PSL 2019: Lahore bank on ominous AB de Villiers' form against chase-masters Quetta

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ABD is a man in form. (Twitter/@lahoreqalandars).

Lahore Qalandars will look to avenge their last-gasp defeat in the reverse fixture when they take on Quetta Gladiators in a 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL) clash at Dubai on Wednesday.

The Qalandars have been living on the edge in their two most recent PSL clashes which have both gone down to the wire. A last ball six struck by David Wiese helped Lahore overcome Multan Sultans to record their second win of the edition.

However, Wiese was then at the receiving end of the same punishment just one day later with Quetta Gladiators skipper Sarfraz Ahmed’s six off the last delivery guiding the league leaders to a three-wicket win over Lahore.

With two victories and three defeats on the board so far, the pressure will definitely be on the Qalandars as they get ready to face Quetta for the second time in a row.

What the Qalandars have going for them in Wednesday’s clash is the rising form of star player and skipper AB de Villiers. The South African ace started the PSL campaign slowly but has come into his own in the last matches with unbeaten scores of 52 and 45.

If De Villiers can carry on his ominous form, Lahore could still yet dream of a spot in the playoffs with five games remaining.

However, they won’t have it easy against league leaders Quetta Gladiators who have emerged as the team to beat at the halfway mark of the 2019 PSL edition.

Sarfraz and his men were looking unstoppable as they notched up four victories on the trot before their juggernaut was halted by Colin Ingram whose sensational ton led Karachi Kings to a six-wicket win.

While Ingram’s heroics might have spoiled their perfect record, Quetta remain a formidable unit with not many chinks in their armour. In Umar Akmal and Shane Watson they have the top two run-scorers of the 2019 edition while pacer Sohail Tanvir is perched in second spot in the wicket-taking charts with nine scalps.

They lost to Karachi despite posting their highest total (186-5) in the competition so far after being made to bat first. In the four victories prior to their defeat to the Kings, Quetta had successfully chased down the required targets while batting second.

Clearly, chasing remains the preferable option for the Gladiators and as such, the toss could play a crucial role on Wednesday.

TEAM NEWS

With West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Smith failing to create an impact in his five appearances so far, Quetta could turn to his compatriot Dwayne Bravo as a like-for-like replacement. Bravo was unavailable for the early stages of the competition but his return could provide the Gladiators with some excellent balance in the side owing to his all-round capabilities.

Quetta has also called up Netherlands T20 veteran Ryan ten Doeschate as a cover with the all-rounder set to arrive in Dubai on Wednesday. The Lahore clash might have too soon for the Dutchman but he could still be an unlikely candidate to take the field.

LIKELY XIs

Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Akhtar, Salman Butt, Ab de Villiers (c), Corey Anderson, David Wiese, Gauhar Ali (wk), Yasir Shah, Sandeep Lamichhane, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali

Quetta Gladiators: Shane Watson, Ahsan Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Umar Akmal, Dwayne Bravo, Anwar Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk and c), Mohammad Nawaz, Ghulam Mudassar, Sohail Tanvir, Fawad Ahmed

Match starts at 15:30 UAE time

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