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PSL 2023: Lahore Qalandars preview and probable lineup for qualifier

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After waiting for six long years, Lahore Qalandars won their maiden Pakistan Super League (PSL) title last year after defeating Multan Sultans in the final at Lahore’s iconic Gaddafi Stadium.

Now, the defending champions are just two steps away from becoming the first-ever side to successfully defend their title throughout PSL history.

Under the command of their new captain Shaheen Shah Afridi, Qalandars look completely different from what they were before the seventh edition of the league.

Under the captaincy of Shaheen, Qalandars’ consistency since last year shows the commitment which the new captain has brought to the team as they remained table toppers in the league stage of this year’s PSL, winning seven out of 10 matches.

PSL 2023: Lahore Qalandars preview and probable lineup for qualifier

The Qalandars have now set their eyes on the qualifier against the Sultans, which is scheduled to be played on March 15 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

Strengths

The Qalandars’ biggest strength is, perhaps, their captain Shaheen. The left-arm pacer has an unending ability to take a wicket in his first over.

Moreover, Qalandars’ overall bowling line-up, which contains the likes of Rashid Khan, Zaman Khan, and Haris Rauf, has not only been recognised as the best bowling line-up of PSL but that of any T20 team in the world.

Qalandars’ three bowlers — Rashid (15), Shaheen (14) and Haris (14) — are currently among the top five highest wicket-takers in the ongoing PSL 8.

On the other hand, opener Fakhar Zaman is the backbone of their batting line. The latter has scored 378 runs in 10 league matches including a maiden PSL century. Fakhar has the ability to provide a quick start to Qalandars against any bowling attack.

Weaknesses

Qalandars are unlucky to have their experienced fast-bowling all-rounder David Wiese out of form this season. The Namibian cricketer has so far failed to impress fans with his match-winning abilities.

Moreover, another fast-bowling all-rounder Hussain Talat is also missing his usual touch. Qalandars lack a finisher, who can also bowl wicket-taking overs, down their batting line-up.

Previous appearance in qualifier

Qalandars played the PSL qualifier only once which was last year against the same team, Sultans.

They lost the qualifier by 28 runs.

Probable lineup

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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Weather in Rawalpindi: PMD prediction for the Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is

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Rain is expected to have an impact on Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s five-match Twenty20 International series.

According to meteorological projections, the city is likely to have thunderstorms and rain starting tomorrow, and the rain is predicted to continue all week.

The series’ final two games are slated to take place in Lahore.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted a “rain-windstorm/thunderstorm with an isolated hailstorm” on April 18 throughout a number of Pakistani regions, including upper/southwest Sindh, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Islamabad, Punjab, and Balochistan.

On April 20, however, precipitation was predicted by the Met Office for KP, the nation’s capital, Punjab, northeastern Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The New Zealand team has already landed in Islamabad for an intriguing five-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, it should be mentioned.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series:

18 April: 1st T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm Pakistan Standard Time)
20 April: 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
21 April: 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
25 April: 4th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)
27 April: 5th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)

Pakistan squad:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, and Zaman Khan
Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, and Mohammad Wasim Jr

New Zealand squad:
Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Zak Foulkes, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), and Ish Sodhi

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PCB acquires a multi-story structure next to Gaddafi Stadium

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The multi-story building is set to undergo renovations and be converted into a seven-star hotel, catering to both local and foreign guests.

With this development, the problem of housing foreign players and visiting teams during the Pakistan Super League (PSL)—who presently have to stay in five-star hotels in the area—will be resolved.

This will also save travel time and get rid of traffic problems while teams are traveling from their hotels to the stadium.

In addition, three significant stadiums, including the Gaddafi Stadium, are being renovated by PCB in preparation for the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy, which will be held in Pakistan.

In an interview with the media during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 final last month, Chairman PCB Mohsin Naqvi acknowledged the necessity of upgrading three main stadiums before moving on to other locations.

“Before the Champions Trophy, our three key venues—Lahore, Karachi, and Rawalpindi—will be refurbished. After these three are completed, we will renovate the remaining venues as well. After they are renovated, our stadiums will be state-of-the-art, according to Chairman PCB.

Later that month, representatives from NESPAK (National Engineering Services of Pakistan) gave the chairman the idea to renovate three significant stadiums.

In addition to highlighting the significance of renovating the hospitality boxes at all three locations, the chairman gave instructions to the officials about his plans to improve the view for the fans from every seat in the stadium, according to a press statement from the PCB.

“The Chairman directed the NESPAK officials to begin stadium work immediately, keeping in mind a tight window of time before hosting the ICC Champions Trophy 2025, as the upgradation plan will be finalized soon.”

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Pakistan

Shan Masood desires test matches between India and Pakistan.

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Due to long-standing political difficulties between the two adjacent countries, Pakistan and India have not played a Test match since 2007–08 and a bilateral series in any format since 2012–13.

However, only international competitions such as the Asia Cup and ICC World Cups brought the bitter adversaries together.

Their most recent match took place in front of an enormous crowd of about 130,000 in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2024, while their T20 World Cup 2022 match was seen by an even larger gathering of about 94,000 people at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

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