PAKISTAN SUPER LEAGUE, 2018
Quetta Gladiators are currently the league leaders and will want to finish the league that way © PCB
The third season of the Pakistan Super League has so far been be an organizer’s dream. With six matches remaining in the league stage, no team has yet booked a spot in the Play Offs and there’s everything to play for. While Islamabad United and Quetta Galdiators look certain to qualify, Karachi Kings and Multan Sultan are also not far away. On the other hand, Peshawar Zalmi need other results to come their way if they are to defend their title. As of how things stand, Lahore Qalandars is the only team that is not in contention, but they will look to spoil a party or two before they bow out of the tournament.
Here’s how the teams currently stand…
… and what teams must do to book a spot in the final four:
After winning their last three league games, Quetta have consolidated their position at the top the table with eight points and two matches in hand. A win in one of the matches will make their qualification a certainty. However, if they win both their games, they are assured of a top two finish, enabling them an extra bite at the cherry in the Play Offs.
They can go through even in the worst case of them losing both their remaining matches if either of the following scenarios unfold – (1) Multan lose their last match, (2) Peshawar lose at least one of their remaining games or (3) Karachi lose both theirs.
The only distant possibility of them getting eliminated is if they lose both their games by a wide margin, Peshawar win both theirs by a big margin and both Multan and Karachi beat Islamabad. In that scenario, both Quetta and Peshawar get tied on ten points each and NRR will come into decide who will advance to the next round.
With five wins from seven games including the last four in a row, they sit comfortably in the top half of the table and are the most comfortably placed at the moment with three games to go. Like Quetta, a win is enough for them to go through to Play Offs and two wins will ensure a top two spot. And they have an extra game in hand compared to Quetta. They can go through even in the worst case of them losing both their remaining matches if Peshawar lose at least one of their remaining games.
For them to get eliminated, they must lose all their remaining games by a decent margin and Peshawar win both theirs by handsome margins. In such a case, Islamabad may get pipped on NRR by Peshawar.
After winning their first three games, Karachi lost their way bit towards the middle, but they still have their fate in their own hands with two matches to play. A win is all they need to progress, but if they can come out on top in their last two games, they could finish in the top two. For that to happen, either of Islamabad or Quetta must not win their two remaining matches.
They can go through even if they lose both their matches provided either Multan or Peshawar lose at least one more match. If the former happens, Karachi will be tied on nine points with Multan and NRR will decide who goes through. For them to not qualify, both Multan and Peshawar need to win their remaining games and Karachi should lose both.
Multan are in a spot of bother after losing their last three matches. However, a win in their last league encounter against Islamabad is all they need to go through and a top two spot beckons if other results go their way. That for the moment is a distant possibility. They can go qualify even if they lose to Islamabad provided, Karachi lose both their games and fall behind Multan on NRR or Peshawar lose at least one of theirs.
The defending champions Peshawar are in a do or die state in their last two matches. They are out of the tournament if they lose at least one match but even two wins in two games doesn’t assure them a spot in the final four. If both Multan and Karachi win one more match each, Peshawar will find themselves out of the reckoning come what may.
In the event of Peshawar losing at least one of their last two games, the guaranteed final four will be Quetta, Islamabad, Karachi and Multan with the final standings subject to how other results pan out.
Having lost their first six matches in a row, Lahore was the first team to be eliminated from the tournament. Unless they win their last two matches, they will be the wooden spoon holders for the third successive season in PSL, an ignominy that they would desperately like to avoid.