How the mighty have fallen; from one of the most successful teams in the history of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Sarfaraz Ahmed’s Quetta Gladiators now sit at the bottom of the table after losing all their opening games. Last season, they also finished last.
Prior to the PSL 5, Quetta Gladiators had the best win percentage among all the franchises. They have been runner ups on two occasions in 2016 and 2017 while eventually winning the tournament in 2019. Lets’s take a look at where things started to get wrong for them.
In experience pace attack
Quetta’s bowling has been a major area of concern for them in the last two seasons. They haven’t been able to pick up wickets with the new ball as well as stem the flow of runs, which in turn have created pressure on them towards the end of innings.
This season they have failed to defend scores 180 plus in games against Lahore Qalandars and Peshawar Zalmi. Quetta placed their hopes in young pacers Muhammad Hasnain and Naseem Shah. There is no doubt about the talent which they possess but they are still young and once they start going for runs they lose the plot. They bolstered their attack by acquiring the services of Dale Steyn but it hasn’t worked out yet. Steyn has all the experience in the world but doesn’t have the pace of old which makes it easier for the batsmen to pick him up.
The top order hasn’t fired for Quetta Gladiators at all. Chris Gayle who was signed in place of Shane Watson left for international duty after just featuring in two games. In his second game, he was in full flow as he thrashed Lahore Qalandar bowlers to all parts of ground.
Saim Ayub, who was picked up in the emerging category hasn’t offered anything so far. Faf du Plessis signed in as Gayle’s replacement also has under performed so far. The middle order has largely been the one to bail them out. Yesterday against Islamabad United, they were reeling at 41 for 4 and it was Sarfaraz’s valiant 54 off 41 that guided them to a respectable total.
We all know Sarfaraz is a fiery character on the field and doesn’t hide his emotions but this time around his body language has been dismal. The whole world saw him scolding his bowlers after every time they went for six or four. His attitude has created more pressure on the bowling attack which has further effected their bowling performances.
Sarfaraz usual mantra of success has been to attack with spinners. That plan worked really well for him in the first four editions of the PSL where the pitches are slow and low. In Pakistan, his spinners haven’t been able to exert the same pressure. Also Sarfaraz hasn’t trusted Muhammad Nawaz, who is Quetta’s highest wicket-taker in the PSL history. In the game against Peshawar Zalmi, Nawaz didn’t bowl his full quota and went for just 13 in two overs. On the other hand, Usman Shinwari, Muhammad Hasnain and Dale Steyn gave away over 11 runs per over. Had he trusted his left-arm spinner, the result might have been different.