About the Match
Quetta Gladiators, who are placed 1st on the table with 4 points will take on Peshawar Zalmi, who stand second presently with 4 points, only to be separated by NRR, on 7th February at Dubai. While the Gladiators defeated United in the opening game, Zalmi emerged victorious in their opening match against United as well. Both teams have tasted success and will be eager to take their campaign forward with a good performance here on Sunday; in the most recent games, Pewshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators both won against their respective teams. It needs to be seen which team can hold its nerves together and triumph.
Mohammad Nawaz, who took 4-13 against Islamabad United in the opening game, provides teeth to the attack and along with Zulfiqar Babar, Anwar Ali and Umar Gul, the Gladiators are definitely a brutal force against any opposition. Their batting line-up has also proved its mettle when they successfully chased down the 129-run target to win the match against United.
Luke Wright top scored with an unbeaten 86 off 53 while Nawaz returned with an all-rounder performance as he scored a well-made run-a-ball 22 to help the team win and earn the player of the match award too. Although, both Shehzad and Pietersen played well in the second game,they couldn't impress much with the bat in the opening game, but they definitely have the experience and skills to come out all guns blazing in the upcoming games.
The bowling department has a lot of variety with players like Mohammad Nabi, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Nawaz, Babar and others who must focus on getting quick wickets and pressurising the opponent to commit mistakes. If the top order clicks against Zalmi whether batting first or during chase, then this could be a tough unit to crack under crunch situations too.
They won the match against Islamabad United by 24 runs after defending 146 runs with ease thanks to a coordinated effort by bowlers Wahab Riaz and Mohammad Asghar, who took 3 wickets each and Shan Tait, who made matters worse for the opposition with his 2-24 in his 4-over spell. Junaid Khan and Shahid Afridi provide depth to the attack and can surprise the opponent with their bowling variations. Riaz and Tait are in very good form and lead the pace attack while Junaid Khan will assist with his fast bowling technique. Earlier today, they defeated Lahore Qalandars after restricting them to a paltry total of 117. Their batsmen feasted as they sealed the chase with 9 wickets in hand.
Batting first, Tamim Iqbal set a solid foundation with his well-made half century but the others down the line including the in-form Mohammad Hafeez and Kamran Akmal failed to keep the scoreboard ticking. Shahid Afridi tried to lead from the front but got out for just 16 runs; they put a respectable total of 145 on board and it was the bowlers who came through and went on to win the match.
Against Gladiators, they must strategize well to stifle the hard-hitting batsmen like Wright, Pietersen and Ahmed Shehzad; if batting first, they should stabilize the innings with focus on building partnerships and during chase must keep their nerves together to reach the target. Overall, they have a good batting line-up and a strong pace attack that can put up stiff challenges to Gladiators.
Both teams have a well-rounded bowling attack that can take regular wickets and pressurise the other side; both are coming after comfotable victories with contribution from both batsmen and bowlers. Once again, batsmen will need to come out all guns blazing in what could be a well-fought contest. Although the result could either way, we feel that Peshawar Zalmi are better placed to win the match on Sunday