CricViz Analyst Freddie Wilde reviews Quetta Gladiators’ 2020 Pakistan Super League campaign.
SEASON OVERVIEW: VERY POOR SEASON
This was a very poor campaign from the defending champions Quetta Gladiators who finished fifth and were the first team unable to qualify for the Play Offs. After a bright start – winning three of their first four matches – Quetta only won one of their last six as their season spiralled. The fact that they finished with the lowest Net Run Rate but some way is reflective of a really disappointing season.
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WHAT WENT WELL?
Luck at the toss
Quetta only won 44% of their tosses – equal with Multan and Peshawar. However, on two occasions they lost the toss and were asking to chase and ultimately ended up chasing in seven of their nine matches. Chasing has historically been a big advantage in the PSL: 63% of all matches in the league have been won by chasing side – the biggest proportion in any major T20 league.
Quetta were one of the standout Powerplay bowling teams this season. They returned an economy rate and strike rate better than the league average in the phase.
Death overs bowling
Quetta were also pretty good in the death overs as well. Their economy rate of 9.94 was fractionally better than the league average and their strike rate of 9.6 was superb. Although wickets are less valuable at that stage of the innings they are still an effective way to slow the scoring, particularly when they are taken at that rate.
Pace bowling (Naseem Shah & Tymal Mills)
Quetta’s strength in the Powerplay and at the death was thanks to the brilliance of their pace bowling. Their pace bowling average of 24.60 was the second best in the league, only behind table-toppers Multan Sultans.
Quetta’s strong pace bowling attack was led by Naseem Shah and Tymal Mills – who were both excellent. Ben Cutting and to a lesser extent Mohammad Hasnain were expensive, but provided regular breakthroughs.
Shane Watson & Ben Cutting’s batting
Quetta Gladiators had two standout batsmen this season: the overseas duo of Shane Watson and Ben Cutting. They were the only two Quetta batsmen to perform well above average in either True Run Rate or True Dismissal Rate.
CRICVIZ PROFESSIONAL ANALYSIS
WHAT WENT WRONG?
Losing Umar Akmal
Quetta’s campaign was dealt a big blow before they’d even played a match when Umar Akmal was suspended under the anti-corruption code. Although inconsistent, Umar is a rare talent and would have brought explosive power to Quetta’s middle order.
As well as losing Umar on the eve of the season Quetta’s squad was hampered by an injury to two their attack leader Naseem, who only played six of Quetta’s nine matches.
Weak batting and bowling
Frankly speaking Quetta Gladiators performed badly in batting and bowling. There were a few positives from the campaign but Watson, Cutting, Naseem, Mills and perhaps Hasnain were arguably the only players to emerge from the season with any credit. The rest of the team really struggled and while they may not have finished bottom of the points table there’s a strong case that they were the worst performing team, and this is reflected in their Net Run Rate, which was easily the worst.
Quetta’s struggle in both departments is clearly illustrated their overall statistics: they were the only team to have an economy rate and run rate worse than the league average – and not by a small margin either.
Star players underperforming
Quetta’s most glaring weakness was the fact that five of their first seven picks in the draft made minimal impact on the season. Jason Roy, Sarfraz Ahmed and Mohammad Nawaz – Platinum round picks, Ahmed Shehzad – a Diamond round pick and Fawad Ahmed – a Gold round pick in the draft, all had average to poor seasons. When so many early round pick players struggle it places huge pressure and responsibility on the later round picks to overperform; this didn’t happen and that is reflected in Quetta’s eventual position in the table.
Roy and Shehzad’s struggle
Roy’s average of 33.28 runs per dismissal appears solid. However, his scoring rate of just 7.20 runs per over was only +0.14 runs per over above expectation based on the overs he batted in, which – in a league where the True Run Rate was +0.88 in fact below par for what was a high-scoring season. Quetta needed more from their overseas lynchpin.
Shehzad’s poor season is easier to identify: his average of 8.71 runs per dismissal was woeful. Not only did he not score many runs but he didn’t score quickly either: his run rate of 5.71 runs per over was the worst of any player in the league to face at least 50 balls. It’s interesting to note that Roy and Nawaz also feature in this list.
Roy’s status, not only as a Platinum round pick, but the first pick of the entire draft, meant he was almost a guaranteed starter for Quetta. The good form of Watson and Cutting solidified their positions in the team which left Quetta to choose between one of Mills and Fawad. This batting-heavy overseas balance is typical in the PSL. However, choosing between Mills and Fawad was significantly complicated by the form of related players. Mills was supreme and demanded selection but Nawaz’s poor form left Quetta short in the spin department and saw them turn to Fawad for cover, but Fawad too really struggled. Ultimately backing Mills more regularly was the better option but it took them half a season to realise this, by which point it was too late.
SEASON SUMMARY: LET DOWN BY MARQUEE DOMESTIC PLAYERS
Quetta may not have finished bottom of the table but they were the least deserving team of a spot in the top four. They were heavily reliant on performances from their overseas players to keep them in the hunt while their Pakistani players, particularly those in top tier draft brackets, really struggled for form, leaving the rest of their team exposed.
Freddie Wilde is a senior analyst at CricViz. Follow him on Twitter @fwildecricket