Two teams who lost their previous encounter in the 2021 Pakistan Super League (PSL), the Quetta Gladiators and the Peshawar Zalmi, will attempt to notch up their first win of the Abu Dhabi leg at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on June 12.
With only one win from six games, the Gladiators are staring down the barrel. They had the opportunity to revive their campaign yesterday against Islamabad United, but were skittled for just 133 before Shadab Khan's side coasted home without losing a wicket.
And to make matters worse for the wooden spoon holders, star all-rounder Andre Russell, who was signed in the PSL 2021 replacement draft, was struck on the helmet and taken to the hospital as part of concussion protocol. The Gladiators desperately need an upturn in fortunes, which won't come easy against a resolute Zalmi side.
Although they lost to the Lahore Qalandars by 10 runs in their first game of the PSL 2021 resumption, the Zalmi will take heart from their performances in Karachi. They had three wins from five games when the tournament was suspended, including a three-wicket win over the Gladiators.
Shoaib Malik will want support from the rest of the batting lineup, which is now without two key players in Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Ravi Bopara. The two replacements who were part of the Zalmi playing XI - Rovman Powell and Fabian Allen - bagged ducks, compounding the woes of a team that also saw important batsmen in Haider Ali, Kamran Akmal and David Miller fail.
Both the Quetta Gladiators and the Peshawar Zalmi desperately need a win, and they will go all out in Match 19 of PSL 2021.
PSL 2021: QUE vs PES Match Prediction
Things don't look too good for the Quetta Gladiators. Russell being stretchered off has put a massive dent in their hopes of a PSL 2021 revival, with them managing a distinctly sub-par total against Islamabad United.
Usman Khan, who sizzled with an 81 in the last match of the Karachi leg, labored to 14 off 19 balls, while his opening partner Faf du Plessis got one that kept annoyingly low. Jake Weatherald top-scored with 43 as he tried to drag the Gladiators to a competitive total, and young hitter Azam Khan hung in there for 26.
But none of the batsmen strung together partnerships, with all five Islamabad bowlers picking up at least one wicket. And the Gladiators bowling attack was completely toothless as openers Usman Khawaja and Colin Munro put on the fastest century stand in PSL history.
Things are relatively more straightforward for the Peshawar Zalmi, who have a decent bowling attack that did well against the Qalandars barring three expensive overs from Allen. With captain Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan and Umaid Asif handling pace duties, the spin department might be the only area that is yet to click in PSL 2021.
The Zalmi need support for Shoaib Malik, and it might just be a case of the batsmen getting to spend time in the middle. We've already seen several instances of batsmen scoring big runs in their second game of PSL 2021 - Tim David, Ben Dunk, Khawaja and Munro, to name a few - after using the first as a feel-out.
The toss will play a major role in this PSL 2021 game, although it initially appeared like teams batting second didn't have a significant advantage. Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed mentioned this after the previous match, and the chasing team could benefit from the dew on offer in Abu Dhabi apart from the knowledge of how to go about their chase.
On paper, the Peshawar Zalmi seem like the favorites. The Gladiators won't be too fresh after taking to the field just yesterday and are expected to be without Russell as well. Riaz's men can be backed to notch up their first win of the PSL 2021 Abu Dhabi leg. But as we've already seen in this unpredictable tournament, things could go either way.
Prediction: Peshawar Zalmi to win