DUBAI: Runners up of inaugural edition of Pakistan Super League, Quetta Gladiators will take on Lahore Qalandars in the first of the two matches to be played on Friday in Dubai.
Both teams made some significant changes in their squads. Lahore Qalandars have given the captaincy band to the former successful New Zealand’s skipper Brendon McCullum. Whereas, Quetta Gladiators will play without their key player Kumar Sangakkara, who is representing Karachi Kings in this edition.
Quetta Gladiators, who lost to Islamabad United in the final of first season of PSL, was probably the most inspiring side of the league. It was a treat to watch Sarfraz Ahmed captaining a team that had players like Kumar Sangakkara and Kevin Pietersen. They had a team effort in previous year’s PSL that brought them success.
On the other hand, Azhar Ali led Lahore Qalandars and they too had some big names in the line up. However, seasoned campaigners like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo failed to fire in the tournament that cost them heavily. The only notable performer from Qalandars was Umar Akmal, who exhibited the glimpses of what he is capable of.
Quetta Gladiators have two valuable additions in their squad, one is Riley Russow, the former aggressive South African batsman and the other is left-arm quick from England, Tymal Mills. Russow has shown in international cricket that how dangerous he can be once he gets in. Whereas, Mills has venomous pace and can be the fastest bowler of this league. Moreover, Players like Thisara Parera can add depth to both batting and bowling of a team. All in all, Gladiators have a well-balanced side with attacking batsmen, quality allrounders and handy bowlers.
Lahore Qalandars probably have the fiercest opening batsmen with Brendon McCullum and Jason Roy. Furthermore, local players Umar Akmal, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan can do some serious damage with the bat. Lahore have quality spinners in Sunil Narine, Yasir Shah and Usman Qadir, who can be extremely useful in UAE’s playing conditions. Ghulam Mudassar, the new found from domestic circuit would be exciting to watch. They have the experience of Sohail Tanvir, calmness of Azhar Ali and aggression of Brendon McCullum, which makes it a perfect blend.
The left-arm pacer from England, Tymal Mills can create impact in the match with his extra pace. He can be an asset for Quetta Gladiators.
Ghulam Mudassar, the bowler from Lyari, can be a surprise package as he bowls with lots of passion and aggression. He can be an exciting prospect for the franchise.