Lahore and Quetta aim to bounce back
Twice runners-up Quetta Gladiators and twice wooden-spoonist Lahore Qalanadars aim to bring their Pakistan Super League (PSL) campaigns back on track on the third day of the league at Dubai on Saturday.
Quetta went down by 19 runs against Karachi Kings — their first defeat against Karachi Kings after four PSL wins — as they failed to achieve a modest 150-run target. Lahore had more worries to overcome as they squandered a winning position against Multan Sultans to lose by 43 runs.
Lahore were well on course for a comfortable win as they — chasing 180 to win — were 132-3 before they lost their last seven wickets for a mere four runs in the space of 15 balls. Fakhar Zaman should have won the game for his team after being well set on 49 and hitting the ball well during his four sixes knock.
Quetta have the upper hand in the head to head, having won three of the four games the two teams have played in the two editions so far. Quetta may not have as formidable unit as Lahore but their spirit and unity is far more than Lahore Qalandars who look like a disjointed outfit.
Lahore played all their three spinners in the first match as they missed Sohail Khan, the highest wicket taker of the last PSL — 16 for Karachi Kings — as he is recovering from a back problem which forced him to miss the regional one day cup last month.
Both teams will look to their foreign stars to pull their socks up, Brendon McCullum failed with the bat as he failed to score against Multan while Cameroon Delport also came a cropper. For Quetta, Kevin Pietersen, playing his last season before hanging up his boots, needs to fire up. Rilee Rossouw did show up but it wasn’t enough to see Quetta through to the 150-run target.
“We need to fire up,” said Sarfaraz Ahmed, captain of Quetta. “The main problems was that we played close to six overs in dot balls which is not acceptable.”
Zalmi skipper Darren Sammy played teenage leg-spinner Ibtisam Sheikh in the first game who looked a bit nervous but will be continued in the second game.