SHARJAH: It’s going to be a battle between pace and power-hitting when Lahore Qalandars take on Multan Sultans at the Sharjah Cricket Ground in today’s first match.
After facing an injury blow to their captain Mohammad Hafeez, Lahore Qalandars have a new leader in South Africa’s AB de Villiers and a replacement in the form of Salman Butt, who will be playing in his first high-profile tournament since his high-profile ban for a spot-fixing scandal which erupted on Pakistan´s 2010 tour of England.
The left-handed batsman, who represented Pakistan in 33 Tests, 78 one-day internationals and 24 Twenty20 matches before his five-year ban, joined the Qalandars camp in Sharjah a day earlier and is expected to make his PSL debut today.
Qalandars have mainly been relying on their pace attack, which is made up of teen sensation Shaheen Shah Afridi, a resurgent Rahat Ali, and rising star Haris Rauf, who bowled his side to a dramatic victory –Qalandars’ only win out of three games so far – against Karachi Kings with a four-wicket haul.
Multan Sultans are in a similar boat, with only one win out of three matches despite the presence of star power in the form of Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi. The Sultans lost to Karachi Kings in their opening fixture before coming back with a bang to defeat defending champions Islamabad United.
However, they stood no chance against table-toppers Quetta Gladiators who beat them by a comprehensive eight wickets on Wednesday as skipper Malik’s 53 off 37 balls went in vain.
The match will start at 4:30pm Pakistan Standard Time.
Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi will face off in the second match later tonight.
Mohammad Hafeez (c), Fakhar Zaman, AB de Villiers, Yasir Shah, Corey Anderson, Anton Devcich, Rahat Ali, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shaheen Afridi, Agha Salman, Sohail Akhtar, Hassan Khan, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Imran, Umair Masood, Brendon Taylor, Gauhar Ali, Aizaz Cheema, Haris Rauf, Hardus Viljoen, David Wiese, Saad Ali
Shoaib Malik (c), Andre Russell, Shahid Afridi, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, James Vince, Shan Masood, Qais Ahmed, Nicolas Pooran, Mohammad Abbas, Irfan Khan, Umar Siddiq, Laurie Evans, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Illyas, M Junaid, Daniel Christian, Tom Moores, Ali Shafiq, Shakil Ansar, Hammad Azam, Chris Green