Quetta Gladiators will be looking to open their account in the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 when they take on Lahore Qalandars on Monday (February 22). The Gladiators started their campaign with a crushing loss last week. They had locked horns against defending champions Karachi Kings in their first game of the competition and failed to impress.
The Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side failed to do well with both bat and ball as Karachi thrashed them by seven wickets. Asked to bat first, the Gladiators were all out for a paltry 121 in 18.2 overs. Barring veteran Chris Gayle, who scored 39, no other batsmen managed to touch or cross the 20-run mark. Their bowlers could not impress either as Karachi chased down the total inside 14 overs by losing only three wickets.
Here is the predicted XI for Quetta Gladiators for LAH vs QUE for PSL 2021:
Openers (Tom Banton, Sarfaraz Ahmed)
In Tom Banton and Sarfaraz Ahmed, Quetta have a solid opening partnership. A cocktail of youth and experience, the partnership of Banton and Sarfaraz has the ability to take the game away from the opposition in a blink of an eye. Both the players will be looking to do well against the Qalandars after failing to deliver in the first game.
Against Karachi, Banton had managed just five before being sent back by Imad Wasim. On the other hand, captain Sarfaraz had scored 7 off 7 before Aamer Yamin dismissed him. Both the openers had lost their wickets while trying to play poor shots at the very start of the game. The onus will be on them to give their team a good start in the upcoming game.
Middle-order (Chris Gayle, Saim Ayub, Azam Khan)
Chris Gayle, Saim Ayub, and Azam Khan will shoulder the responsibility of the middle-order for the Gladiators. Both Gayle and Azam got the starts against Karachi but failed to capitalize. Gayle looked in fine touch as he raced away to 39 with the help of 4 boundaries and two maximums before departing. Azam also hit a four and a six in his short stay before being dismissed for 17.
Ayub, on the other hand, had failed to get going as looked uncomfortable throughout his stay. He faced 14 balls and managed to score only 8 runs. The Gladiators team-management will be pinning their hopes on the likes of Gayle, Azam, and Ayub to guide them to a competitive total.
All-rounders (Mohammad Nawaz, Ben Cutting)
The Quetta all-rounders had failed miserably against Karachi in the PSL tournament-opener. Both Ben Cutting and Mohammad Nawaz had failed to deliver with both bat and ball. With the bat, Nawaz and Cutting managed 3 and 11 respectively. The hard-hitting all-rounders had the time to settle down before going for the big shots but failed to grab the opportunity.
Their performance with the ball was equally poor. Nawaz bowled two overs and could not pick any wicket while Cutting went for 20 runs off the five balls he bowled. Quetta definitely need their all-rounders to fire if they want to register their first win of the tournament.
Bowlers (Qais Ahmad, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Hasnain, Naseem Shah)
Quetta Gladiators had a mixed outing against Karachi last week. While Mohammad Hasnain and Usman Shinwari did well with the ball, Qais Ahmad and Naseem Shah had a game to forget. Hasnain was one of the few positives in an otherwise poor outing for the team as he dismissed Sharjeel Khan and Babar Azam while conceding only 18 runs off his four overs.
Shinwari, on the other hand, picked up one wicket and gave away just 10 runs in two overs. Qais and Naseem, however, had a poor outing. Both the bowlers failed to pick up any wicket and were very expensive. Qais conceded 43 runs off just three overs while Naseem went for 23 runs in two overs. Quetta will be hoping that all of their bowlers fire today as they eye their first win of PSL 2021.