Multan Sultans v Quetta Gladiators
Friday 18 February, 09:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Sultans have a quick turnaround from Wednesday's late success against Kings. It restored confidence - if it had dipped even at all - following their sur-prise capitulation to Lahore.
It was a nervy affair. Sultans got themselves into a pickle chasing 175 and required the combination of a late Khushdil Shah assault and Chris Jordan waywardness in the penultimate over.
Possible XI: Masood, Rizwan, Maqsood, Rossouw, David, Khushdil, Azmat, Asif Afridi, Tahir, Muzarabani, Raees, Dahani
Quetta's hopes of gatecrashing the race for second took a hit in defeat by Zalmi. They are now in danger of missing the play-offs altogether.
It's all change. Ben Duckett and Luke Wood have returned due to fatigue and injury respectively. Mohammad Irfan, the pacer, comes in and Will Smeed has returned.
Smeed made 99 in that Zalmi game and has been having a sensational tournament. They are probably the stronger for having him available.
Possible XI: Roy, Smeed, Vince, Sarfaraz, Iftikhar, Umar Akmal, Tanvir, Noor Ahmad, Khurram, Naseem, Mudassar
We have consistently said the Lahore pitch has proved to be good for batters. The first-innings scores so far read (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second): 174-2/185-1/191-1/141-1/193-1/199-2/182-/182-1.
Those numbers equate to runs par line wins in all but the most recent match - Kings batting first against Sultans. Curiously the pitch has not held as well or the dew as severe as Karachi. More than 170 has been busted by both teams three times.
If the reliable Sultans bat first, going long of the runs par line at as high as even 180.5 is low risk. Multan average 9/1 runs per over with the bat, Quetta 9.1 with ball. Bet the market here
Sultans too short
Sultans are 1.574/7 with Quetta 2.608/5. That's short enough on Sultans, who have lost only once all term. But there is a betting opportunity on the match odds. We know the pitch is flat, and we know Quetta go hard up front. So they can trade at skinnier odds in the first six or even at the break. They could make it a choice affair.
We had asked for 11/4 on Mohammad Rizwan with the Sportsbook boost against Karachi. We didn't get it and he duly delivered. The 15/8 is not for us unsurprisingly. Will Smeed has appeal at 3s because he won't die wondering. Roy is 11/5. Bet Sportsbook markets here
Lahore Qalandars v Karachi Kings
Friday 18 February, 14:30
TV: live on Sky Sports
Lahore well placed
Lahore could be holding on to second spot by run rate by the time this game is played, providing Islamabad beat Zalmi on Thursday, of course. They have significantly superior run rate to Zalmi so there would need to be quite the turnaround for to be pipped by them.
They hammered Sultans and followed it up with an easy win over Quetta in their last two outings but they have lost Rashid Khan to Afghanistan duty. That may let Samit Patel back in for a game.
Possible XI: Fakhar, Shafique, Ghulam, Hafeez, Salt, Brook, Wiese, Patel, Afridi, Rauf, Zaman.
Eight matches played, eight defeats for Kings. What is surprising about their season is how they have done next to noting to try to reverse their fortunes. No change-ups in the opening slot for example. Why not try a pinch-hitter?
Amazingly, they have the best economy rate with the ball. Possibly that's because their batting has been razed a few times and the pressure's been off the chaser. There's no Mohammad Nabi anymore so Lewis Gregory could play.
Probable XI: Sharjeel, Babar, Clarke, Qasim, Rohail, Imad, Gregory, Thompson, Shinwari, Hamza.
Lahore are 1.4640/85 so we're looking at a potential 2.809/5 price on Kings. Dare we risk it? Well, they traded as favourites versus Sultans so if the toss goes their way, they bat and can post upwards of 170 then a trade is on the cards. Otherwise they could well be pushing 4.03/1 at the break.
One shouldn't keep going back to the well but our 100/1 winner Imad Wasim might be another follow. He could bat at Nos 5 or 6 here as his good form has continued. Keep an eye on Rohail Nazir's price, too, as he is a potential opener if Kings decide to experiment.
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