SHARJAH: Pakistan Super League (PSL) defending champions Islamabad United take on last year’s bottom side Lahore Qalandars but the gap between the two sides is not as drastic anymore, and a big enough win can even see Lahore leapfrog Islamabad in the points table.
Brendon McCullum’s men have four points in five games — already as many as they got in eight matches last year — but will be disappointed with not having more.
Quetta Gladiators somehow managed to chase down a mammoth 201-run target against Lahore in their last match; the second time that Lahore had looked like favourites against Quetta, only to throw it all away.
However, they would take heart with their previous win against Islamabad United, where several of the players impressed.
Revenge over Quetta on Lahore’s mind
Lahore Qalandars head coach Aqib Javed is confident his side can do the double over champions Islamabad. “The boys played superbly in the last match against Quetta, but unfortunately we lost,” he told The Express Tribune.
Javed also feels his side has the firepower with the bat to trouble any opposition. “All of our players have the capability to play an innings that can either set up a good target or chase one down.”
However, he feels the bowling must step up to the plate. “We made some mistakes while bowling which we have worked over during the rest day. We will be doing our best to go through to the next round,” he said, adding that the players are confident of going all the way. “For now we are concentrating on each match as it comes though.”
Zaman stars in Lahore’s seven-run victory over Karachi
Meanwhile, Islamabad, who won their last game against Peshawar Zalmi off the final ball of the game, are wary of the threat Lahore post. “We lost the last match against Qalandars but we now are a more balanced side,” said all-rounder Amad Butt.
The 21-year-old impressed during his last outing against Peshawar, claiming 1-9 in his two overs, and is hoping for more of the same.
“I had a good game against Peshawar Zalmi and was able to take the prized wicket of Bangladesh star Shakib alHasan, who could have taken the game away from us,” he said. “Now we have to face Lahore before we go back to Dubai; they have some good players and the way they batted against Quetta has us worried a bit. But I am in a good shape and feel that I can be useful to the team against Lahore.”