The first eliminator of the Pakistan Super League 2020 (PSL 2020) is set to take place on November 14 between Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi who are third and fourth in the table respectively. Lahore concluded the initial stages in good form but things went off for them as they had to replace the in-form Chris Lynn with Tamim Iqbal.
Lynn hit a century in his most recent game but has been out of form since March. This may prove helpful for the team as Tamim is an explosive opener and probably in better touch than Lynn. The Zalmis have been affected the most as they have made the most changes. They finished fourth in March but now, Liam Livingstone and Liam Dawson are not available for them.
IPL 2020 winner with Mumbai Indians, Kieron Pollard missed the group stages and will also be missing the important games being played now. However, Faf du Plessis, Hardus Viljoen, and Saqib Mahmood have been recruited and declared fit.
Head to Head
Matches: 10, LHQ: 2, PSZ: 8
Lahore have made only one change to their squad and that is Lynn whose form was unpredictable. The Bangladeshi hitter can help his team to prosper if he performs well. Ben Dunk will be another player to look for as he’s been dominant on the field and the wicket-keeper batsman is pretty excited to return to the play-offs.
Shaheen Afridi has been like a soldier for Lahore and his stats speak for him. The top bowler will have to find his rhythm as soon as he can in order to fire well in the crucial games. Fakhar Zaman will be mounted with pressure after Lynn’s departure. Both were really batting well in unison but now, Zaman will have to be careful as Tamim may not start firing from the first game itself.
For Peshawar Zalmi, Pollard will be a huge miss. However, his replacement Faf Du Plessis is no less and will provide more stability at the top. The absence of Liam Livingstone and Liam Dawson led to Peshawar signing two more replacements, Hardus Viljoen and Saqib Mahmood.
Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, and Wahab Riaz will be key for the struggling Peshawar squad. Haider Ali though was impressive in the recent encounters with Zimbabwe while the veteran all-rounder Malik will be hoping to re-continue his old dynamic form.
Riaz also looked sharp with his bowling in Pakistan’s latest action and several eyes will be on him as their leading bowler will have to create some magic on the field. Having lost the last two matches, Peshawar will be under pressure but they surely have the power to turn things around.
Pitch and Conditions
The batsmen friendly Karachi wicket will be set for another game. However, bowlers too tend to get something out of the pitch in the later stages of the game and it will be interesting to see how the bowlers make use of the pitch for their own good.
The pitch though has not seen any action for the past eight months and that also adds an unpredictability factor to the game. The dew is expected to play a role too and the game could be a low-scoring one. With a clear sky and no possibility of rains, it would be perfect for a game of cricket.
With the temperature hovering around the 21-degree mark, players will have to be warm from within, or else the humidity around 40% will exacerbate things for the players.
Lahore Qalandars Probable Playing XI
Fakhar Zaman, Tamim Iqbal, Sohail Akhtar (C), Ben Dunk (WK), Mohammad Hafeez, David Wiese, Samit Patel, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Raja Farzan, Dilbar Hussain.
Peshawar Zalmi Probable Playing XI
Kamran Akmal (WK), Imam-ul-Haq, Faf du Plessis, Haider Ali, Shoaib Malik, Hardus Viljoen, Wahab Riaz (C), Hasan Ali, Saqib Mahmood, Rahat Ali, Yasir Shah.
Fakhar Zaman (LHQ) vs Hasan Ali (PSZ)
Zaman has been a crucial batsman for the Qalandars this season. However, what’s more important is the striker rate with which he has scored this season. Things may get tough for him as the pitch may behave differently but the Lahore squad will hope that he bats well as he can set the tone for the team.
On the other hand, Peshawars will want Hasan Ali to not let Fakhar succeed. The international teammates will be against one another and it will be interesting to see who helps his side more. Hasan Ali has provided some important breakthroughs to his team and no wicket would be better than Zaman if he can manage to do so.
Imam-ul-Haq (LHQ) vs Shaheen Afridi (PSZ)
Two successors of two great veterans will e up against each other. Judging purely on the basis of current form, Afridi looks to be on top as his numbers have only improved. Imam will have to level up not only for himself but also for his team who will certainly not go through if they keep performing the way they have recently.
The Eliminator 1 is anticipated to be an interesting one and the winner will be a step closer to the final. Both the players will have to show their best traits on the pitch so that their team can go through.
Qalandars have been in decent form this season. Especially, when compared to the Peshawars, they have looked pretty impressive. However, the table doesn’t say that there is much difference between the sides and thus the game holds a huge value in the competition.
Both the teams have enough strength to win the title but what holds the most value is who delivers on the day when needed. With some new reinforcements, it seems Lahore Qalandars may have an edge which may help them to excel in the competition.
Cricwizz predicts Lahore Qalandars to win the Eliminator 1