Just last week (the last time these two sides met), the Gladiators were humiliated as they failed to put up a fight against the red-hot Sultans in Sharjah. Quetta’s nine-wicket defeat against Multan has cast serious doubt over them working their way back up the standings anytime soon.
Only the Karachi Kings are anywhere in the vicinity of the Sultans who are just getting better and better as the tournament lengthens. It was their No. 3 batsman Sohaib Maqsood who completed an overall-batting compilation from the top order so far in their six games as he poleaxed Peshawar’s bowlers repeatedly with brutality in his unbeaten 85. They’re batting so well at the moment, the likes of Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo have barely had to lift a finger in these six games. To Pollard’s credit, he’s chipped in with the ball even know it’s not his strongest attribute anymore, nevertheless he’s picked up five handy wickets in the tournament so far (including 3/37 just recently against Zalmi). It really is difficult to see Multan being overcome, they did suffer a loss to Islamabad in the opening stages of their campaign, but since then it’s been all guns blazing mixed in with superior-dominance against their opponents. South African leggy Imran Tahir, who was in a real purple patch for a while was held wicketless along with Junaid Khan who was their second best bowler in this years PSL to date, but that’s where the Sultans flexibility came in to play. Sohail Tanvir claimed his second three-wicket haul which happened to be in successive matches, and Mohammad Irfan and Kieron Pollard also filled the void sharing five wickets between them. With a wicket-taking bowling attack as reliable as this, and a batting line-up that has barely raised a sweat, Multan remain the outright favorites in this one.
Can the Gladiators turn their fortunes around? well, they have managed to win two games so not all hope is lost, but their have been a few bumps along the way. At the moment, it looks as if Quetta are putting all their faith in Australian all-rounder Shane Watson at the top of the order to produce something special while the team works around him, but not even Watson himself can handle that much responsibility without a bit of support. The Gladiators were without star batsman Kevin Pietersen who did significantly strengthen that top-middle order, in his absence they suffered a nine-wicket defeat as they slumped down to fifth in the PSL standings. The overall combination of this team just looks wrong, there’s no real direction in their batting line-up and they don’t possess a quality specialist bowler such as Hasan Ali or Mohammad Amir. Dropping Asad Shafiq from the side may have been the wrong decision, he did give them a sense of stability while in the team and was just replaced by another batsman who scored 8 runs off 10 deliveries, as a result that could see Shafiq selected in the next match against Multan. South African Rilee Rossouw is a quality middle order batsman who has featured in the IPL numerous times, but even he can’t get himself going for Quetta as the headaches continue for team management. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed moved himself up the order in the last match against the Sultans and scored a subdued 30, but looked solid nevertheless. As for the bowling attack, they don’t have any bowlers who are guaranteed wicket-takers every match which has made it difficult for Sarfraz, all the bowlers have been on par with each other taking on average about one wicket a game including some wicketless outings.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Multan Sultans | PSL | 17th match | Dubai
- Kumar Sangakkara
- Sohail Tanvir
- Imran Tahir
- Sohaib Maqsood
- Shoaib Malik
Wildcard pick – Ahmed Shehzad
Top 5 fantasy picks | Quetta Gladiators | PSL | 17th match | Dubai
- Shane Watson
- Mohammad Nawaz
- Sarfraz Ahmed
- Kevin Pietersen
- Rahat Ali
Wildcard pick – Hasan Khan
Multan Sultans (possible) – 1. Ahmed Shehzad 2. Kumar Sangakkara (wk) 3. Sohaib Maqsood 4. Shoaib Malik (c) 5. Kieron Pollard 6. Darren Bravo 7. Sohail Tanvir 8. Saif Badar 9. Mohammad Irfan 10. Junaid Khan 11. Imran Tahir.
Quetta Gladiators (possible) – 1. Asad Shafiq 2. Shane Watson 3. Umar Amin/Rameez Raja 4. Kevin Pietersen 5. Rilee Rossouw 6. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk) 7. Mohammad Nawaz 8. Hasan Khan 9. Anwar Ali/Mir Hamza 10. John Hastings 11. Rahat Ali.