After a glitzy opening ceremony, the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2018) got off to a flying start at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday (February 22), with debutantes Multan Sultans beating defending champions Peshawar Zalmi in a closely fought contest. The first match of Saturday’s PSL 2018 fixtures will be Quetta Gladiators vs Lahore Qalandars, and we look at the predicted XI line-ups, stats and preview.
Runner-ups in the last two seasons of Pakistan Super League, Quetta Gladiators will start their PSL 2018 campaign when they take on Karachi Kings in the first game of Friday’s double-header. The match will be followed by Brendon McCullum‘s Lahore Qalandars opening their campaign against Shoaib Malik‘s Multan Sultans.
Quetta Gladiators vs Lahore Qalandars
Following these two games, Quetta Gladiators will take on Lahore Qalandars in the second match of Saturday’s double-header in Dubai – 5th scheduled game of the current PSL 2018 season.
T20 superstar Brendon McCullum will once again be leading the Lahore Qalandars and their fortunes will depend on the form of the former New Zealand captain. After finishing at the bottom of the table in the last seasons, McCullum and the Qalandars will be hoping to put up an improved show this time around and successfully reverse their fortunes.
The Qalandars also have two mercurial Pakistani batsmen – Umar Akmal and Fakhar Zaman in their team. Then you have the likes of Sunil Narine and Yasir Shah, two gifted spinners, who can do the trick with the ball for their team.
Of course, they will face a tough challenge against Sarfraz Ahmed’s Quetta Gladiators who made it to the last two PSL finals but ended up on the losing side on both occasions. Their captain Sarfraz Ahmed is a positive character and has shown his leadership credentials by winning the Champions Trophy in England last year.
The Gladiators also have the legendary England batsman Kevin Pietersen in their side who has already announced that he will bidding a goodbye to playing cricket after the tournament. England opener Jason Roy, retired Australian all-rounder Shane Watson and Afghan spin wizard Rashid Khan are some of the other big names on the Quetta Gladiators’s squad list.
Quetta Gladiators vs Lahore Qalandars: STATS and FACTS
1. The Quetta Gladiators have been runners-up on both occasions in the PSL so far so they will be looking to go one better in PSL 2018 as they have assembled a star-studded squad this season.
2. Out of the five teams that have played the PSL in the previous two editions, the Lahore Qalandars have the worst win ratio of any of those teams.
3. Lahore Qalandars have been dealt a major blow by the recent injury to big-hitting batsman Chris Lynn who once again damaged his troublesome shoulder in the Trans-Tasman tri-series final between Australia and New Zealand.
5. Lahore Qalandars’ Umar Akmal (499 runs) is the third highest run-getter in the history of PSL, while Quetta Gladiators’ Kevin Pietersen (456 runs) is fourth in the list.
HEAD TO HEAD: Matches Played – 4, Quetta Gladiators Wins – 3, Lahore Qalandars Wins – 1
PREDICTED XI LINEUPS
Quetta Gladiators Predicted XI – Jason Roy, Asad Shafiq, Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson, Rameez Raja, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Umar Amin, Mohammad Nawaz, Rashid Khan, Rahat Ali, Anwar Ali
Lahore Qalandars Predicted XI – Brendon McCullum (c), Fakhar Zaman, Umar Akmal, Anton Devcich, Cameron Delport (wk), Bilawal Bhatti, Bilal Asif, Yasir Shah, Sunil Narine, Sohail Khan, Shaheen Afridi