Two-time finalists Quetta Gladiators and one-time champions Peshawar Zalmi will square-off in the ‘El Clasico’ final of the Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium Karachi today, with both captains promising to fight till the last ball.
It’s that match we all wait for like no other. The ‘El Clásico’ of Pakistan Super League. The clash that is guaranteed to test nerves.
Led by Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, Quetta have finished runner-up in 2016 and 2017, while Peshawar outlasted them in the third vs fourth Eliminator in 2018, but were defeated in this season’s qualifier.
The Quetta-Peshawar rivalry began in 2016 when both the sides shared a match each in the first round, before Gladiators won the war of Qualifier when medium-pacer Aizaz Cheema took two wickets and conceded a single off the last-ball as Peshawar failed to chase down target of 134 runs.
Peshawar won one of the league matches in 2017, while the other was rained-off in Sharjah before another Qualifier went to Quetta, this time too Peshawar falling short by one-run in pursuit of a 201-run target.
On that day, Hasan Ali was run-out when two runs were needed off the last-ball.
But Peshawar had the last laugh, clinching the final and the title with a big 58-run victory against a depleted Quetta, who were without their top foreign players.
They again shared a league match each in 2018, before Peshawar snatched victory from the jaws of Quetta by one-run in the Eliminator in Lahore.
Needing 25 runs off the last over, Quetta were brought within a stroke of victory by Anwar Ali who hammered three sixes and a boundary off spinner Liam Dawson.
But, needing three for victory, Anwar’s partner Mir Hamza was run-out as the batsmen tried to take a second run.
This year, Quetta has an edge leaving the head-to-head in their favour with seven wins, five defeats and one no-result in 12 contests.
The Yellow Storm will be led by fans’ favourite Darren Sammy, whose inspirational leadership took Zalmi to claim the crown in the second edition.
Date: Sunday, March 17, 2019
Timing: 08:00 PM PKT
Weather: Weather is expected to be clear.
Conditions / Pitch Report: The Karachi surface should suit the spin bowlers but there is enough in the balanced pitch for the batsmen and seamers too. The pitch has got enough on offer to keep everyone interested.
Head to Head:
Matches: 13 | Quetta Gladiators: 7 | Peshawar Zalmi: 5 | NR: 1
- Peshawar Zalmi 176/7 lost to Quetta Gladiators 186/6
- Peshawar Zalmi 165/4 lost to Quetta Gladiators 166/2
- Peshawar Zalmi 155/4 lost to Quetta Gladiators 161/4
- Peshawar Zalmi 157/10 beat Quetta Gladiators 156/9
- Peshawar Zalmi 157/5 lost to Quetta Gladiators 158/4
Quetta Gladiators: W L W W W (completed matches, most recent first)
Peshawar Zalmi: W L W W L
1. Quetta Gladiators
Quetta will be captained by Sarfraz Ahmed who will also keep wickets and bat down the order. Quetta Gladiators are expected to field the same playing XI in this match which they field in the 1st Qualifier.
Shane Watson will open the batting along with Ahmed Shahzad while Rilee Rossouw will come at one drop. Both Watson and Rossouw have been in good touch and have shouldered the batting responsibility.
Shane Watson would be the key man for Quetta Gladiators with the bat. Watson has scored more than 350 runs in the season which include three half-centuries. Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal are the other two leading batters for the side. Shehzad struck a 57-ball 99 in the last match against Karachi Kings but the team unfortunately lost by just one run.
The Gladiators will also feature a potent bowling attack, including the T20 specialist Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Irfan Jr., and Mohammad Asghar.
Sohail Tanvir will be their main man and has 15 wickets. Fawad Ahmed who got injured is doubtful for today’s match.
Quetta Gladiator’s Probable XI:
1. Ahmed Shahzad, 2. Shane Watson, 3. Rilee Rossouw, 4. Umar Akmal, 5. DJ Bravo, 6. Sarfraz Ahmed, 7. Anwar Ali, 8. Mohammad Nawaz, 9. Sohail Tanvir, 10. Fawad Ahmed / , 11. Mohammad Husnain
2. Peshawar Zalmi
Peshawar will be captained by Sammy who will be playing the role of an all-rounder. Kamran Akmal will open the batting with Imam and also keep wickets.
Peshawar Zalmi would expect runs from Imam-ul-Haq, Liam Dawson and Keiron Pollard. Peshawar Zalmi have decided to bank on their four overseas picks in Andre Fletcher, Kieron Pollard, Liam Dawson and captain Darren Sammy.
Peshawar Zalmi decided to bench veteran batsman Misbah-ul-Haq in the last match and the same is expected for the Qualifier as well. Imam-ul-Haq is the highest run-scorer for the team.
In the bowling department, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz would shoulder the responsibility. Hasan has gone to a different level altogether and has already bagged 21 wickets.
The main question for Peshawar is whether to play Liam Dawson, which gives them an extra spinning allround option, or to stick with the quick death-overs specialist Chris Jordan.
Peshawar Zalmi’s Probable XI:
1. Kamran Akmal, 2. Imam-ul-Haq, 3. Sohaib Maqsood / Misbah-ul-Haq, 4. Liam Dawson / Chris Jordan, 5. Umar Amin, 6. Darren Sammy, 7. Kieron Pollard, 8. Tymal Mills, 9. Hasan Ali, 10. Wahab Riaz, 11. Ibtisam Sheikh / Sameen Gul
Players to watch:
1. Shane Watson – Batsman, Quetta Gladiators
Shane Watson is always a dangerous player when it comes to the shortest format of the game. One of the most powerful hitters of the ball, de Villiers doesn’t need any time to adjust and can switch gears in an instant.
2. Kieron Pollard – Batsman, Peshawar Zalmi
Pollard is a natural when it comes to big knocks and could be a lethal player for the Peshawar Zalmi. A player of his quality is always a danger for opposition bowlers as he often tends to take the game away with his maximums.
3. Darren Sammy – All-rounder, Peshawar Zalmi
Peshawar Zalmi’s skipper Darren Sammy is a utility player. While there may be someone who steals the spotlight, Sammy will be very consistent for Zalmi. Sammy reads the game very well and tunes his batting accordingly. He has been very good with the ball. His slow bowling and variations often put the batsmen in a heap of trouble.
4. Umar Akmal – Batsman, Quetta Gladiators
Gladiators needed someone to play an innings according to the stipulations. Umar is one of the best hitter of the ball in the world and can dismantle any bowling attack on his day. Akmal is in top form and had scored an unbeaten 74,18 and 44 in the first two matches.
Stats and Travia:
Highest Total: 200/7 by QG v PZ at Sharjah
Best Bowling: Shahid Afridi 4-1-7-5 Vs QG at Sharjah