LAHORE: Showing no complacency will be the key as leaders Lahore Qalandars take on bottom-of-the-table side Quetta Gladiators in the Pakis­tan Super League match here at the Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday.

While in-form Qalandars — having eight points with four wins in five matches so far — will be looking to carry on their winning streak at home, Sarfraz Ahmed-captained Gladi­ators face a do-or-die like scenario with only a solitary victory in five games.

Still, Shaheen Shah Afridi-led Qalandars, who in their last two PSL matches outclassed Pesha­war Zalmi (40 runs) and Islamabad United (110 runs), will be expected to avoid any kind of complacency which can dent any side in a T20 battle even against a weak-looking opposition.

Qalandars’ belligerent opener Fakhar Zaman feels his team need to remain on guard.

“Gladiators have a good pace attack and in T20 format no opponents should be considered weak as on a given day any individual can change the situation,” left-handed Fakhar, the highest run scorer (235 in five games) for Qalandars in the PSL-8, remarked while talking to reporters on Wednesday.

“Every team try their best to give unsurpassed performance and while our team so far have done well, we will try to give our best against Gladiators. We have a good [team] combination but our main strength is bowling which contains [pacers] Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and [leg-spinner] Rashid Khan,” the opener underlined.

“Luckily our batsmen are also doing well.”

Giving his views, Gladiators’ bowling coach Umar Gul said following the 63-run thrashing at the hands of Islamabad United in their last match staged in Karachi his team held a detailed meeting to point out their shortcomings against United and avoid those mistakes.

“Gladiators in Lahore today will be in a different outfit as the feedback from our bowlers is good,” Umar said in a media talk while lauding impressive bowling display by speedster Naseem Shah.

Umar praised Multan Sultans’ fast bowler Ihsanullah, who is the leading wicket-taker of the league with 14 wickets at an excellent average of 9.35, adding he was a perfect case to represent Pakistan.

“Though Shaheen and Haris are in good form, we can expect a tough match tomorrow.”

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2023

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