The Pakistan Super League (PSL), after an entertaining round robin stage, has moved onto the business end of the competition, where four teams are expected to give it their all. Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, who finished first and second respectively in the PSL group stages, are set for the 1st qualifying final at the Dubai International Stadium on Friday.
There is nothing much to choose between the two teams of the PSL. Peshawar and Quetta, without a shadow of a doubt, have been the standout teams in the competitionm with both sides losing just two matches in the PSL league stage.
Peshawar and Quetta's head-to-head record stands at 1-1. Quetta won the first match by three wickets, while Peshawar won the second match by eight wickets. There was an interesting pattern in both the matches. It was a low-scoring game, where spinners played an integral role including a Shahid Afridi five-for as well. For Quetta, Mohammad Nawaz picked three wickets in their first match against the same opponent.
However, cricket fans will be eager to see these teams come up with a high-scoring game on Friday. It is not that the batting unit of Peshawar and Quetta are weak, but their world-class bowlers make life difficult for the batsmen.
Quetta has some big players in their top order, including foreign players like Luke Wright, Kevin Pietersen. The Pakistan batsmen include Sarfaraz Ahmed and Ahmed Shehzad. With such a batting line up, Quetta are a strong force, but they have to be deliver their A-game when pitted against Peshawar bowlers like Shaun Tait, Wahab Riaz and Junaid Khan.
On paper, Quetta look a solid team, and might have a slight edge during the 1st qualifying final on Friday. Their bowlers such as Mohammad Nawaz and Umar Gul have been bowling well. Slow-left arm Nawaz has scalped 10 wickets in the PSL.
Peshawar, who might depend on their bowlers more, will want openers Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Hafeez to come up with a flying start so that their experienced middle order comprising of Shahid Afridi, Grant Elliot and Darren Sammy can take advantage.
Irrespective of who wins the game on Friday, the losing team will have another chance to make it to the final, as they will meet the winner of the second qualifying final between Karachi Kings and Islamabad United. The winner of the first qualifier gets a direct entry into the PSL final.
Teams: Peshawar Zalmi:Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Darren Sammy, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Chris Jordan, Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Khan, James Allenby, Shaun Tait, Aamer Yamin, Dawid Malan, Imran Khan (jnr), Shahid Yousuf, Abdur Rehman, Musadiq Ahmed Ali, HasanAli, Mohammad Asghar, Brad Hodge, Israrullah, Taj Wali.
Quetta Gladiators:Kevin Pietersen, Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Luke Wright, Elton Chigumbura, Sarfraz Ahmed Zulfiqar Babar, Umar Gul, , Bilal Asif, Asad Shafiq, , Mohammad Nawaz, Saad Nasim, Mohammad Nabi, Akbar-ur-Rehman, Bismillah Khan, Kumar Sangakkara, Rameez Raja jnr, Aizaz Cheema
Where to watch live
The Pakistan Super League first qualifying final – Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators -- is scheduled for 8pm local time (9:30 p.m. IST, 9 p.m. PKT, 4 p.m. GMT) start. Unfortunately there is no live TV coverage in India.
Viewers in Pakistan can watch the -- Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators live on PTV Sports, Ten Sports and Geo Super with the live streaming online option on PTV Sports Live.
OSN will broadcast the Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators live in UAE,with the match can be live streamed on OSN Play.
UK viewers can watch the Pakistan Super League first qualifying final live on Prime TV with live streaming on Prime TV Online.