At least half of the franchises in the Pakistan Super League 2018 will be cheering for Lahore Qalandars when they face Quetta Gladiators in Sharjah tonight.
The Gladiators have already joined Islamabad United in the play-offs, limiting the number of available berths in the next round to just two.
While the game doesn't impact the fight for the remaining two spots, each of Karachi Kings, Peshawar Zalmi, Multan Sultans and even United will still be hoping that the Qalandars — who themselves are out of they play-offs running — pull off an upset victory and give the trio a chance of overtaking Quetta on the points table.
Note that the top two teams in the play-offs get two chances to qualify for the final, whereas the third and fourth-placed teams have to win twice in order to earn the same privilege.
Earlier in PSL 2018, backing the feeble Qalandars to beat the fabled Gladiators would've been a lost cause. But since they've fallen out of the play-offs contention, the Qalandars have improved — if not significantly then at least enough to spring a surprise or two.
Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans will both attest to Lahore's recent improvement. The Qalandars have victories over the pair and that's what's fuelling their bid to avoid bottom of the table for the third straight PSL.
However, beating Karachi and Multan is one thing and taming the in-form Quetta is completely another. The Sarfraz Ahmed-led side is riding a three-match winning streak and have again emerged as a top contender for the title after a slow start to their campaign.
The last time Lahore and Quetta faced each other, it was a bloodbath for the former. Quetta, after restricting Lahore at just 119, reached their target for the loss of just one wicket, cruising to a thumping nine-wicket win.
Their already rich batting options have just been bolstered even more by the arrival of English batsman Jason Roy, which spells even more trouble for Lahore's as well as Karachi, Multan and Peshawar's hopes of an upset.