DUBAI: As the third edition of the Pakistan Super League moves from Dubai to Sharjah, with Islamabad United taking on Quetta Gladiators in Wednesday’s encounter, every team has something tangible to take with them – except for Lahore Qalandars.
The Qalandars are the only team that is yet to win a match at PSL 3. This is reminiscent of the first two seasons for the team from Lahore, where they finished bottom of the pile on both occasions, in turn being the only team to miss out on the playoffs both times.
The pile has now become bigger with the addition of Multan Sultans, who have been quickly off the blocks in PSL 3. The Sultans’ addition gives Qalandars some respite, for it means that each team now has to play 10 league games before the playoffs, giving Lahore the time to make a comeback.
But truth be told, the comeback does not look coming. For Lahore’s defeats aren’t a result of lack of good enough personnel – or the absence of the rub of the green – or simply not having a game plan. Their game plan is their problem.
For the inaugural PSL, when the squads were first announced, Qalandars stuffed their squad with power players up top, who back then were spearheaded by Chris Gayle. Out went Gayle after a shambolic first season and in came Brendon McCullum, whose own playing philosophy overlaps with the Qalandars’ – all-out attack.
The outcome wasn’t much different in PSL 2, through a combination of the big names not quite scoring the runs, and the fact that the bowling didn’t quite the pedigree of the batting lineup – not to mention the complete lack of a lower middle order that could finish games for them.
Come PSL 3, the exact same issues persist with Qalandars. They have an explosive top order, that has fired in two of the three matches so far. But there’s nothing in the middle, and the lower-order is nonexistent.
A batting lineup that begins with the likes of Sunil Narine, Brendon McCullum, Fakhar Zaman, and then has Cameron Delport and Umar Akmal – who is yet to come up with any goods at all – will always go berserk up front, but might struggle as it goes down – which is precisely what has been happening to Lahore.