Pakistan Super League Final Betting: Zalmi on the Charge

By Ed Hawkins22 March 2018
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Peshawar Zalmi players

It is the group-stage winners against the defending champions. That is the way it should be, of course, but in a tournament which has seen some bizarre upsets and incredible turnarounds there is something reassuring about the long-term formbook holding true.

The bookmakers, unsurprisingly, cannot split the pair. Ladbrokes and William Hill make United marginal favourites at -125 so Zalmi are pushed out at a best +100. That is the sort of price that interests because Zalmi have hit an incredible run of form just at the right time. They did this last year also.

They have won their last four matches and are bristling with confidence. Two of those they had to win as they were in quarter- and then a semi-final. There may be something to be said for finishing outside the top two, then so momentum is gained with the pressure on.

It seems Zalmi love the heat. They got up to beat Quetta Gladiators by a single run in the first qualifier and then held their nerve after a Karachi Kings charge in the second.

What has really been their secret weapon, however, is an ability to sign players who will travel to Pakistan for the showpiece. Quetta, for example, were ruing the loss of Kevin Pietersen and Shane Watson, who decided not to take part because of security concerns.

Zalmi’s overseas stars have been present and correct. That is crucial as it earns respect from their Pakistan team-mates and they have, in turn, produced excellent performances. Karan Akmal has morphed into a run machine while Wahab Riaz, Umaid Asif and Hasan Ali have taken a whopping 38 wickets between them.

Darren Sammy, the West Indian specialist, is the glue that holds it all together while Chris Jordan and Liam Dawson, English also-rans, are putting their hand up.

United are not a poor team. It would be wrong to say that they are. The problem is they are susceptible to a stinker. They had awful batting displays against Lahore Qalanders – the bottom feeders – and Karachi in their final group match.

One gets the feeling that if Luke Ronchi, their opening blitzer, fails then they could be in trouble. And if Zalmi cramp him for room then they will be halfway there. If we know that, Zalmi should.

Importantly, Zalmi were one of the teams to give United a beating in the group. United lost only three times.