Keep faith with Hafeez and Afridi

Quetta Gladiators v Lahore Qalandars
Tuesday 15 June 14.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Quetta disaster

Quetta’s play-off hopes are over after suffering back-to-back defeats in PSL Part II. Despite decent recruitment in the interim they have never looked particularly interested in mounting a comeback that could have revived their season.

Multan Sultans have shown what is possible with vim and vigour. Quetta are waiting for the plane home. They were humiliated by Islamabad United and then suffered a 61-run hammering by Peshawar Zalmi.

It is true they have been unfortunate with injuries. Both Faf Du Plessis and Andre Russell missed the Zalmi defeat with concussion. It seems unlikely both will be fit enough to resume having received awful knocks to the head – Russell from a bouncer and Du Plessis from Muhammad Hasnain’s knee in a collision.

Probable XI Ayub, Khan, Wetaherald, Azam Khan, Delport, Sarfaraz, Nawaz, Shahazad, Hasnain, Z Mahmood, Z Khan

Lahore shocked

A game against Quetta is the perfect tonic for Lahore who were guilty of complacency against Islamabad United. Twice they had the game in the pocket but they got careless and paid the price, seceding top spot.
Lahore had United at 20 for five and were then cruising in a simple chase. It could be the kick up the backside they required after finding little to challenge them.

They remain the most fearsome bowling unit in the competition. Rashid Khan has been superb while James Faulkner has eight wickets in his first three games, propelling him to No 7 on the top bowler lists. Just as well because Shaheen Shah Afridi has looked a little off colour. Likewise Mohammad Hafeez, who could do with a score.

Possible XI Zaman, Sohail, Zeeshan, Hafeez, Dunk, David, Rashid, Faulkner, Shaheen, Rauf, Daniyal

Pitch report

The first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium so far read: 166-2/197-1/133-2/170-1/176-1/143-2. In time a score of 170 or more could well prove to be the magic number. We’re keeping an eye on the impact of dew in the later matches. It could well be that ball gets wetter for the later matches, particularly as Covid protocols may prevent the outfield from being sprayed. This was one of the theories as to why the chasers dominated so in the first leg in Karachi. We’re very pessimistic about Quetta’s batting against a crack bowling unit and recommend laying 120, 130 and 140 if they bat first.

Lahore should be shorter

Lahore are 1.674/6 on the exchange match odds. That’s not a bad price at all and we would not have been surprised had they gone off at sub 1.608/13.

We suspect that when the teams are known and it is confirmed that Du Plessis and Russell are both missing then they will take a significant cut. We would be very, very surprised if both men took to the field.

It is very hard to see how Quetta’s shaky batting is going to get enough runs against a brilliant bowling line-up to get a foothold in the game. Year-by-year in completed season they have not got close to averaging more than 160. Twice in the last three editions they have been rolled for under 110 against Lahore.

Tops value

Hafeez has been pushed back out to 4/1 for top Lahore bat. We’ll keep the faith with him as it remains an edge and adjust our stake back to one unit. We had gone with half a point when he was 10/3 last time. We’ll also go in again on Afridi at 11/4 for top Lahore bower. Afridi has ten wickets in six games against Quetta so there are no concerns about the head-to-head.

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