KARACHI: As Pakistan cricket’s show-piece event Pakistan Super League returns to Pakistan, Lahore Qalander decided to bowl fist in the crucial match of PSL 4th edition’s first match in Pakistan at Karachi National Stadium.
The Lahore Qalander is taking on the Islamabad United at National Stadium Karachi. Lahore Qalanders’ captain Fakhr Zamaan won the toss and put United to bat first.
Today’s match is important for so many people and for so many reasons. International cricket is once again returning home to the cricket-mad nation of over 200 million, the historic National Stadium is lighting up once again to accommodate thousands of cheering fans, the local players are raring to go in front of their home crowd, and the foreign players are just as excited to be extended a hero’s welcome.
Today’s match is a do or die for Lahore Qalandars, who must win both of their remaining two matches to guarantee a spot in the playoffs.
Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi are already through to the playoffs. The third and fourth positions are up for grabs for defending champions Islamabad United, home team Karachi Kings, and the fifth-placed Lahore Qalandars. Multan Sultans are already out.
If Islamabad United win their only remaining group match today, they would be safe with 10 points.
For Lahore Qalandars, things are not that simple. They have only 6 points from their three victories so far in the tournament, and need to win both of their remaining matches to cement a spot in the playoffs. If they lose against Islamabad United today, then their qualification to the playoffs would depend on whether Karachi Kings are defeated in their next games and on the NRR comparison.
Lahore Qalandars are without their power-hitter AB de Villiers, who was ruled out of the Karachi matches due to a back injury. Without their major star attraction, the Fakhar Zaman-led team will be relying on their bowling lineup which has been bolstered by Nepal’s teen spin sensation Sandeep Lamichhane. The 18-year old has bagged 10 wickets from his five matches so far at a decent economy of 6.33.