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We are almost at the halfway stage in the Pakistan Super League and there are quite a few changes in the points table as compared to what it was like just a couple of days ago. A couple of wins for Karachi Kings has pushed them to the third spot on the ladder and they not only look well-position to qualify for the playoffs now, but also have a shot at finishing at the top of the table. They were in a similar position as what Lahore Qalandars are in now and Karachi's resurgence in the tournament would haven give the Qalandars a bit of hope as well. While they are against one of the most difficult teams to play against in the tournament, the Qalandars would be feeling fresh and will be raring to go after a short break they have had. The match between them and Quetta Gladiators is to be played on 3rd March at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.
Up until their last match, Quetta Gladiators looked invincible in the tournament. However, Quetta Gladiators faced a reality check as they got defeated by Multan Sultans in a rather one-sided contest. As of now, they are placed at the second spot on the ladder with three wins to their name. Their net run-rate took a big hit with their loss to Sultans, but they wouldn't be too worried about, just yet.
Against the Sultans, Quetta Gladiators looked in control for most part of the game, but a scintillating knock by Rilee Rossouw turned the game on its head. He scored a quick-fire hundred, which not many saw coming, as no bowler from Gladiators' camp proved to be effective against him. With Sultans at 65 after first ten overs, the Gladitors looked in control. However, their bowlers conceded 134 runs in the last ten overs and needed to score 200 in the second innings.
As one would expect from a team like Quetta Gladiators, they tried long and hard to chase this total down. Shane Watson's 81-run knock match Rossouw's hundred to perfection, but lack of support from other batsmen rendered Quetta Gladiators 30 runs short of Sultans' total.
On paper, Quetta Gladiators are a solid unit with experience and talent oozing out. With Ben Cutting coming in at number five, they have a terrific finisher availablea and their top-order is second to none. They have done reasonably well in the tournament so far and should be a force to reckon with not just for the Qalanards, but also for all the teams they are set to face in the tournament.
SR Watson, JJ Roy, Ahsan Ali, Azam Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Ben Cutting, Sarfraz Ahmed, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Anwar Ali, Fawad Ahmed.
In the tournament so far, Lahore's fans have had nothing to cheer for. Apart from getting close to a win in their second match, which was against Islamabad United, there has been nothing in the tournament for the Qalandars. As of now, they are placed at the bottom of the points table, but the fact that they have played only three games works for them. Another couple of wins in their next two matches will thrust them right back into the tournament.
While their batting did reasonably well against Islamabad United, it would be safe to say that their batsmen have failed to perform thus far. Against Peshawar Zalmi, in a rain-curtailed encounter, they can call themselves a bit unfortunate as they were left to chase 132 in 12 overs, it was their batting to be blamed. On most days, a total of 132 is chaseable in these conditions and failure to do so will certainly raise questions and they did.
On paper, Lahore Qalandars have everything a team could ask for in T20s. They have the bruteforce and flair of Chris Lynn and Fakhar Zaman respectively available at the top of the order. With Mohammad Hafeez, Dane Vilas, and Samit Patel to follow their openers and David Wiese available to bat late in the order, they have a batting order a lot of other teams would envy of.
Their bowling as well has put up only an ordinary show in the three matches so far. In their first match, Multan Sultans chased their total down with almost four overs to spare. Against Islamabad United, their bowlers got them close to a win, but eventually lost the match in the last over. They bowled first against Peshawar Zalmi and that didn't help their cause either. Zalmi batsmen were severe against the Qalandars bowlers as Peshawar Zalmi scored 132 runs in 12 overs. While David Wiese, Dilbar Hussain, and Shaheen Shah Afridi did well, Salman Irshad and Maaz Khan were way too expensive and undid the job done by the trio. Dilbar Hussain was the pick of their bowlers and he returned with the exceptional figures of 4 for 24 in 3 overs.
The Qalandars aren't as bad a side as they have played so far. Their youngsters haven't fired and that will be a major cause of concern in the upcoming contest. They have a good unit with power-hitters available at their disposal, and if their youngsters can assist their senior players, Qalandars will be a tough side to beat.
F Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Chris Lynn, Ben Dunk, SR Patel, S Prasanna, Sohail Akhtar, Muhammad Faizan, Shaheen Afridi, Dilbar Hussain, Salman Irshad.
Check out the Dream11 fantasy team prediction for the Pakistan Super League match to be played between Quetta Gladiators and Lahore Qalandars
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There isn't a lot of difference amongst the six sides in the competition, at least on paper. However, it is the on-field performance of the sides that differentiates them. Going by how things have fared in the tournament for both the sides, coming back to winning ways is likely to be difficult for Lahore Qalanards. Having said that, they are up against a Gladiators' side that will be a little low on confidence. Comparing the two teams on paper and on performance of the two teams, Quetta Gladiators are a better team, and therefore, out pick to bet on in the upcoming PSL encounter.
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