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PSL 2019 playoffs: the qualification scenarios
PSL 2019

PSL 2019 playoffs: the qualification scenarios

As the 2019 edition of the Pakistan Super League moves to Karachi after 24 games in the United Arab Emirates, there are still two spots left for the season's playoffs. Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi have already qualified while the bottom-dwellers Multan Sultans are out of the tournament. Here is a recap of where all the teams stand at the moment and what they need to do in the next few days.

Quetta Gladiators (Q)

With seven wins in nine games, Quetta Gladiators are currently leading the points table and a top-two finish is already sealed. Their next game is against Karachi Kings on March 10. A win will confirm their place as the table-toppers. On the other hand, if they lose to Karachi, Peshawar Zalmi can leapfrog them on a better net run-rate if they win their last league game - also against Karachi.

Peshawar Zalmi (Q)

With 12 points in nine games, Peshawar Zalmi sit on the second spot in the points table. They play their last game against Karachi Kings on March 11. If Karachi beat Quetta a day earlier, Peshawar will have a chance of topping the charts with a win against Karachi, courtesy a better NRR as compared to Quetta. But a loss against Karachi could possibly mean a finish outside top two.

On the other hand, if Quetta beat Karachi on March 10, the status quo will remain and Quetta and Peshawar will finish first and second respectively.

 Peshawar's pace battery has been up to the mark ©PCB

Peshawar's pace battery has been up to the mark ©PCB

Islamabad United

Islamabad United have only one straightforward option: win their game against Lahore Qalandars on March 9. With only four wins in nine games, United are currently third in the points table. A win against Qalandars will seal their playoffs spot. But if they lose to Qalandars, they will be reliant on the results of Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars' remaining games. Karachi - tied with United on eight points but one more game in hand - will face Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi. If they win both their games and Lahore beat Multan Sultans in their last game, United will crash out.

On the other hand, if Karachi lose both their games or Lahore Qalandars lose against Multan Sultans (and go below United's NRR), Islamabad would qualify.

Karachi Kings

Karachi Kings will have the advantage of playing at least two games in front of their home fans. But thse two league games are against arguably the two strongest teams this season: Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi. While both Quetta and Peshawar have already qualified for playoffs, they would still want a win to consolidate their positions. A Quetta win will seal a top-spot finish while Zalmi could go top if Karachi defeat Quetta but lose to them.

For Kings, the equation should be simple: win at least one of their remaining two games. With eight points in eight games, they currently sit at the fourth spot. If Islamabad win against Lahore, they will qualify for the playoffs (10 points). Similarly, Lahore Qalandars, who are currently fifth on the points table with just three wins in eight games, can leapfrog United with a win against them and Multan Sultans. In both scenarios, Karachi will need just one,

On the other hand, if Karachi lose both their games, they still stand a chance of qualifying depending on the result of Lahore and Multan Sultans.

 Karachi will rely heavily on Babar Azam ©PCB

Karachi will rely heavily on Babar Azam ©PCB

Lahore Qalandars

Lahore Qalandars once again find themselves in an unwanted territory with only three wins in eight games. Marred by injuries to their marquee players including AB de Villiers and captain Mohammad Hafeez, Qalandars have a mountain to climb. Their two remaining games are against defending champions Islamabad United and Multan Sultans. They need to win both of these to avoid any ifs and buts to qualify. If they lose to United on March 9, they will need to win against Multan Sultans by a decent margin in the last match and hope that Karachi lose both of the remaining games.

On the other hand, if they win against United, they will be tied with them on points but a better NRR could still propel them to the next round if they don't lose against Multan by a hefty margin. And Karachi losing both their remaining games could also help their cause.

Multan Sultans

There is not much left for the Sultans in the current PSL season except for playing their first-ever game in Pakistan. Multan Sultans were the first team to crash out of the year's PSL but they can still impact other teams' qualification to the next round, mainly of Lahore Qalandars. Their only remaining game is scheduled for March 10 and could even lift them from the bottom spot if Lahore also lose against Islamabad United on March 9.