Quetta-Peshawar battle for chance to spoil Karachi’s dream run - Pakistan Today

Quetta-Peshawar battle for chance to spoil Karachi’s dream run

Lahore is bracing for impact once more as Ferozpur Road is quadroned off and Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators get sweaty in the nets before battling it out in a virtual quarter-final being billed as a semi.

For Lahore, this is the first instance of a significant match with international players taking place this year. However, it is not the first game of international proportions in recent times.

Lahore has hosted one PSL final already as well as a T20 game against Sri Lanka last year, not to mention the action it got during the World XI tour in the previous year as well. By those measures, it seems that Lahore should be well prepared by now to host two games in a row on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lahoris not able to procure tickets for the games will, of course, curse the traffic underneath their breaths, but the games are expected to go through smoothly since quite robust (and well-practised) security and traffic plans are in place for the two games.

Overall, despite the city virtually coming to a halt for the game, Lahore will envy Karachi just a little for getting to host the final, and especially that they might just get to see their home team face off against Islamabad. For Salman Iqbal and the Karachi Kings sponsors, winning the final game and lifting the trophy in Karachi itself will probably be poetic, especially since Karachi has been devoid of cricket since the 2009 terror attack in Lahore.

Yet Imad Wasim and his men in electric blue should not breathe easy just yet because both Quetta and Peshawar will be looking to spoil some fun for the home team and make it another final of aliens for the crowd at hand.

Karachi should be especially wary after witnessing the Ronchi lead turnaround which has forced them to travel to Lahore rather than claim their spot at the National Stadium directly.

But they do still have one advantage over both Peshawar and Quetta, as they will need to win just one more game compared to the other team which will come worn out to their second match.

The PSL will once again operate on its previous model with the bottom ranked teams (Quetta and Peshawar) fighting it out for the opportunity to play Karachi for a spot in the final.

Both teams go into the game well matched, but both go to unfamiliar territory. While they were the ones to play the final in Lahore last year, they have yet had to play as the bottom-ranked teams in either edition of the tournament.

The cricket viewer knows through precedent that the first tournament was one by the bottom ranked team, with Misbah winning both his qualifiers and taking out Quetta in the final. In the second edition, it was second-ranked Quetta that lost to direct qualifier Peshawar Zalmi, who went on to win the title despite not being number one in the group stages. At present, all three teams will have to do something unprecedented to win the tournament, but then that is the exciting thing about new tournaments and games: the new patterns of victory and loss.

The PSL is yet old enough to have patterns, except Lahore not qualifying maybe, but with the quality of cricket on the rise with each year and a new team in the running, the PSL has some good years of holding the public attention ahead of it.

Abdullah Niazi

Abdullah Niazi is a member of staff currently studying Literature at LUMS. He also writes and edits for The Dependent.

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