It’s going to be a battle between pace and power-hitting when Lahore Qalandars take on Multan Sultans at the Sharjah Cricket Ground in today’s first match.
After facing an injury blow to their captain Mohammad Hafeez, Lahore Qalandars have a new leader in South Africa’s AB de Villiers and a replacement in the form of Salman Butt, who will be playing in his first high-profile tournament since his high-profile ban for a spot-fixing scandal which erupted on Pakistan´s 2010 tour of England.
The left-handed batsman, who represented Pakistan in 33 Tests, 78 one-day internationals and 24 Twenty20 matches before his five-year ban, joined the Qalandars camp in Sharjah a day earlier and is expected to make his PSL debut today.
Qalandars have mainly been relying on their pace attack, which is made up of teen sensation Shaheen Shah Afridi, a resurgent Rahat Ali, and rising star Haris Rauf, who bowled his side to a dramatic victory –Qalandars’ only win out of three games so far – against Karachi Kings with a four-wicket haul.
Multan Sultans are in a similar boat, with only one win out of three matches despite the presence of star power in the form of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi. The Sultans lost to Karachi Kings in their opening fixture before coming back with a bang to defeat defending champions Islamabad United.
However, they stood no chance against table-toppers Quetta Gladiators who beat them by a comprehensive eight wickets on Wednesday as skipper Malik’s 53 off 37 balls went in vain.
Date: Friday, February 22, 2019
Timing: 04:30 PM PKT
Weather: Weather is expected to be clear with a few clouds into the afternoon.
Conditions / Pitch Report: The Sharjah surface should suit the spin bowlers but there is enough in the balanced pitch for the batsmen and seamers too. The pitch has been decent enough for batting, especially in the second half of a game.
Head to Head:
Matches: 2 | Lahore Qaladars: 1 | Multan Sultans: 1 | NR: 0
- Lahore Qalandars beat Multan Sultans by 6 wickets
Lahore Qalandars: L W L L W (completed matches, most recent first)
Multan Sultans: L W L L L
1. Lahore Qalandars
In place of Hafeez, Agha Salman was drafted in the playing XI in the last match. The team has some class batters in Fakhar Zaman, AB de Villiers and Sohail Akhtar. Among the bowlers, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Rahat Ali will lead the way.
Lahore Qalandars might make few changes today as Sandeep Lamichahane and Corey Anderson has joined squad.
Lahore Qalandar’s Probable XI:
1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Anton Devcich, 3. AB de Villiers, 4. Corey Anderson, 5. Agha Salman (wk), 6. Sohail Akhtar, 7. Sandeep Lamichhane, 8. Hassan Khan, 9. Rahat Ali, 10. Shaheen Afridi, 11. Haris Rauf
2. Multan Sultans
Multan Sultans dropped Johnson Charles, Hammad Azam, Chris Green and Junaid Khan for James Vince, Daniel Christian, Shakeel Ansar and Nauman Ali.
They would be expecting skipper Shoaib Malik to go big once again. Malik has already smashed two half-centuries in three matches.
The Sultans are still without some of their key batsmen, they could face trouble if their bowlers don’t perform as well as they did in that match.
The experience of Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan makes their bowling attack looks pretty solid. To add to that, they have all-rounders like Shahid Afridi and Andre Russell, who can win games single-handedly for the side.
Multan Sultan’s Probable XI:
1. Shan Masood, 2. James Vince, 3. LJ Evans, 4. Shoaib Malik (c), 5. Andre Russell, 6. Shakeel Ansar (wk), 7. Shahid Afridi, 8. Daniel Christian, 9. Junaid Khan, 10. Nauman Ali, 11. Mohammad Irfan
Players to watch:
1. Andre Russel – All-Rounder, Multan Sultans
Andre Russel is always a dangerous player when it comes to the shortest format of the game. One of the most powerful hitters of the ball, Russel doesn’t need any time to adjust and can switch gears in an instant.
2. Ab de Villiers – Batsman, Lahore Qalandars
What Andre Russel is to Multan Sultans, Ab de Villiers is to Lahore Qalandars. De Villiers is a natural when it comes to big knocks and could be a lethal player for the Lahore Qalandars. 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. Corey Anderson – All-rounder, Lahore Qalandars
Qalandars needed someone to play an innings according to the stipulations. Corey Anderson is one of the best hitter of the ball in the world and can dismantle any bowling attack on his day.
4. Shoaib Malik – All-rounder, Multan Sultans
Multan Sultan’s skipper Shoaib Malik is a utility player. While there may be someone who steals the spotlight, Malik will be very consistent for Sultans. Malik reads the game very well and tunes his batting accordingly.