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Door to PSL’s Final Ajar for Quetta Gladiators By Khurram Zia Khan

Quetta Gladiators in first round of Pakistan Super League (PSL) played wonderful cricket. Everyone expected Quetta Gladiators to give good performances even before start of the tournament but no one expected them to give such a clinical performance.

Many factors have played pivotal part in success of Quetta Gladiators in the inaugural edition of Pakistan Super League but in my view team selection is a big factor in Gladiators upsurge.
Along with coaching staff, appointment of a living legend Sir Vivian Richards turned out to be a real master stroke. Presence of Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards is enough to give loads of confidence to the whole squad. Richards with his gestures in the dugout of Quetta during various moments of the tournament are showing his involvement & passion for his team Quetta and also for Pakistan Super League.

Rising Quetta born player Bismillah Khan scored a half century on his PSL debut and he is full of praise for Richards. According to him the word impossible have no place in Richards’ dictionary and he is trying to inculcate this same self belief among the players of franchise.

Coaching staff have done their bit now it is time for players to perform well in ground and try to reach the final of first ever Pakistan Super League.

Quetta played exceptional cricket during the tournament and it is an achievement that they qualified for the playoff stage with few matches to spare.

Although Quetta performed well in the tournament but there are still some points to ponder for them before going into playoffs

One thing which I want to highlight is the arrogance of Gladiators skipper Sarfraz Ahmed while batting. During the league stage of the tournament, Sarfraz throw away his wicket in both matches against Lahore Qalandars by playing atrocious shots. Sarfraz need to guard this tendency of playing exuberant shots. He have all the shots and all he need to do is to show some patience, play the ball on merit and try and play according to match situation.

Sarfraz Ahmed and team management also need to rethink their strategy at toss also. If pitch is good for batting, they should bat first if they win toss and try to set humungous target for opposition. Score board pressure in a crunch match has a different dimension and we have seen many teams crumbling under scoreboard pressure in crunch matches. I hope Quetta Gladiators did not take one dimension decision at the toss instead they take decision keeping in perspective pitch condition and the ground condition.

Quetta Gladiators in most of their matches were able to contain their opponents to below par total but in some matches where opposition was able to break the reigns, captaincy of Sarfraz was exposed. In the first play off, he needs to remain alert and make quick bowling changes to unsettle the batsman. In last league match against Lahore Qalandars, Sarfraz continued with Zulfiqar Babar and Anwar Ali without realizing that both the bowlers were of color that day. His persistence with Babar and Anwar Ali allowed Lahore to set up a mammoth total. Quetta get out of jail and went on to win the match because of Lahore’s inept bowling but with the sort of resources possessed by Peshwar Zalmi, chasing or setting a big total against them will be a herculean task for Quetta’s squad.

Peshawar is a very diversified and talented team of Pakistan super league. They have the basis covered in all three departments that is batting, bowling and fielding and their never to die attitude made them a real dangerous opponent.

Quetta has beaten Peshawar in one of the league match and they are capable of doing the same again.
I hope Quetta remain vigilant throughout 40 overs duration of the first qualifying match and play to their full potential to become the first team to reach the final of Pakistan Super League

I wish Good Luck to Quetta Gladiator

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