Wednesday, March 15, 2023
The exhilarating league-stage matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) concluded in style as Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, Peshawar Zalmi, and Islamabad United moved to the playoffs phase of the tournament.
The defending champions Lahore Qalandars and runners-up of PSL 2022 Multan Sultans will face each other in the qualifier match on March 15 at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium at 7:00pm.
The defending champions are confident they will keep their winning momentum against the Sultans, while the Rizwan-led side will be looking to jump back to its feet and power up to the final as they did last year.
While the winning side will qualify for the final, the losing side will play the second eliminator against the winning side of the first eliminator.
The Qalandars dominated the Sultans in both league-stage matches of the ongoing season of the tournament.
In their opening match of the ongoing season, Qalandars defeated Sultans by one run after a thrilling contest thanks to Fakhar Zaman — who played a competent knock and scored 66 crucial innings, including three fours and five sixes — and Qalandars' destructive bowlers who successfully defended the 175-run target.
In their second encounter, the Qalandars once again triumphed over the Sultans — the home side — winning their second match by 21 runs.
In the PSL 2022 qualifier, the two formidable sides faced off against each other and the Sultans thrashed Qalandars by 28 runs to qualify for the PSL 2022 final. Last year, skipper Rizwan played a sensible inning with Rilee Rosouw, scoring 65 runs to make the target competitive.
Chasing a 164-run target, the Qalandars failed to chase the target as Sultans’ Dahani took three crucial wickets in their spell to destroy the Qalandars’ batting line.
In the past appearances of the PSL matches, the Qalandars and the Sultans faced each other 15 times. Of these Sultans have won 8 matches and Qalandars were victorious in 7 contests.
Both sides have great stars and some brilliant T20 international players, who are known for their ruthless batting and destructive bowling attacks. The Qalandars have a good combination of fast- and spin-bowling in the shape of speedsters Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan, and Rashid Khan.
Fakhar Zaman: The leading run-scorer of Qalandars side, Fakhar made a remarkable comeback after recovering from injury; he scored 378 runs in 10 matches of the ongoing season of PSL, including twenty-eight fours and twenty-sixes sixes.
He also smashed the most sixes throughout this season. The left-hand batter played a career-best PSL innings against Islamabad United as he scored 115 runs. Zaman is the key batter for the Qalandars, who can change the game with his ruthless batting.
Shaheen Shah Afridi: The talismanic pacer, Shaheen, seems to be in great form as he has grabbed 14 wickets in the nine matches so far. Shaheen and Rauf are the backbones of Qalanadars’ bowling attack, restricting the opponents’ batters to play aggressively in the T20 Format.
Zaman is also a notable pacer of the Qalandars side.
Rashid Khan: Not only do Qalandars have excellent fast bowlers, but also do they have a specialist spinner — Rashid Khan — who took 15 wickets in eight matches. Rashid is the leading wicket-taker of the Qalandars’ side, his spinning bowling created difficulties for the opponents' batters.
Mohammad Rizwan: The leading run-scorer of this tournament, Sultans' captain Rizwan has added 483 runs in the ten matches this season.
He is leading the team front to contribute remarkably as an opener batter. Rizwan, also created history as they smashed his maiden PSL ton against Karachi Kings. His best score in this ongoing tournament is 110 not out against the Kings.
His sensible batting and great captaincy have helped his side reach playoffs once again.
Abbas Afridi: Sultans also have talented bowlers. Afridi grabbed 22 wickets in nine matches. He played a huge role in winning matches for the Sultans’ side. Afridi holds the key for Sultans in bowling.
This 21-year-old medium-fast bowler comes into this game after taking 5-47 against Quetta Gladiators. He has got great support from Ihsanullah, who is the second wicket-taker and a leading bowler in the series. Ihsanullah may prove to be a game-changer for the Sultans’ side in the qualifier.
David Miller and Rilee Rossouw: Both Rossouw and Miller are aggressive batters and have made great contributions in the league-stage matches of the series.
Lahore Qalandars: Shaheen Shah Afridi (c), Fakhar Zaman, Rashid Khan, David Wiese, Hussain Talat, Haris Rauf, Abdullah Shafique, Liam Dawson, Sikandar Raza, Ahmad Daniyal, Dilbar Hussain, Harry Brook, Kamran Ghulam, Mirza Tahir Baig, Shawaiz Irfan, Zaman Khan, Jalat Khan, Jordan Cox (wk), Ahsan Bhatti, Sam Billings (wk), Shane Dadswell, Shai Hope.
Multan Sultans: Mohammad Rizwan (c & wk), David Miller, Josh Little, Shan Masood, Khushdil Shah, Rilee Rossouw, Akeal Hosain, Shahnawaz Dahani, Tim David, Usama Mir, Sameen Gul, Anwar Ali, Mohammad Sarwar, Usman Khan, Arafat Minhas, Ihsanullah, Abbas Afridi, Kieron Pollard, Ammad Butt, Wayne Parnell, IzharulHaq Naveed.