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PSL 2017 Final Preview, Quetta Gladiators v Peshawar Zalmi: Cricket returns Pakistan as Gladiators, Zalmi eye ultimate glory

Peshawar Zalmi
Peshawar Zalmi. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Lahore is all set to host the ultimate match of the 2017 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL). Arguably the two best teams of the tournament – Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi – will lock horns for the final glory. The match holds paramount importance for Pakistan as it is expected to pave way for international cricket on the Pakistani soil yet again. Talking about the fixture, the two sides had earlier finished as the top two teams in the league stage.

They had clashed in the first Qualifying Final, where the Gladiators had eked out a 1 run win to march into the finals. The Zalmi’s had to take the tougher route and play the third Qualifying Final against the Karachi Kings. A thoroughly convincing win over the Kings saw them set yet another clash with Gladiators. The next big question that came along with the final qualifications was about the participation of the overseas players.

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The security has been uptight and the PCB and PSL working committee have guaranteed a foolproof security layout for the game. However, some of the big names are set to miss the clash. Despite their omission, the match has still managed to garner a lot of attention and hype. Expect a close game and a thrilling finish to PSL 2017.

Team News:

Quetta Gladiators

The Quetta franchise were hit hard by their sudden departure of overseas giants. Kevin Pietersen and Rilee Rossouw were among the top performers of the season thus far and both opted out of the finals. Pacer Tymal Mills had been a revelation for the first finalist team but he chose to go the same way either. Luke Wright, another Englishman in the side, found it a safer deal to head back home from the UAE. Hence the side was certainly left dented. However, the replacement drafts and the subsequent picking up of new players now sees a revamped Quetta line up.

The franchise has picked up 5 overseas players that include two wicketkeeper batsmen, two all-rounders and a bowler. The players joining the side are Bangladesh’s Anamul Haque, South Africa’s Morne van Wyk, Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura and Sean Ervine, and West Indies’ Rayad Emrit.

The players will definitely find it hard filling in the big crevices left by the departed players. They are most likely to go with the combination of Morne Van Wyk, Elton Chigumbura, Rayad Emrit and Sean Ervine as their four overseas players for the match. Truth be told, the team will find it tough to gel up for one solitary game in hand.

Peshawar Zalmi

While the Gladiators face the problem of having a refurbished setup, the Zalmis would consider themselves lucky for having their overseas players glued to the squad. All overseas players including skipper Darren Sammy have agreed to play in the big final at Lahore. They will have the services of Chris Jordan, Samit Patel, Marlon Samuels and Dawid Malan in addition to Sammy.

Malan has been in great touch after having played just 2 matches this season. His form cements a place for him in the lineup. The franchise owner recently revealed that Afghanistan batsman Mohammad Shahzad is also likely to fly in for the big finals. In case he is available for the match, he might take the place of Marlon Samuels in the team. The team was jolted by the injury blow to Shahid Afridi.

The departure of Afridi might force the Zalmi’s to look out for a like-for-like replacement. Considering the hitting abilities of Shahzad, the question seems to be answered. Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali have been bowling decently well for them and they will take the majority of responsibility in the bowling department.

Probable XI:

Quetta Gladiators

Ahmed Shehzad, Morne Van Wyk, Sean Ervine, Elton Chigumbura, Sarfraz Ahmed (C), Anwar Ali, Saad Nasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Rayad Emrit.

Peshawar Zalmi

Kamran Akmal, Haris Sohail, Darren Sammy (C), Marlon Samuels, Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Asghar, Khushdil Shah.

Match Facts:

Venue: Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore

Time: 2030 (IST), 1500 (GMT), 2000 (local)

Pitch Verdict: Traditionally a batting surface

Weather: Clear skies

Where to watch the PSL:

(Photo Source: Saj Sadiq Twitter handle)

Indian users can watch the PSL Final live on YouTube or Cricketgateway

StAttack:

1. Ahmed Shehzad is the leading run-getter in PSL across both the seasons for Quetta Gladiators. He has 531 runs to his name in 19 matches.

2. Mohammad Hafeez of Peshawar Zalmi bowls with an economy of 5.84 in PSL tournaments.

3. Kamran Akmal of Peshawar Zalmi has the dubious distinction of scoring a century and two ducks in the same edition of the tournament. He is currently the leading run-getter of the season.

4. No bowler from Quetta Gladiators side feature in the top 10 leading wicket takers of the PSL 2017.

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