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Lahore Qalandars, the defending champions of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), are within reach of making history by becoming the first team to defend their title. Last year, the Qalandars won their maiden PSL title by defeating Multan Sultans in the final at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium after a six-year wait.
Under the leadership of their new captain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, the Qalandars have undergone a remarkable transformation since the seventh edition of the league. Their consistency since last year reflects the commitment brought in by the new captain. In this year’s PSL, they topped the league stage by winning seven out of 10 matches and are now focused on the qualifier against the Sultans scheduled for March 15.
When discussing the strengths of the Qalandars, Shaheen, their captain, comes to mind as he has the ability to take wickets in his first over. Furthermore, their overall bowling line-up, consisting of Rashid Khan, Zaman Khan, and Haris Rauf, has been recognized not only as the best bowling line-up in the PSL but in any T20 team worldwide.
Three Qalandars’ bowlers, Rashid (15), Shaheen (14), and Haris (14), are among the top five highest wicket-takers in the ongoing PSL 8. Moreover, Fakhar Zaman, their opener, is the backbone of their batting line-up. He has scored 378 runs in 10 league matches, including a maiden PSL century, and has the ability to give Qalandars a quick start against any bowling attack.
However, Qalandars are facing a few weaknesses this season. Their experienced fast-bowling all-rounder, David Wiese, is out of form and has not impressed fans with his match-winning abilities. Additionally, Hussain Talat, a fast-bowling all-rounder for the Qalandars, is also struggling to find his form. In addition, the team is missing a skilled finisher who can take wickets while batting down their lineup.
The Qalandars have only appeared in one PSL qualifier to date, which was last year against the Sultans. Unfortunately, they lost the qualifier by a margin of 28 runs.
Probable Line-up for Shaheen-led Defending Champions Lahore Qalandars
Fakhar Zaman, Mirza Tahir Baig, Abdullah Shafique, Sikandar Raza, Sam Billings, David Wiese, Hussain Talat, Shaheen Afridi (c), Haris Rauf, Rashid Khan, Zaman Khan
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