Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United will be eying for a berth in the final when they lock horns against each other in the second eliminator of the ongoing seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Gaddafi Stadium today (Friday).
The match starts at 7:30 PM (PST).
Lahore Qalandars proved themselves a better side than Islamabad United in the league stage. Shaheen Afridi-led Qalandars won six matches on their way to a second-place finish while Shadab Khan’s United clinched the playoff berth on net run rate, winning just four group matches and levelling their points with Quetta Gladiators.
But coming into eliminator two, United will have the momentum as they had defeated Peshawar Zalmi on Thursday night in the first eliminator. Qalandars, meanwhile, were defeated by Multan Sultans in the qualifiers to miss a direct berth to the finals.
However, Lahore Qalandars have defeated Islamabad United twice in the tournament. Having won by eight runs in Karachi and 66 runs in Lahore, the Qalandars will have an edge over Islamabad United.
For Lahore Qalandars, Fakhar Zaman can be an important player tonight. The opening batter has scored 584 runs in the ongoing seventh edition of the PSL — the most by any player in a single edition of PSL. His tally includes a century and seven half-centuries.
Fakhar was dismissed for fewer than 50 runs on three occasions in 11 innings. Only Mohammad Rizwan (532 runs) comes close to matching his form with the bat.
Apart from Fakhar, the team also has Harry Brook who is in good form. Abdullah Shafiq and Kamran Ghulam have also been decent with the bat but Shaheen would want some more runs from the middle order batters of his side as the Qalandars are looking very much reliant on Fakhar Zaman’s runs.
On the other side, United’s leg-spinner Shadab Khan has taken 18 wickets and has an economy rate of 6.42. Shadab, along with Alex Hales, will be key for his side. Alex Hales had earlier left the PSL due to bubble fatigue but made a comeback to rescue his injury-hit side ahead of the eliminator.
Azam Khan is another player on Islamabad United’s side who can put an impact on the game.
Khan, Islamabad's wicketkeeper, has scored 256 runs at a strike rate of 141.43 in PSL7 and his ability to hit can be a challenge for Lahore’s bowling that has Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi, Fawad Ahmed, Zaman Khan in it.
Possible playing XIs:
Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Akhtar, Kamran Ghulam Mohammad Hafeez, Phil Salt (wk), Harry Brook, David Wiese, Samit Patel, Shaheen Shah Afridi (c), Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan
Islamabad United: Alex Hales, Will Jacks, Shadab Khan (c), Azam Khan (wk), Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Liam Dawson, Hasan Ali, Athar Mahmood, Zahid Mahmood, Waqas Maqsood