SHARJAH: Wounded by Wednesday’s five-wicket loss to Islamabad United — their only loss in the tournament so far — Sarfraz Ahmed’s Quetta Gladiators will be eager to make amends as they take on table-toppers Peshawar Zalmi in the ninth match of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Sharjah.
The only thing separating the two sides at the top of the table is the net run rate, with both teams currently sitting on four points with two wins and a loss.
Gladiators have shown great spirit in the ongoing T20 league, especially in their match against Lahore Qalandars where a valiant bowling display took the match away from Bredon McCullum’s men.
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They were thwarted by an Islamabad side in fine form but the Quetta outfit look like genuine title contenders and would be looking to go one better than the performance they put in last year’s PSL where they finished as runners-up to Islamabad.
Peshawar, on the other hand, have not looked the force they have promised to be and struggled to reach the meagre target against Qalandars, despite the Lahore outfit making just 59 runs — the lowest score in the two editions of the PSL.
Yet despite not being at their best, Peshawar, led by two-time World T20 winning captain Darren Sammy, know how to grind out a win and the match against Quetta would test both teams to their limits at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
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Karachi Kings certainly want to win the PSL and have been doing everything they can to convince everyone that they are genuine title-contenders. However, their performances on the pitch speak otherwise.
Kumar Sangakkara, who replaced Shoaib Malik as the captain of the ‘most supported side in the PSL’, has not been able to transfer his abilities to the team so far as little improvement seems to be on show from last year.
Islamabad, meanwhile, have been in fine form and atoned for their loss against Lahore by defeating Quetta in the ensuing match.
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The Misbahul Haq-led defending champions have not been affected by the corruption controversy involving three of their players — two have been suspended (Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif), while Muhammad Irfan is under investigation — and look a real threat on the pitch.