The Lahore Qalandars will play their first match of the Pakistan Super League(PSL) on 21st February 2021. The side had an excellent run last season and reached the summit clash. However, in the final of the 2020 edition of the PSL, they were beaten by the Karachi Kings.
The side is filled with some exciting talent, and they will surely be a tricky opponent to face in the 2021 edition of the PSL. The Qalandars have a balanced batting line up and a menacing bowling attack.
In this article, let us take a look at the predicted XI of the Qalandars for their first encounter against the Peshawar Zalmi side.
Openers (Fakhar Zaman and Zeeshan Ashraf)
The two opening batsmen for the Qalandars side are Fakhar Zaman and Zeeshan Ashraf. Zaman had an excellent run with the bat last year, amassed 325 runs, and scored his runs at a strike rate of close to 130 (128.96). The left hander also scored 2 fifties in the tournament last year.
On the other hand, Zeeshan Ashraf had a moderate campaign last year. The wicket keeper batsman could aggregate only 202 runs in the 5th edition of the PSL, but scored them at a good strike rate of 130.32. He also averaged an ordinary 18.36 in the tournament last year.
And surely, a good start from these two men tomorrow will allow the Qalandars to seize the initiative against the Peshawar Zalmi side.
Middle Order (Sohail Akhtar, Mohammad Hafeez and Ben Dunk)
The Qalandars also boast of a solid middle order with the likes of Sohail Akhtar, Mohammad Hafeez and Ben Dunk coming in at No.3, No.4 and No.5 respectively. Sohail Akhtar had a moderate run with the willow last year. The right hander scored 262 runs, at an average of just under 30 (29.11).
Mohammad Hafeez was in superb form last year in the PSL. The right-handed batting veteran scored 312 runs, and averaged close to 40 (39.00) in the competition last year. Hafeez is over 40 years old, but his age has not affected his zeal and enthusiasm for the game. He lends a lot of solidity to the Qalandars’ batting line up.
Ben Dunk will walk in at No.5 for the Qalandars. The Australian was in explosive form in the PSL last year, and tore apart several bowling attacks. Dunk scored exactly 300 runs, at a strike rate of 167.59. He is someone who can turn the game on its head in a matter of minutes.
All Rounders (Samit Patel, David Weise)
The Qalandars also have two very capable all rounders in Samit Patel and David Weise. While Patel can be brought in the middle overs and can be handy with his left arm spin, Weise is someone who can get the ball to move around in the air and also off the surface.
And, both of them are very handy with the bat as well. While Patel scored 188 runs last year at an average of 26.85 and a strike rate of 145.73, Weise averaged 43.66 last year, and scored his runs at a strike rate of 170.12.
Weise was also the 5th highest wicket taker for the Qalandars with the ball in the last edition. The right arm pacer scalped 12 wickets, and took them at a strike rate of 15.00. Patel, on the other hand, picked up 10 wickets last year. Both these players help in providing a lot of stability to the side.
Bowlers (Rashid Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf and Dilbar Hussain)
Rashid Khan is probably the biggest asset for any side in the T20 format. He is skiddy off the surface, and picks up wickets at regular intervals. And, at the age of 22, he has already emerged as the bowling lynchpin of every side that he plays for.
Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf have both played T20Is for Pakistan and will pose a lot of questions to the batsmen. Shaheen was the stand out bowler of the previous edition of the PSL, and scalped 17 wickets at a strike rate of 16.40. Rauf was also among the wickets for the Qalandars last year and scalped 10 batsmen in the 5th PSL edition.
Even though Dilbar Hussain has not played at the international level, the right arm medium pacer is a potent weapon for his side, and he showed his value in the last edition of the PSL. He scalped 14 wickets at a strike rate of 14.70, and provided crucial breakthroughs for his side. And, with such a potent line up, the Qalandars will surely look to start their PSL campaign on a winning note.