Afridi and Hafeez to the fore



Lahore Qalandars v Peshawar Zalmi
Thursday 10 June, 19:00
TV: live on Sky Sports

Lahore off to strong start

Tournament favourites Lahore Qalandars went to the top of the table and almost guaranteed a play-off spot by returning to PSL action with success over Islamabad United on Wednesday.

Lahore chased down 144 as their much-vaunted bowling line-up lay down a marker. Rashid Khan took the man of the match award for figures of one for nine while Haris Rauf, James Faulkner and Ahmed Daniyal were all mean. It meant Shaheen Shah Afridi was allowed a rare off day in terms of economy.

They made hard work of the chase, though. It went to the last ball after Muhammad Faizan, Mohammad Hafeez and Ben Dunk were too ponderous. They will need to show more intent going forward. Taking a leaf from Rashid’s book will be a start. His late blitz got them out of a hole.

It was a surprise that Callum Ferguson did not make the XI although Tim David’s selection proved correct. He accompanied Rashid in the late onslaught.

Probable XI Fakhar, Sohail, Faizan, Hafeez, Dunk, David, Rashid, Faulkner, Shaeen, Rauf, Daniyal

Peshawar poised

Zalmi come into the tournament hoping to maintain strong batting and bowling rankings. Before postponement they sat at No 2 position in both runscoring and bowling economy rates.

Obviously, like other franchises, they have lost players which threaten the status quo but they appear to have done some decent recruitment work. Saqib Mahmood, the Lancashire pacer, is a loss but Fidel Edwards is a more than adequate addition. Ravi Bopara, Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Liam Livingstone are unavailable while Mujeeb-ur-Rahman is out, too

In come Fabian Allen and Rovman Powell to join Edwards and Sherfane Rutherford to give this squad a strong Windies vibe. They may struggle to find room for David Miller.

Possible XI Kamran Akmal, Imam, Shoaib Malik, Haider Ali, Rutherford, Powell, Allen, Wahab, Umaid, Edwards, Irfan

Pitch report

The chasing bias continued in the PSL with Lahore’s win. But it would be folly to bet blind that conditions in the UAE are the same as they were in Pakistan for part one. We’re particularly interested in the impact dew has at one of the hottest times of the year in Abu Dhabi. For later matches such as this, a wet ball is possible for both innings. That could still mean defending is tough but innings runs could tick up as well.

In terms of historic runscoring we are not expecting big runs. As ever it could pay to go low on the extremes, booking in small bets for under 130, 140 and 150 at decent numbers. But we’re keeping our powder dry until we can see exactly what is happening with the different start times.

Zalmi trade chance

Lahore are 1.758/11 with Zalmi 2.186/5. We would expect Zalmi to be more competitive than the odds suggest. They clearly have good preparation methods and plans in the field.

Despite a watching brief being important with regards to the toss, you would still prefer to be on Zalmi if they were batting first not least because a simple trade could be on the agenda with a fast start. They’re also a team to expect to go big at the death with the power they have in the lower order. If Rashid has them in a stranglehold in the middle overs then you could also be taking a slice with their odds shortening with late runs.

Tops value

On the last two competitions, Hafeez provides a 1.4% edge on win rate for top Lahore bat at 4/1 with Sportsbook. Ben Dunk gives us almost seven points on rate at 8/1 but he was batting as high as No 3 and No 4 previously.

For Peshawar, Haider Ali is being wasted at No 6. When he was batting at Nos 3 or 4 he was winning 30% of the time. Sportsbook’s 5/1 seems fair considering where he is likely to bat. Shoaib Malik is the right favourite at 3/1.

With the ball, Shaheen drew a rare blank on the top Lahore bowler market. He returns 38% of the time on our study period. Sportsbook are likely to go wither 5/2 or 11/4. Either would be fine. He has a strong record against Zalmi with ten wickets in six games.