Quetta Gladiators are occupying second place with six points from five matches. Their wins have been against Islamabad United (twice, by three and five wickets respectively) and Karachi Kings (by five wickets), while they have suffered defeats against Peshawar Zalmi (by six wickets) and Multan Sultans (by 30 runs).

After failing to chase the target against Multan Sultan in their last game, the Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed has admitted that they are missing the presence of hard-hitting batsman Umar Akmal.

“We are missing Umar Akmal but the inclusion of Azam Khan has helped us,” Sarfaraz said. “We have a pretty settled side but I still feel we have a little inexperienced though a talented bowling attack as compared to last year. We have a number of options in that department, so it is also a good headache to have.”

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“It is good to have collected three wins from five matches, but the critical and crucial phase for us starts now. We now need to win as many matches at the backend of the league matches as possible to secure a place in the top-four,” he added.

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Head to head, Gladiators lead Qalandars 5-3. The only time Gladiators won both their league fixtures against Qalandars was in 2017; otherwise, the sides have shared spoils. Hence, Sarfaraz is not willing to take their next game against the struggling Qalandars on Tuesday lightly.

“Qalandars is a good side and I will not read too much into their three loses to date,” he said.  “We need to be at the top of our game on Tuesday to overcome them as we have repeatedly seen one over here and there can change a match. That’s the beauty and cruelness of this T20 format.”

“No doubt the majority of the spectators will be behind Qalandars and rightly so because they are the home side. But, we will be playing our first match at the Gaddafi Stadium as reigning champions, so we will also have the crowd support,” he added.