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Peshawar Zalmi and the Quetta Gladiators played the final last year in front of a packed stadium in Pakistan. This year the two teams will once again meet in Pakistan looking to win the first eliminator and move on towards the finals of the tournament. The crowds are sure to be packed inside the stadiums and it is going to be an occasion to remember. Which team will be able to make it a night to remember?
Winning tournaments is often about peaking at the right time. The Multan Sultans started the tournament hot but lost momentum and ended up not qualifying for the final stages. Peshawar Zalmi is peaking at the perfect time.
Kamran Akmal has chosen to set the tournament alive at just the right time. Two blistering innings in the last two matches, including the first century of PSL 2018, helped Peshawar Zalmi reach this point in the tournament.
He would love to play a similar inning at the packed Gaddafi Stadium as well.
Peshawar seems to have made the right choice by demoting Mohammad Hafeez in the batting order. They are allowing their big hitters the maximum time in the middle and using Hafeez more as a floater.
The last time that Peshawar Zalmi traveled to Pakistan, they traveled with their entire contingent of foreign players. This made the entire difference and allowed them to coast to a victory. This time as well, reports suggest that apart from Dwayne Smith, all of Peshawar’s foreign players will be traveling to Lahore.
Consistency and stability in the team make a huge difference in tournaments like these and this is where Peshawar Zalmi has a huge advantage.
The loss of Dwayne Smith is a big one but Shakib Al Hasan will replace him and provide very similar value. Now that Peshawar’s top-order is firing, the middle order is filled with power, and Hasan Ali has returned to boost the bowling, the team is looking very difficult to beat.
Liam Dawson, Hasan Ali, and Wahab Riaz will be the bowlers that will be expected to do the bulk of the damage for Peshawar. Quetta is going to be missing some of its best batsmen and that will make the Peshawar bowlers even more deadly.
Kamran Akmal, Tamim Iqbal, ADS Fletcher , Mohammad Hafeez, Saad Nasim, DJG Sammy, LA Dawson, Hasan Ali, Wahab Riaz, Umaid Asif, Sameen Gul.
The Quetta Gladiators are widely regarded as one of the best teams to play in the PSL every year. Last year they were badly hit by the refusal of their overseas players to tour Pakistan and this year appears to be no different.
Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson, and Ben Laughlin have all refused to travel to Pakistan for the final stages of the Pakistan Super League. Jason Roy is currently stated as being undecided but it is expected that he will also not travel to Pakistan.
Rilee Rossow, Chris Green, Thisara Perera, Johnson Charles, Mahmudullah, and Tom Kohler-Cadmore are expected to join Quetta as they try and make a run for the PSL title in Pakistan.
Changing the crux of the team at such a crucial stage is very difficult and leaves the Quetta Gladiators at a distinct disadvantage. How the PCB can prevent this from happening in the future is a topic of discussion for another day.
The absence of these overseas players, though, does not mean that Quetta is not going to be able to compete. Sarafaraz Ahmed, Umar Amin, and Rilee Rossow will all have to take greater responsibility while the new recruits will be keen to perform as well.
We think Tom Kohler-Cadmore is an excellent choice and should be preferred to Johnson Charles. If Thisara Perera and Mahmudullah can also slot into the middle order then they give Quetta a very decent batting order.
The bowling for the Quetta Gladiators is being run by Pakistani players, all of whom will be available to play. Anwar Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Rahat Ali, Mir Hamza, and Hasan Khan have all shown good form at different times in the tournament.
An inspired performance by just one or two of these players will be enough for Quetta to win the match. The odds are stacked against the Quetta Gladiators but T20 is not a game where too much importance should be given to names on a sheet. One inning of brilliance is enough to cause an upset.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Asad Shafiq, RR Rossouw, Mahmudullah, Sarfraz Ahmed, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Nawaz, A Ali, Hassan Khan, Mir Hamza, Rahat Ali.
We thin the team winning the toss will bat first
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The Gaddafi Stadium has been one of the iconic venues to host cricket matches in Pakistan. The most recent matches played over there suggest that we are in for a batting treat. Both teams will probably look to bat first and benefit from scoreboard pressure while bowling. Sunny weather with no chance of rain has been forecast for the match.
Peshawar Zalmi has lost three out of the last five matches against the Quetta Gladiators but only one out of the last three. They will be clear favorites going into this match but we are inclined to back the Quetta Gladiators for the upset win.
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