PSL 2019: Lahore Qalandars, Islamabad United face must-win clash in playoff hunt

Aditya Devavrat 14:47 08/03/2019
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Haris Sohail and Lahore need to put in an improved batting performance.

Lahore Qalandars have picked the worst time to have their first losing streak of the season. Tuesday’s loss to Peshawar Zalmi was their second straight defeat, and it left them still outside the playoff spots with two games left to play. They’ll hope they don’t end up ruing that loss to Peshawar, in which they’d reduced the opposition to 20-5 before Misbah-ul-Haq rescued Zalmi in a chase of 125.

Qalandars are only two points behind fourth-placed Karachi Kings, who have a couple of tough games coming up as they face both of the top two teams, Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi. Still, Qalandars can’t rely on their rivals slipping up – the surest path to the playoffs is by winning both their remaining games, starting with Saturday’s clash against Islamabad United in Karachi.

Islamabad are on a two-game losing streak of their own, a turn of events that has dragged them into a three-way battle with Karachi and Lahore for the playoffs when they could have been in a much more comfortable position. This game against Lahore is a double-edged sword: it’s the last game of the season for them, so a loss would leave them stuck on eight points with their destiny out of their hands. They’d have to hope that both Qalandars and Karachi lose their remaining matches, and then the net run rate would likely take Islamabad through.

Why do things the hard way? Win on Saturday and their playoffs spot is guaranteed.

To do that, they’ll have to bounce back from a heavy loss to Quetta on Thursday in which Islamabad wasted a spell of 4-18 from Faheem Ashraf and Luke Ronchi’s 64 off 43 at the top of the order in a chase of 181. That chase ended with Islamabad on 137-9 as the rest of the batting line-up failed. The likes of Cameron Delport and Asif Ali will have to come to the fore on Saturday to support the bowlers, who were largely solid against Quetta.

For Lahore, captain Fakhar Zaman could do with some runs, having managed scores of 11, 18, 2, and 3 in his last four innings. The batting looks thinner without AB de Villiers, but if Zaman can give Lahore a quick start, the rest of the batting should pick up in confidence.

LIKELY TEAMS

Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman (c), Anton Devcich, Haris Sohail, Ryan ten Doeschate, Sohail Akhtar, Umair Masood, David Wiese, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sandeep Lamichhane, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali

Islamabad United: Luke Ronchi (wk), Cameron Delport, Phillip Salt, Asif Ali, Samit Patel, Rizwan Hussain, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Amad Butt, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Sami (c)

Match starts 18:00 UAE time

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