Peshawar, Quetta head-to-head in PSL-4 qualifier
KARACHI: Quetta Gladiators and one-time champions Peshawar Zalmi would square-off in Qualifier of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019 at National Stadium Karachi with both captains promising to fight till the last ball.
Led by Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed, Quetta have finished runner-up in 2016 and 2017, while Peshawar outlasted them in the third vs fourth Eliminator in 2018. Interestingly, every time the margin of victory was one-run.
This proves no teams is ready to give up until the last-run as winner will feature in the sell-out March 17 final. Losing side will have another opportunity to qualify for the final when they will meet the winner of Thursday’s Eliminator between Karachi Kings and Islamabad United on Friday.
Sarfraz promised another cliff-hanger this time as well.
“The rivalry is exemplary,” said Sarfraz. “Every time in the last three years, we had exciting matches which went down to the wire. We will put up another exciting show this time and hope a capacity crowd will have their money’s worth.”
Sarfraz played down the talk of psychological edge.
“I don’t think there will be any psychological edge,” said Sarfraz. “We have all played 10 matches. This will be a new match on a new day.”
He admits Quetta had a more balanced squad, with the induction of former West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, and that give him more hopes of an elusive title after losing the final twice.
“Yes, we have a more balanced squad and DJ’s arrival has given us more balance. We will do our best to win the title, but it will depend on how we play the last matches. We have a full-strength and we will do our best to win the title.”
Quetta also boost of a very strong batting line-up with Shane Watson on top of the run charts with 352 in 10 matches. The former Australia all-rounder will hope to make his first visit to Pakistan for PSL memorable in the last round with big scores.
Peshawar would be happy at return to form of Kamran Akmal who smashed a 48-ball 86 against Karachi in the last league game, while Imam-ul-Haq, Liam Dawson, Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard can also be depended on when needed.
Peshawar’s pace attack is their strong point as it can pose big challenge for Quetta’s batting. Hasan Ali leads the wicket chart with 21 wickets in 10 games and is ably complemented by Wahab Riaz (13 wickets), Sameen Gul (nine), Umaid Asif (seven) and Tymal Mills (five).
Peshawar captain Sammy hoped his pace attack and Kamran win him more matches.
“Kamran is our match-winner and is backed up by pace attack led by Hasan. It’s nice to see Wahab Riaz giving him full support,” said Sammy. “It will be tough to score against our fast bowlers.”