PSL 8: Lahore Qalandars' journey before home

The bowling of Lahore has been great so far in the league, it's the batting which has been somewhat problematic

PSL 8: Lahore Qalandars' journey before home PHOTO: PSL

Lahore Qalandars are the team to which many fans looked forward to seeing in this year’s PSL as they won their first title in 2022 after having heartbreaks in the first 6 editions of the PSL. However, due to various reasons, Lahore’s performance was not great, a mid-table performance but the fans' expectations were greater.

However, this looks like the eve of their rise yet again, as in the last match, Lahore’s skipper Shaheen Afridi looked in-form and bowled his famous searing opening spells. Rashid Khan also just played his first match of the year and bowled brilliantly. After a very underwhelming domestic season and KPL, Zaman Khan also regained his mojo in the PSL.

The bowling of Lahore has been great so far in the league, it's the batting which has been somewhat problematic.

Batting Woes

Some of Lahore’s batting combination was disturbed from last year due to external factors like Harry Brook being unavailable. However, much of the changes have been done by the management of Lahore Qalandars themselves.

Those changes have not been going well for Lahore this year, as they decided to drop Abdullah Shafique from the XI and replaced him with Tahir Baig. This change might have affected the role and form of Fakhar Zaman as well.

Fakhar Zaman’s approach in the power play depends a lot on his partner as well. Last year, Abdullah Shafique was averaging above 30 in the powerplay, so Fakhar Zaman could afford to go all out in the powerplay.

Fakhar Zaman in powerplays in PSL

























2023 (so far)









Tahir Baig is quite young and has looked to take up that explosive role in the first six overs so far in this PSL. Tahir has looked to take advantage of the fielding restrictions as he has scored 88 runs at a strike rate of over 150. Only one local player has a higher strike rate (min.50 runs) and that is Mohammad Haris.

Normally people assume that anchoring is a very easy thing to do in T20s, it might be, but that skill comes from playing longer innings and spending time in the middle. Taking it deep in a T20 has to be done very carefully. Mirza Tahir Baig is just inexperienced for that. He might not have batted a lot outside the powerplay but so far his strike rate outside the powerplay is below 100.

Problems against spinners

Tahir’s inexperience along with the middle order that Lahore have do not work well together due to the lack of spin-hitting prowess in that lineup. One of the issues that could have been predicted with Lahore’s batting pre season was their spin-hitting.

Tahir Baig clearly struggled while batting against spinners but the bigger problem was that there was not anyone on the other side that could score quickly against spinners. Abdullah Shafique is the only player in Lahore Qalandars’ squad that has a strike rate of over 130 against spinners since 2020.

LQ so far have played Shai Hope, Kamran Ghulam and Hussain Talat in the middle order among whom the player with highest strike-rate against spin since 2020 is Hussain Talat (119.4). This is where Lahore Qalandars need to do better with compositing their lineup. Bringing in players like Shawaiz Irfan and Abdullah Shafique could be helpful.

Batting in Death Overs

Batting in middle-overs has never been the strength for Lahore Qalandars. Even when they won the title last year, their strike-rate in middle-overs (124) was second lowest after Quetta Gladiators. This year too it’s the third lowest in the league (127).

The difference is in the batting average which has dropped considerably this year, showing Lahore’s strategy which was to save wickets till the death, last year. However, this year they failed to keep wickets in hand as well. Thus Lahore has struggled to score quickly in the last four overs this year as well.

Phase-Wise Bowling Summary

In the first two matches, Lahore’s bowling spearhead Shaheen Afridi was not very dangerous with the new ball as he failed to get a wicket. Against both Multan and Karachi, Lahore failed to get a wicket in the powerplay.

However, in their last match, Lahore was back to their best in the bowling powerplays, with Shaheen’s inswing yorkers and Zaman Khan’s shaping it away from the right-handers. In the middle overs, Lahore has been very economical and that is also where they tightened it out for Multan Sultans and won the match by just one run.

Going to Lahore, the injury to Liam Dawson might be a concern for Qalandars and it would be interesting to see who Lahore calls in as a replacement. They can play a two-man spin attack in Lahore featuring Sikandar Raza and Rashid Khan though. Sikandar has had a kind of mixed tournament so far even though it might not be a good sample size.

With their great fast bowling attack, Lahore has been the second best death bowling attack so far in the tournament as expected.

What they can do better

The main issue Lahore Qalandars need to solve with their team is their batting order and especially their batting against the slower bowlers. Historically, Lahore has always struggled against spinners. In the PSL matches held in Pakistan, Lahore has the second worst strike-rate against spinners i.e. 120.6. So they haven’t had great spin hitters in their XI in the past too, it might not be how they structure their team. However, still they need to get a little better at least.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Cricket Pakistan.