Ed Hawkins previews the eliminator on Sunday from Karachi's National Stadium with one team going home...
"Sultans will know Khushdil matches up well against this attack and they should want to capitalise on that 70 from 29 in March"
Lahore Qalandars v Multan Sultans
Sunday November 15 15:00
TV: live on Sky channel 732
Lahore looking good
Lahore knocked out Peshawar Zalmi on Saturday in a cracking game. After conceding 170 they nervelessly chased the target with six balls to spare.
Mohammad Hafeez was the star. His unbeaten 74 from 46 was the highlight of a textbook chase. Tamim Iqbal and David Wiese played brutal cameos.
It was a surprise they were going after so many with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf and Dilbar Hussain - a terrific pace contingent - on potent form. But they were never able to apply a squeeze on a revamped Zalmi whose hell for leather approach made for a great contest.
Lahore used only five bowlers so they may want to be more flexible. Muhammad Faizan's pace was not required and they could find room for another spin option.
Possible XI Fakhar, Tamim, Akhtar, Hafeez, Dunk, Patel, Wiese, Fai-zan, Afridi, Haris, Dilbar
Kings short on bowlers
We're beginning to feel sorry for Multan Sultans. By far and the way the best team in the PSL before the Covid postponement, they are now in a sudden death situation having been squeezed out by Karachi Kings in the qualifier.
Multan did that take that game to a Super Over when they had no right to. They were up against it for the majority, only wrestling back control in the last four overs when Karachi collapsed spectacularly. Kings dominance returned in the SO when they smashed 13 and Sultans could manage only nine.
A total of 141 was always going to be tough to defend but they were fortunate to get that. Only late hitting from Sohail Tanvir kept them alive. Are they feeling sorry for themselves, too?
Probable XI Zeeshan, Lyth, Masood, Rossouw, Bopara, Khushdil, Sha-hid Afridi, Tanvir, Ilyas, Tahir, Irfan.
2020 LQ 191-1 chased MS 186-6 (Khushdil* 70, Afridi 2-23)
MS 142-5 (Masood 38, Wiese 1-11) chased LQ 138-8
2019 MS 141-3 (Masood 41, Wiese 1-15) chased 140-8 (Fakhar 53)
LQ 204-4 (Fakhar 63) chased MS 200-6
Overall PZ 3 LQ 3
Here are the first-innings scores (1-2 denote match won by team batting first or second) from the National Stadium, Karachi in this tournament: 170-2/141-t/150-2/136-2/154-1/150-2/156-2/148-2/201-1/168-2. You will spot a trend for the chaser to dominate before Covid. It could be that chasing is easier again because teams are learning the vagaries of fresh pitches and are unsure what a good score is. The best approach seems to be all-out attack. Qalandars seem to have the mindset right. A score of 170 is a minimum.
Sultans can chase
The market has taken a view on Multan and they are not impressed - they are outsiders at 2.1211/10 with Lahore 1.875/6.
We're not as convinced. Multan could well be suffering some sort of funk or collective nervousness but man for man they have all bases covered in the quest for glory. The balance is good.
Lahore, of course, are also looking tight. But we make this a choice affair. What swings it for us to get involved in a trade on Multan is that we know they will leave no stone unturned for success. Their analysts will have probably worked through the night to find an edge. The least they can do here is trad short favourites.
Khushdil Shah has been pushed out to 8/1 by Sportsbook for top Multan bat. Down at No 6, it is probably fair. But could he promoted? Sultans will know he matches up well against this attack and they should want to capitalise on that 70 from 29 in March. We also note the 22/1 that he is the top match batsman, bigger than the 16s for man of the match.
The left-handed hitter was batting at No 4 for Pakistan against Zimbabwe last week and batted as high as No 3 in this year's domestic T20 competition. At the least he could squeeze ahead of Ravi Bopara, who might have been too ponderous for Multan's liking.