zalmi is one of the very few T20 teams that use Kieron Pollard like he was meant to be used. As an attacking weapon. He came out at number in the previous match and smashed a six of the first two deliveries he faced. He got out on the third ball but that is the risk you take with a player like Pollard.
The middle and lower order is a bit thin for Peshawar Zalmi and dependent on the all-rounders for its runs. Darren Sammy and Liam Dawson combine with Pollard and provide the boost to the Peshawar side. Sohai Maqsood played in the last match and can be used anywhere in the order but runs from the openers form a very large part of the Peshawar Zalmi plans.
Hasan Ali continued his brilliant PSL 2019 and picked up another three-wicket haul. Ali has 21 wickets to his name and is the leading wicket-taker of PSL 2019. His is well supported by Wahab Riaz, Liam Dawson, and Tymal Mills.
Peshawar Zalmi is a dangerous side but one that could implode if it loses a few key early wickets.
Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Misbah-ul-Haq, LA Dawson, Kieron Pollard, DJG Sammy, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, TS Mills, Sameen Gul.
The Quetta Gladiators lost a thriller to the Karachi Kings in their previous match but it did not do them much harm. The side was assured of a top-2 finish and so losing that last game would have been disappointing but nothing that the Quetta Gladiators lost sleep over.
The Quetta Gladiators are a formidable side and bring some serious batting firepower to the contest. Shane Watson has scored over 300 runs in PSL 2019 and is our player to watch out for in this match. He has the sense of occasion, does Shane Watson, and could very well treat the Karachi fans to an exhibition of six hitting.
His opening partner, Ahmed Shehzad, is also in stunning form having scored 99 in the previous match. Shehzad is showing a completely new side to his batting with a lot more power, urgency, and purpose from the very beginning.
We are still wary of depending upon Ahmed Shehzad, though, because more than anything else he can get in his own head and ruin everything.
The Quetta Gladiators also have their own Akmal to bring to the fight. Umar Akmal is probably a little more talented than his brother but also a little more unpredictable. Like his brother, Umar Akmal has the potential to play a match-winning inning for his side.
We hope that Sarafraz Ahmed can promote himself up the order if the side needs it and lead by example. The Quetta Gladiators are filled with batting talent at the top but do not have the power in the middle that Peshawar Zalmi boasts of.
The bowling unit of Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Hasnain, Fawad Ahmed, and Mohammad Nawaz is very good. There is also Dwayne bravo to round out the side and ensure that there are no easy overs for the opposition batsmen.
The Quetta Gladiators must hope that one of their senior batsmen can come to the party because they certainly have the bowling to stop Peshawar Zalmi from bossing them around.
SR Watson, Ahmed Shehzad, Ahsan Ali, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed, Rilee Rossouw, Mohammad Nawaz, Dwayne Bravo, Mohammad Hasnain, S Tanvir, Fawad Ahmed.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
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The PSL 2019 Qualifier 1 is going to be played between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators at the National Stadium, Karachi. The weather forecast for Karachi is very good and we should have no weather-related interruptions in the match.
The pitch has been quite good for batting. It has allowed the players to hit through the line without worrying about inconsistent bounce or lack of pace. A score of around 180 seems to be par for the surface.
We think that the Quetta Gladiators have the better side in this contest but by only a whisker. The wickets of Kamran Akmal and Kieron Pollard are going to be key in this match. If they get out early then the Quetta Gladiators should be able to win this but if even one of them gets going then Peshawar Zalmi is going to be difficult to stop.
Back Quetta Gladiators to win.
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