Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans
Friday 17 March, 14:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Lahore are paying the price for reckoning they can turn it on at their will. They lost twice in the dying embers of the ladder stage having sorted qualification and then couldn't pick it up when they needed to in the qualifier against Multan. Now is not the time to lose three of your last four.
Probable XI: Baig, Fakhar, Shafique, Billings, Talat, Raza, Wiese, Rashid Khan, Afridi, Rauf, Zaman
Zalmi earned a surprise win over Islamabad in the eliminator in a topsy-turvy match. They went off like a rocket and more than 200 was within range. They then lost their way, stumbled to 183 and were heading for defeat as United went into cruise control. But Aamer Jamal removed the two set batters and a path to victory was opened up.
Probable XI: Ayub, Babar, Haris, Kohler-Cadmore, Haseebullah, Neesham, Jamal, Omarzai, Wahab, Mujeeb, Irshad
The first-innings scores at Gaddafi Stadium (1 denotes match won by team batting first_) this season read: 183-1/160-1/196-1/180-1/148-1/200-1/241-1. There's a clear and obvious bias for the side batting first. This predates this tournament, too. Despite low totals being defended 180 should be a minimum given the flat nature. Lahore are still more likely for that because of Zalmi's leaky bowling over a long study period.
Lahore are 1.784/5 with Zalmi 2.166/5. How one wagers depends on whether Lahore have been given the required shock to the system. They bowled beautifully against Sultans but their batting collapses are now something of a trend.
Man for man and brain for brain they really are superior and the 1.784/5 would look particularly big batting first. On the head-to-head this season both games (one each) were won by the side batting first.
Saim Ayub has taken a liking to the Lahore attack and few can say that. He has two fifties this season. He is 10/3 for top Zalmi bat. Lahore's Fakhar Zaman smashed 96 at SR of 213 in the first meeting and is 11/5. It might be time for Lahore to get Sikandar Raza and David Wiese in the game earlier with the bat and we note the 11s and 16s. Babar Azam has been boosted to 4/1 to score most runs in the match.