Tuesday, March 14, 2023
After waiting for six long years, Lahore Qalandars won their maiden Pakistan Super League (PSL) title last year after defeating Multan Sultans in the final at Lahore's iconic Gaddafi Stadium.
Now, the defending champions are just two steps away from becoming the first-ever side to successfully defend their title throughout PSL history.
Under the command of their new captain Shaheen Shah Afridi, Qalandars look completely different from what they were before the seventh edition of the league.
Under the captaincy of Shaheen, Qalandars’ consistency since last year shows the commitment which the new captain has brought to the team as they remained table toppers in the league stage of this year's PSL, winning seven out of 10 matches.
The Qalandars have now set their eyes on the qualifier against the Sultans, which is scheduled to be played on March 15 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The Qalandars' biggest strength is, perhaps, their captain Shaheen. The left-arm pacer has an unending ability to take a wicket in his first over.
Moreover, Qalandars' overall bowling line-up, which contains the likes of Rashid Khan, Zaman Khan, and Haris Rauf, has not only been recognised as the best bowling line-up of PSL but that of any T20 team in the world.
Qalandars' three bowlers — Rashid (15), Shaheen (14) and Haris (14) — are currently among the top five highest wicket-takers in the ongoing PSL 8.
On the other hand, opener Fakhar Zaman is the backbone of their batting line. The latter has scored 378 runs in 10 league matches including a maiden PSL century. Fakhar has the ability to provide a quick start to Qalandars against any bowling attack.
Qalandars are unlucky to have their experienced fast-bowling all-rounder David Wiese out of form this season. The Namibian cricketer has so far failed to impress fans with his match-winning abilities.
Moreover, another fast-bowling all-rounder Hussain Talat is also missing his usual touch. Qalandars lack a finisher, who can also bowl wicket-taking overs, down their batting line-up.
Qalandars played the PSL qualifier only once which was last year against the same team, Sultans.
They lost the qualifier by 28 runs.
Fakhar Zaman, Mirza Tahir Baig, Abdullah Shafique, Sikandar Raza, Sam Billings, David Wiese, Hussain Talat, Shaheen Afridi (c), Haris Rauf, Rashid Khan, Zaman Khan