Peshawar Zalmi - Quetta Gladiators
Looking to avoid going 0-3 and their first such losing streak to start a PSL season, Quetta Gladiators (QG) take on the 1-1 Peshawar Zalmi (PZ). From the nine prior matches played between these two teams when the Gladiators were always the underdog, the H2H record is 6-3 in favour of Zalmi.
After choosing to bat first and losing three wickets in the first four overs, the result in Zalmi's first match of the season against Lahore was a lacklustre four-wicket defeat. Compare that to batting second in their next match against Multan, where they enjoyed a 57-run opening stand and subsequently cruised home (with six balls to spare) in a chase of 194.
There is little doubt that limiting the loss of early wickets will be a key metric by which Zalmi enjoy success in 2021. Not only do they come into the season as the worst ranked team for wickets lost in PSL5 (6.80) a game, but in their five losses they averaged 2.10 wickets lost in the powerplay overs, that compared to an average of just 0.66 in their four wins.
If losing both matches to open the season was not bad enough for Quetta, a start that finds them bottom of the table with a league worst net run rate of -2.007, but their difficulties have only got harder since, as Chris Gayle - their leading run scorer in the tournament with innings of 39 & 68 - has returned to the Caribbean due to national duties.
But if the Gladiators coaching staff thought their problems only lay on the batsmen's shoulders, they would be very wrong. The bowling department has only taken four wickets across the two games at an average of 76.25 runs per dismissal. When comparing that to the tournament average so far this season of around 28, it highlights how immense their struggles are.
Players to watch: Peshawar's Tom Kohler-Cadmore went from a relative unknown to having his name up in lights with his Player of the Match 53 runs from 32 balls last at bat. Can the young man replicate that feat in back-to-back games? For Quetta, Tom Banton has faced a total of 12 balls in PSL6 for just eight runs. In fact, in his five prior T20 innings heading into the tournament he had not passed ten runs once!
Stat attack: Quetta have a 5-3 W/L record when batting second against Peshawar.
Both teams have positive records when playing at a neutral venue - PZ (29-23) and QG (27-18).
Peshawar have lost six of their last eight fixtures when batting first.
Quetta have scored between 49-59 in five of their last eight powerplays.
The match favourite has won 11 of the 15 completed H2H meetings.