The Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 journey has been a turbulent one for defending champions Lahore Qalandars, who find themselves in a precarious position after six winless matches.

Despite the home advantage at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, the Qalandars have failed to showcase their championship form, leaving fans and analysts puzzled about their underwhelming performance this season.

Let’s dive into the reasons for their lacklustre showing in the season.

Bowling Strength Turned Into Weakness

Renowned for their formidable bowling attack in previous editions, Lahore’s bowlers have faltered to replicate their past success in PSL 9.

Last season, they had a strong bowling line-up featuring Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan, Rashid Khan, David Weise and Sikandar Raza.

However, this season despite boasting talents like Shaheen Afridi, Zaman Khan and Haris Rauf, Lahore’s bowling unit has failed to make a significant impact.

Source: PCB

Raza is still with the side but the captain did not use him at his best. David Weise is injured while Rauf also got injured mid-way.

Shaheen Afridi has picked 9 wickets in six matches, but his partners failed to leave a lasting impression as Zaman Khan claimed six wickets and Rauf managed two.

Rashid Khan Effect

Talking about the bowling, Rashid Khan was the major factor in Lahore Qalandars’ triumphs in the last two seasons.

Over the last two editions, the 25-year-old took 31 wickets in 19 matches at an economy rate of 5.46 and 6.53 in PSL 7 and 8 respectively. But he could not participate this season as he is currently recovering from an injury.

Source: Social Media

His absence has been deeply felt by Lahore Qalandars as they are down and out in middle overs. Rashid’s exceptional bowling prowess in the middle overs has been a game-changer for Lahore in previous seasons, with his ability to take wickets and maintain a tight economy rate.

Along with his bowling prowess, Khan was also a handy batter down the order with an ability to hit big when required as well as a live-wire in the field.

Shuffling in Batting Order

The only positive thing for Lahore Qalandars in PSL 9 is the performance of top-order batters Sahibzada Farhan and Rassie van der Dussen.

However, despite consistent performances from the top two batters, the middle order has been a revolving door of players, with no fixed combination yielding results.

Abdullah Shafique was a mainstay of Lahore Qalandars in the last season, but he was dropped only after two games this season.

Source: PCB

Sikandar Raza, who came off a brilliant season in ILT20, has not been given a proper role and was sent on different numbers in e match.

Meanwhile, opening batter Fakhar Zaman’s below-par form has also been a headache for the Qalandars’ management.

The constant tinkering with the lineup reflects the team’s struggle to find the right balance and synergy in their batting unit.

Blunders in Captaincy

Shaheen Afridi’s leadership woes have also emerged as a significant concern for Lahore Qalandars in the ongoing PSL 9 season.

Afridi’s decision-making on the field has left much to be desired, with questionable bowling changes and frequent shuffling of the batting order becoming evident patterns.

Zaman Khan, known for his effectiveness in the death overs, has been deployed with the new ball, leading to subpar performances and strategic missteps.

Source: PCB

In a critical match against Karachi Kings, key players like Sikandar Raza remained unused in the bowling department, while Ahsan Hafeez was entrusted with the final over, resulting in Lahore’s narrow defeat.

The mismanagement of resources and batting positions, notably Carlos Brathwaite and Sikandar Raza, further highlights the tactical blunders in Afridi’s captaincy.

Despite his talent and potential, Afridi’s struggles to assert authority and make impactful decisions on the field have raised concerns among fans and analysts alike.

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