Lahore Qalandars will be hoping for a change of fortune when they take on defending champions Quetta Gladiators in the 16th match of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 under Gaddafi Stadium lights on Tuesday.
Aaqib Javed gives explanation for Lahore Qalandars’ dismal start in HBL PSL 5
Qalandars are winless from three matches to date with their six of the remaining seven fixtures now on home turf and in front of their fans. Their only league match outside Lahore will be against Karachi Kings when they will travel to the National Stadium for the 12 March match, which will be their sixth game.
Qalandars’ losing streak had started at the Gaddafi Stadium on 21 February when they lost to Multan Sultans by five wickets, which was followed by a one-wicket loss against Islamabad United two days later at the home of Pakistan cricket. In Rawalpindi on 28 February, they ended up on the losing side when Peshawar Zalmi won a 12-over-a-side fixture by 16 runs.
This has left Qalandars languishing at the bottom of the six-team points table, with their nearest rivals Karachi Kings sitting on four points with two wins. The top four sides after 30 league matches will progress to the three play-offs, followed by the 22 March final which will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium.
Qalandars coach Aaqib Javed, explained the reason behind team’s poor show in the first three games of the season.
“We have lost three games because the other sides were better than us at key moments of those matches. Let’s not forget we lost by one-wicket to Islamabad United and a reduced-overs match against Peshawar Zalmi,” Aaqib said. “We have the experience and class in our ranks, and all we need is one strong performance to turn things around.”
The 47-year-old is still optimistic about Qalandars’ chances and is looking forward to the upcoming matches.
“I think the match against Quetta Gladiators provides us that opportunity to regain the confidence, inject some momentum and put our campaign back on track,” he said. “Irrespective of whether you have won all matches or none, at this level there will always be pressure. The game is all about handling that pressure and performing when the chips are down. The stakes are high and so is the expectation level, so we need to remain positive and don’t forget the basics.”
“I am hoping our top-order will soon start firing so that our bowlers have the runs to defend, it’s as simple as that,” he added.