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.
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.
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
The two players have been roped in as replacements for Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan who have both been called up to the England T20I squad for the upcoming series against the West Indies.
Sussex pacer Mills will take Jordan’s place in the squad while West Indies batsman Simmons replaces Malan.
Both the replacement players will arrive in Dubai on Wednesday and should be available for Peshawar Zalmi’s clash against Multan Sultans which takes place on Thursday.
Peshawar are currently in second position in the 2019 PSL table with three wins and two losses from their five games so far.
Leaving peshawarzalmipk today, all the best to the team for the coming games we are well positioned to go all the way 🏏🙏🏾💪🏾 @ Dubai, United Arab Emirates https://t.co/792rGsN5Ey— Chris Jordan (@CJordan) February 25, 2019
Simmons and Mills are not the only replacements being made by PSL franchises with defending champions Islamabad United turning to West Indies wicketkeeper batsman Chadwick Walton to replace the injured Ian Bell.
Meanwhile, Quetta Gladiators have called up Netherland’s Ryan ten Doeschate as a cover with the all-rounder set to join up with the squad at Dubai on Wednesday.
Multan Sultans too have lost one of their star players to international duty with all-rounder Andre Russell departing to join the West Indies squad for the fourth and fifth ODIs against England.
The Multan franchise are yet to announce any replacement for Russell as of now.
Islamabad are searching for their third win on the bounce after consecutive victories against Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings.
Multan, meanwhile, are languishing at the bottom of the table with just one win from their five games so far although that victory came against Islamabad at Dubai.
Will Islamabad make it three wins in a row or will Multan do the double over the defending champions? Follow the ball-by-ball updates from Dubai below to find out.