Brendon McCullum, the Lahore Qalandars captain, has question the execution of his bowlers, and has offered to "offload" his captaincy in a bid to change the fortunes of the side, which has lost all six of its games this season. Effectively, Thursday night's six-wicket defeat to Islamabad United was Lahore's eighth straight loss going back to the end of last season. One of the most popular sides in the PSL is set to finish last for the third consecutive season.
Lahore have played six different starting XIs this season, with their changes having no effect on their results. The biggest chance they have had was against Islamabad, when they had 163 - their biggest total so far - to defend but ended up losing with 14 balls to spare. With four games remaining Lahore aren't mathematically out of contention for a spot in the playoffs but their chances are bleak.
"Ultimately as captain you're responsible for the performances. I feel like I've done the same things that I do in any team that I've led, but unfortunately that hasn't resonated," McCullum said. "So that's the question we've got to ask tonight as well - whether it's better offloading it to someone else and seeing if we can get better results. Doesn't matter if you're saying the right things, but if they're not hitting home or the instructions aren't being followed, then you're always going to be pushing it uphill."
Lahore's batting pattern has been similar throughout, with the openers making solid starts, the middle order collapsing, and the bowlers looking flat. They dropped Umar Akmal, one of their platinum picks, after five successive failures, allowing Anton Devcich to make his PSL debut. He smacked 62 off 42 balls to set up a fighting total. But Islamabad chased it down easily with the help of a 41-ball 77 from Luke Ronchi and Shadab Khan's 32 off 24. When asked if Lahore's total was 20 runs short, McCullum shot down the idea, ruing his bowlers' performance instead.
"No, not really. We bowled very poorly," he said. "I thought it was a very, very good batting performance, set up by Anton Devcich in his first game, and [he] showed how hungry, competitive people are able to prosper. What we did after that, I was really disappointed with, to be honest. It's not what we're about and I don't mind losing, but you expect to be hard to beat. We've got some questions to ask tonight and that's all the way through."
He was particularly unimpressed with the lines they bowled to Ronchi, which he said had deviated from the tactics they had discussed before the match.
"You can sit in bowling meetings all you want. You spend an hour today talking about bowling away from Luke Ronchi and then you proceed to run in and bowl at him every single ball, so there's a disconnect there," he said. "I don't know what that is. It's very hard on the support staff to prepare a team if guys aren't prepared to listen, but if that's the case, then we're going to have to keep making changes, because there are young, enthusiastic guys in our team, which may be an opportunity, especially now since we're out of the competition."