LAHORE: With another victory inspired by Ben Dunk’s explosive batting on their backs, Lahore Qalandars meet Peshawar Zalmi in the teams’ second HBL Pakistan Super League V match at the Gaddafi Stadium on Tuesday.
Dunk drove the Qalandars to an eight-wicket win against Karachi Kings on Sunday, clobbering 12 sixes to score an unbeaten 99 off 40 balls to keep alive his team’s pursuit for the PSL play-offs.
Zalmi have the same goal but are placed at a much more comfortable position as compared to the Qalandars.
With nine points, having played eight matches, won four, lost three and being awarded a point after their fixture against Islamabad United was abandoned due to rain, the Peshawar side need only one more win to become the second team to qualify for the play-offs after Multan Sultans.
Qalandars, on the other hand, simply can’t let it happen placed fifth with six points after winning four matches out of seven.
Lead by batsman Sohail Akhtar — who supported Dunk in their match-winning 140-run partnership for the third wicket against Kings — Qalandars need to win at least two of their last three matches, of which one will be against the Kings in Karachi.
Zalmi skipper Wahab Riaz, who replaced Darren Sammy recently, said his team were focused on Tuesday’s fixture against Qalandars but at the same time, Wahab said, both their remaining outings carry equal importance.
Wahab said despite the Qalandars’ outstanding performances in two of their last three matches, Zalmi have the ability to beat them to ensure their qualification to the play-offs.
The left-arm pacer said his team has a plan in place to minimise Dunk’s threat.
Wahab also praised batsman Haider Ali, who has displayed some promising performances during the tournament and has been touted as one of the future stars for Pakistan.
Zalmi were dealt with two blows in a row when their match against United was abandoned due to rain was followed by their six-wicket loss against the Kings.
However, Wahab’s charges hit back with a win against struggling Quetta Gladiators by 30 runs and getting lucky in a D/L method-adjudged nine-wicket win against United.
At the Gaddafi Stadium against the Qalandars, Zalmi would be hoping for match-winning performances from the likes of seasoned Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik.
They’d also look up to batsman Liam Livingstone along with Haider while Wahab targets a solid bowling show with his pace.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2020