Ahead of PSL 2020, here’s the Quetta Gladiators team preview, as we break down how the defending champions are shaping up ahead of the tournament.
Quetta Gladiators have, along with Peshawar Zalmi, been one of the most consistents team in the Pakistan Super League across its four seasons. Having made the final only to finish on the wrong side of the result in the final in the inaugural two editions, Quetta Gladiators finally lifted the title in 2019 under the leadership of former national team captain Sarfaraz Ahmed, with an eight-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi in the final confirming the triumph.
Sarfaraz has since relinquished the Pakistan captaincy, but he remains in charge of Quetta Gladiators. How far can he take the defending champions and three-time finalists?
How will Quetta Gladiators fare in PSL 2020? Here’s Wisden‘s season preview and prediction.
PSL 2020 Quetta Gladiators team preview
Quetta Gladiators boast some of the most successful players in PSL history. Shane Watson, Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal have been three of the most dominant batsmen in the tournament, while Sarfaraz, with 26 wins, is its most successful captain.
Chasing was Quetta Gladiators’ primary strength in 2019, as they steamrolled past the opposition seven out of nine times while batting second. There were outliers, as in the Qualifier, where they racked up 186, before keeping Peshawar Zalmi down to 176-7 to book their berth in the final. But their march to the title saw them chase once again, as they scaled down a 139-run target with eight wickets and 13 balls to spare.
Watson was the driving force of Quetta Gladiators last season, blasting 430 runs to top the season charts, as the eventual champions finished on par with table-toppers Peshawar Zalmi, with 14 points, at the end of the league stage. Watson’s season comprised four half-centuries, including a 43-ball 71 in the Qualifier that booked the final spot. Watson’s dominance was complemented brilliantly by Shehzad and Rilee Rossouw with the bat, and Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Nawaz excelled with the ball.
Quetta Gladiators’ line-up received a major boost this year, as they snapped up England opener Jason Roy, a key part of last year’s World Cup-winning side. Unsurprisingly, he was the first pick at the draft, going to the defending champions in the Platinum category. Sussex and England fast bowler Tymal Mills was also a welcome addition, although Quetta Gladiators will miss Tanvir and Rossouw, who have both jumped over to Multan Sultans.
Quetta Gladiators squad list for PSL 2020
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Ahsan Ali, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Umar Akmal, Abdul Nasir, Sohail Khan, Khurram Manzoor, Aarish Ali, Azam Khan, Ben Cutting, Jason Roy, Fawad Ahmed, Tymal Mills, Shane Watson, Keemo Paul.
Quetta Gladiators: Key players
Jason Roy: The South African-born England bruiser is still a relatively new commodity at the PSL, having played just two innings, but his arrival in Quetta Gladiators’ set-up, on the back of his imperious World Cup campaign, should sound out an alert to all other teams. Roy can change the course of the game in a matter of balls, and with Watson having already established his position at the top of the order, a potential partnership with Roy could spell doom for bowling attacks across the tournament.
Mohammad Nawaz: The slow left-armer is the most successful spinner in PSL history. Having announced his arrival with 4-13 on debut in 2016, Nawaz has since established himself as a vital member of the Gladiators bowling attack. His 13 wickets at 26.92 in 2019 were essential to Quetta Gladiators lifting their maiden title.
Quetta Gladiators PSL 2020 prediction
Third place: Though Quetta Gladiators have a strong batting line-up, their bowling lacks the same teeth, a problem made worse by Tanvir’s departure. Quetta Gladiators were quite brilliant batting second in the previous season, but lacked the same efficiency while defending totals. Over-reliance on some players and preference for certain favourable situations could cost them this time around.