Fresh from their seven-wicket win over a hapless Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars would be looking to add some consistency to their form and register two successive wins for the first time in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) when they take on Quetta Gladiators in the 11th match of the T20 league on Saturday.
The Lahore outfit would also be looking to avenge their first-match defeat to Sarfraz Ahmed’s men after the Quetta outfit somehow pipped them to a win when Brendon McCullum’s men looked like the favourites.
Qalandars have shown a lot of promise this season and have proven to be a far better version than the one which finished last in the inaugural edition of the league. Yet, despite the intent, the Lahore outfit have found it hard to put in consistent displays.
They lost their first match to the Gladiators, then won against champions Islamabad United by putting in a remarkable performance to chase 159. They then managed to post the lowest-ever score in PSL when they were bundled out for an embarrassing 59 against Peshawar Zalmi, but followed that up with a brilliant performance against Karachi Kings.
Points shared as Peshawar-Quetta match abandoned
Fakhar Zaman, the man-of-the-match against Karachi, believes the team has gelled together well and are equipped to deal with the consistency problem plaguing the team.
“We have gained momentum with the win over Karachi; it gave us the boost we needed to increase the morale of the team,” he said. “We have found the best combination of players and have followed the strategies that have been set out by the management. Quetta are a tough team and we will be going into the game with nothing but a win on our minds.”
He credited captain McCullum for instilling a winning mentality in the dressing room. “McCullum is like a friend and has changed the mindsets of the players. He says even if we score low we have to put our best to defend that and win the match. He is not only friendly in the dressing room but also on the field and doesn’t let the team take any pressure.”
Gladiators, on the other hand, have been extremely impressive so far in the PSL and are raging to better their previous edition’s performance, where they finished runners-up to winners Islamabad United.
Zaman's 56 leads Lahore to seven-run victory over Karachi
Rilee Rossouw, Quetta’s star man, is in hot form and is the leading run-scorer in the tournament with __ which includes two half-centuries, while Mohammad Nawaz has been lethal with the ball claiming five wickets in the tournament.
With batting legend Sir Vivian Richards there to mentor the young side and push them when they are down — as experienced in their first match against Lahore Qalandars, the Quetta outfit look like real title contenders.
Rafatullah looking to impress against Zalmi
Rafatullah Mohmand, who replaced Sharjeel Khan after the opener was suspended for his alleged involvement in fixing, is aiming to deliver his best against Peshawar Zalmi when the two sides face off in the second match of the day on Saturday.
Mohmand, who has represented the national side in three T20Is, believes the PSL is the best platform to prove his worth. “PSL is a big platform to prove your worth and make everyone realize your skills as it is being watched by millions of people and cricket greats. Islamabad have given me a chance and I will give my best to ensure the team wins.”