Peshawar Zalmi take on Quetta Gladiators in the first qualifying final of the ongoing Pakistan Super League season in Sharjah on Tuesday. With the winner of today's match guaranteed a spot in the final, to be played on 5 March, both teams will not want to let go off an easy passage to the title match.
The two teams, who have finished at the top two spots of the table for the second consecutive season, have had completely contrasting last weeks in the group stages. While Peshawar garnered the momentum by winning their two league matches, including the one against Quetta on Saturday, Sarfraz Ahmed's men, who were well placed to finish as table-toppers, slipped to the second spot after losing their last two games.
Asad Shafiq's dip in form at the top of the order has hurt Quetta in their defeats to Islamabad United and Peshawar. Despite Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Rossouw and Ahmed Shehzad getting the runs, skipper Sarfraz has not been able to contribute much in the middle order and the team will want him to come good today.
England import Tymal Mills, who has conceded just 6.25 runs an over, will the danger man for Peshawar today. Also, Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah Riyad has been providing the team with crucial strikes since joining the team mid-way through the season.
Peshawar, on the other hand, have been benefited by Shahid Afridi, who has hit peak form at the business end of the tournament. They are among the strongest sides on paper in the ongoing season with the presence of world-class all-rounders Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, Shakib Al Hasan and Afridi in the starting XI.
Sammy's men, who start as favourites, will want to make use of the momentum and avenge their defeat to Quetta in last season's first qualifying final.
Pakistan: Ten Sports, PTV, Geo Super
Sri Lanka: Ten Sports, CSN
UK: Prime TV
West Indies: Flow TV
Bangladesh: Gazi TV
UAE: OSN Sports
Possible XI: Iqbal, K Akmal (wk), Hafeez, Samuels, Maqsood, Shakib, Sammy (c), Afridi, Riaz, Ali, Junaid
Possible XI: Shafiq, Shehzad, Pietersen, Rossouw, Sarfraz (c & wk), Mahmudullah, Ali, Nawaz, Hasan, Mir, Mills