LAHORE: The second leg of the seventh season of the Pakistan Super League will kick into action with a clash between undefeated Multan Sultans and former champions Peshawar Zalmi here at Gaddafi Stadium on Thursday (today).
In their first leg in Karachi, the two teams played five matches each but the Sultans have so far proved to be the real Sultans of the game. They have now become a team to beat this season. The previous year’s trophy recipients, the Sultans have five out of five wins while Zalmi only managed to get two wins.
While Multan will be looking to maintain their winning streak, Zalmi will be eager for a turnaround in Lahore’s leg.
The Multan Sultans recorded their fifth successive victory against Zalmi, overtaking them by 57 points in their last encounter.
Their captain – the batsman and streamlined wicket-keeper – Mohammad Rizwan has been in great form, too hot to be handled by any of the other teams in the tournament. His 82 from 53 balls and Tim David’s unbeaten 51 helped the Sultans to a stunning 222/3 tally against Zalmi. From their bowling attack, Imran Tahir and Shahnawaz Dhani were superb with the ball taking three wickets apiece and they also got helpful support from Abbas Afridi. And if they have kept up their courage and confidence, as they have shown lately, they are big favorites to win again against Peshawar Zalmi.
Rizwan said he feels really proud of the momentum he, his team and his support staff maintained in the first leg and is now looking forward to continuing where they left.
“I’m really proud of my players and my support team who managed to maintain the momentum we gained in Abu Dhabi last season. As title defenders, I really couldn’t have asked for anything more. to my team and they were just outstanding as evidenced by our unbeaten record at the Karachi stage,” he said.
For Peshawar, three losses and two wins may have put them off, but all they need is motivation to get them back on track. They need someone in their camp to boost morale, as they have explosive drummers like Ben Cutting and Hazaratulah Zazai, seasoned militant Shoaib Malik, wily Usman Qadir and point guards Salman Irshad and Wahab Riaz in their ranks.
Captain Wahab admitted his side have not played to their full potential so far but he expects them to fight back to regain their rightful place in the tournament.
“The Karachi match didn’t go as planned and we weren’t able to play to the best of our abilities. However, Peshawar Zalmi still worked their way into the HBL PSL and as always we have enough depth, class and experience in our squad for a turnaround in Lahore’s leg,” he said.
Wahab sought out the story to help Zalmi regain the confidence and composure they are known for in the PSL. “Zalmi is used to regularly appearing in the HBL PSL Finals and this year we are more determined than ever to find a place in the Finals and repeat our 2017 success that we achieved at Gaddafi Stadium.”