Quetta Gladiators v Peshawar Zalmi
Friday 28 January 14.00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Quetta bowling a problem
Quetta have finished sixth and fifth in the last two competitions. They rank bottom on all three key long-term metrics: bowling economy, batting run rate and boundary per-centage. Apart from that they're fine.
Of course they're not. Instead of signing bowlers to plus leaks in the field they seem intent on more batsmen. A classic case of a franchise not building a balanced squad.
Without James Vince and Jason Roy, who are on England duty, Ben Duckett may have to do the heavy lifting with the bat. Veteran Sarfaraz may even be asked to open. We also wait to see if Dan Lawrence or Will Smeed are available. Shimron Hetmyer is a late replacement signing, too.
Possible XI: Ahsan Ali, Duckett (19.3 boundary %), Lawrence, Iftikhar (18.4), Sarfaraz (15.8), Faulkner (16.3), Nawaz, Shahid Afridi, Tanvir, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hasnain
Zalmi were beaten in the final last term by Multan Sultans. They have a well-balanced squad and they manage to be competitive despite claims they rely on a 'dad's army' duo.
Still, a sluggish start could be expected as they wait for players to arrive. Liam Livingstone and Saqib Mahmood are both with England in the Caribbean. Pat Brown and Matt Parkinson have been signed as replacements, although Brown is the only like-for-like for Mahmood.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Hazratullah Zazai could be early beneficiaries of Livingstone's absence. We don't expect either to get much game time when he turns up.
Wahab Riaz and Shoaib Malik are the experienced duo with ball and bat respectively.
Possible XI: Haider Ali, Zazai, K Akmal, S Malik (15.6 boundary %), Cutting (20.2), Talat (15.3), Rutherford, Wahab, MA Khan, S Mahmood, Arshad
As we said before game one, the toss bias in Karachi is famous. In the last 26 PSL games at Karachi, 21 have been won by the chaser.
It doesn't mean low scores. In the December T20 series West Indies posted 207 - and lost. More than 170 has been posted in 11 of the last 17.
We should be able to get long of first-innings runs on the par line at 166.5. That's a bet if Zalmi bat first. Sportsbook go 2/1 that both teams 160 or more. That's a bit of a risk with the Quetta batting but given ground form we've got to take it before such odds become a distant memory. It's won nine times in the last 17.
Quetta better with toss their way
Zalmi are 1.674/6 with Quetta 2.37. If all was fair in love and war (in other words, no toss bias) those odds would make sense.
So even pre-toss you could argue Quetta are the value because if the call goes their way they have a massive edge. Still, we can afford to wait at the odds. Around 2.1011/10 may still be available post toss but it should climb even higher in-play with Quetta liable to go round the park.
Haider opened three times out of his four appearances last season. He has batted at No 3 in the National Cup, the domestic tournament. He batted at No 3 eight times in the CPL, once as a No 2 and twice at No 7.
Therefore it's easy to reckon that 11/1 about a top Zalmi bat winner is value, particularly as absent players only reinforce the likelihood that he bats in the first three.
For Quetta, Sarafarz could be a pick at 7/1. Hetmyer gets a 9/2 quote with Duckett the 11/4 jolly. Bet on player markets here.