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Can Quetta Gladiators turn the tables?

Not every cricket fan expected the PSL 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators to be so clueless in PSL 6. Despite having some of the big names in the team, the purple army stood at the bottom of the points table and made an embarrassing streak of losing matches on the trout.

The Gladiators had their most heartbreaking defeat against their arch-rivals Peshawar Zalmi. Quetta set up a mammoth target of 199 courtesy Sarfaraz Ahmed’s blistering 81 runs innings. However, all hopes for Quetta were dashed when from nowhere Sherfane Rutherford and Wahab Riaz’s blitz snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

The former champions had a sigh of relief in their last match of Karachi leg when they defeated Multan Sultans convincingly.

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The men in purple are set to face the tough challenge of breaking into the top four in the upcoming Abu Dhabi leg. Hence, a never say die attitude is the need of the hour for the Gladiators for which their captain Sarfaraz Ahmad is the perfect person to inject. The wicket-keeper batsman has scored 185 runs in the Karachi leg at an impressive strike rate of 146.83. Therefore, he will be a crucial player for the Gladiators at the number four spot.

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Mohammad Nawaz is another player who can shine on spin-friendly Abu Dhabi pitches, given that he had been brilliant with the ball in the past in UAE. While Zahid Mehmood will be the other threatening spinner for the opposition.

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Mohammad Hasnain with his furious pace will spearhead the fast bowling battery. While, Azam Khan can be destructive with the bat with his clean hitting ability at the number 5 spot, who will try to grab this opportunity with both hands to break into the national squad.

Quetta Gladiators will be satisfied with their overseas picks. With South African legend Faf Du Plessis in the squad, the top order looks a threatening one for any opposition. The 36-year old was in top form in the now-suspended IPL. The swashbuckling batsman piled up 320 runs in just seven matches and was the third-highest run-getter in the league. If he could continue his stunning IPL form in PSL too then it would change Quetta’s fortunes.

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The powerful West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell will also be representing the purple army. With his well-known match-winning capabilities, it won’t be a surprise to see him turning games around in Quetta’s favour all on his own.

Australian all-rounder Jack Wildermuth can prove to be a smart choice for the Gladiators. The 27-year old is capable of batting in the top six and bowling first or second change. While the seasoned Cameron Delport and inclusion of Aussie batsman Jack Weatherald, who accumulated 1668 runs in his T20 career, can strengthen the middle order. Moreover, the talented Afghan spinner Zahir Khan will also be available for Quetta.

Quetta Gladiators are also keen to unleash their impressive local talent. The pace ace Naseem Shah and Usman Shinwari, form the part of Quetta’s potent pace-attack. Meanwhile, Khurram Shahzad with his consistent line and length can be an exciting inclusion in the playing eleven.

The former champions possess an extremely talented and emerging spin attack. Having the likes of Aarish Ali Khan, Hassan Khan and Abdul Nasir is a blessing for Quetta on UAE pitches.

Furthermore, Usman Khan who amazed everyone with his 81 runs on his PSL debut in the game against Multan Sultans, will be raring to catch everyone’s attention in Abu Dhabi’s leg. Having played plenty of club matches in UAE, Usman Khan can use this experience to further showcase his potential.

The 19-year old opener Saim Ayub will be the one to watch out for. Although, he had a poor Karachi leg but he had shown glimpses of his talent with his beautiful strokeplay. The youngster will be keen to make a mark with the bat this time.

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Quetta Gladiators will miss the services of Chris Gayle, Tom Banton, Dale Steyn, Qais Ahmed and Ben Cutting.

The former champions will be hoping to start fresh in the upcoming Abu Dhabi leg. However, they need to go with a consistent batting order after proper homework, then only things will change for Quetta.

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