Quetta Gladiators batsman Ahmed Shehzad on Saturday said that though his team was dismissed as the "underdogs" in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) tournament, they had qualified for the final for the second consecutive time and proved their critics wrong.
Though the Gladiators lost their final match against Islamabad United in last year's PSL, Shehzad said he hopes the team will achieve this year what they could not in PSL 2016.
While talking to DawnNews in Lahore, Shehzad said that he was aware that the Quetta Gladiators are still being considered the underdogs against Peshawar Zalmi, "Nobody had wanted to rate [the team] as a possible finalist when the Quetta Gladiators were first put together."
"Yet here are we, playing the final for the second time in a row," the hard-hitter added.
"Our enthusiasm and our passion are our strengths, and I hope that we are able to finish the task that we left incomplete last time," he said.
Discussing the preparations for the final, Shehzad said the team that can sustain on-field pressure will have a better chance to win.
"It is [the nature of] T20 cricket. In two [or] three overs, the game can change completely," said Shehzad and added that the stadium will be jam-packed with a roaring crowd, so players who can keep their nerves calm under pressure are more likely to win the tournament.
In his message to fans of the team, he said they should come to the game and "support good cricket".
"We've come back for you. We request you to come and support good cricket, no matter what your favorite team is."
The final face-off between the Zalmi and the Gladiators is scheduled for March 5 in Lahore.
The Gladiators, led by Sarfraz Ahmed, have won fans with their low-key build-up to the tournament and the presence of West Indies great Sir Viv Richards as the team's mentor.