Two times runner-up Quetta lost victory by flinch in previous two seasons of PSL. Team mentored by Sir Viv Richards have the all the required ingredients to become champions except a bit of luck. The most under-rated team of PSL, captained by Pakistani Skipper Sarfaraz Ahmad proved its worth by remaining the unbeaten team for three consecutive matches in the beginning of the inaugural season of PSL. They begin their season by facing ISLU boys and won it comfortably. Zalmi gave them a tough time but Safy boys continued their winning streak. At the end of round robin stage, Quetta had lost two matches out of eight. Quetta was the first team to qualify for the play offs in the first as well as in second season.
In the first playoffs match, Quetta faced the season favourites Peshawar Zalmi. After taking the match to the last ball, Quetta won the match by one run and was the first team to qualify for Final match of the inaugural season. Quetta had match-winning overseas players like Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara, Grant Elliot, Muhammad Nabi, and Luke Wright. In the final match of the inaugural season, Quetta were the favourites against the underdogs ISLU. By batting first Safy boys set the target of 174 with the help of unbeaten 64 by Ahmad Shahzad and 55 by Sangakkara. But by match-winning knocks by Dwayne Smith and Bradd Haddin of ISLU, Gladiators couldn’t defend the total and ISLU boys lifted the trophy. Ahmad Shahzad was their leading run-scorer and Muhammad Nawaz was leading wicket-taker.
In the second season, Quetta set loose Sangakkara and Grant Elliot which were taken by Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars respectively. Many players couldn’t join them due to injuries, or non-issuance of NOC’s, or clashes with schedules. Quetta had pretty tough luck in the second season. Just like the previous season, they stood second on the points table after round robin’s stage by winning four out of their eight matches. They faced Peshawar Zalmi in the first playoff. Safy boys posted a heavy target of 200 on board, Zalmis failed to win the match, despite requiring only 7 runs from the final over. Quetta once again won the first playoff and again was the first team to qualify for final match that was to be played in Lahore, Pakistan.
Now, this is where the real problem began for Gladiators. One of the most successful teams of PSL had qualified for final and got the chance to play in front of their people in their country. But due to security and personal reasons the star overseas players of Quetta refused to play in Pakistan. The team without their hard-hitting batsmen like KP, Luke Wright, Rilee Rossouw. Unfortunately, the team landed in Pakistan without their star players. In the final match, they failed to achieve the total of 148 and once again Quetta Gladiators lost the chance to become the champions.
For the third season, Quetta is poised to get the top spot on the podium. Quetta didn’t miss the chance to get Shane Watson in their squad along with Carlos Brathwaite. Rahat Ali has also joined the Gladiators squad. Not to miss the much-anticipated leggie, Rashid Khan from Afghanistan is also in Safy’s team and has agreed to play in Pakistan as well. The only player that has refused to play in Pakistan is Kevin Pieterson.
Well, Quetta seemed to be all set to sail through the final victorious and we wish them all the good wishes. May the best team wins!
For season three, their squad looks like this:
Batsmen: Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Rossouw, Asad Shafiq, Saad Ali, Rameez Raja, Jason Roy, Saud Shakeel
All-rounders: Umar Amin, Mohammad Nawaz, Jofra Archer (replaced Carlos Brathwaite), John Hastings (replaced Mahmudullah), Shane Watson, Anwar Ali
Wicket-keepers: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Azam Khan
Bowlers: Hasan Khan, Mir Hamza, Rashid Khan, Rahat Ali, Faraz Ahmed
Player Covers: John Hastings (replaced Albie Morkel who was a cover for Jason Roy), Chris Green (cover for Rashid Khan), Ben Laughlin (cover for Jofra Archer)
Find Complete Schedule of Pakistan Super League’s third edition: Click Here