LAHORE: Quetta Gladiators will look for revenge against Peshawar Zalmi for their last year’s defeat in the final when the two teams will meet in the first eliminator at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore on Tuesday.
Peshawar Zalmi beat Quetta Gladiators by 58 runs in the final of the Pakistan Super League at the same venue last year and will have an upper hand over Sarfraz Ahmed’s team as they have won their last two matches and are in a good nick.
Moreover, Peshawar are lucky to have most of their foreign players as Liam Dawson and Chris Jordan (England), Darren Sammy and Andre Fletcher (West Indies), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh) and Rikki Wessels (South Africa) are touring Pakistan. Their only player to pull out is Dwayne Smith who will not be missed with Tamim returning from Sri Lanka in time for the Tuesday’s match.
“We will play our game and need to be at our best to beat Peshawar,” said Sarfraz whose team will play Karachi Kings in the second eliminator if they beat Peshawar Zalmi. “It was disappointing not to have Watson and Pietersen but we have to make it with whatever is available to us. ”
Quetta Gladiators are not that lucky as their key players Shane Watson and Kevin Pietersen along with Ben Laughlin opted not to tour, leaving their captain Sarfraz and coach Moin Khan fuming.
They have Tom Kohler (England), Sri Lanka’s Thisara Perera and Bangladesh’s Mahmudullah as replacements while the big catch was South African Rilee Rossouw changing his mind at the last minute and agreed to tour Pakistan.
Both Peshawar and Quetta won one game each in the league phase but Zalmi’s overall batting power with Kamran Akmal scoring 347 runs and notching a hundred in the last game against Lahore Qalandars give them the edge.
Peshawar’s pace attack led by Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali is also superior to Quetta. Quetta’s spin department is strong with Mohammad Nawaz and Hassaan Khan be more effective in Lahore.
Sammy hoped that boys keep the winning momentum.
“We have momentum on our side but now is the knock out stages,” said Sammy. “The shift to Lahore is great and we are lucky to have most of our players.”
Islamabad United are already in the final to be played in Karachi on March 25.
The weather in Lahore is murky with light drizzle in the morning but the forecast is clear, so expect a cracker of a match.