The Pakistan Super League (PSL) season is back from today at the Sheikh Zayed International Stadium in Abu Dhabi, after a morale collapse due to COVID-19 in March.
Fourteen matches were played at the National Stadium in Karachi. The top four teams have won three matches each while Multan Sultans, Quetta Gladiators have won one. Now the responsibility will be to adapt quickly to the circumstances.
Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars will face off at 9 pm. Islamabad is at the third position while Lahore is on the fourth spot due to a slight variation in the net run rate. The winner will go on top with four wins and eight points.
Lahore Qalandars will rely on their promising bowling line-up. Shaheen Afridi, Rashid Khan, Haris Rauf, Dilbar Hossain and Ahmed Daniyal are going to be the strike bowlers while Mohammad Hafeez, Seekuge Prasanna, James Faulkner are supporting the above.
Qalandars’ batting during the Karachi leg was also on show. The highest run-getters for them are Hafeez and Fakhar Zaman, with over 180 runs each.
Australia’s Ben Dunk and Callum Callum Ferguson will bring their heavy T20 experience while Singapore’s Tim David will try to replicate his BBL performances lower down the order.
Islamabad United did a great job in Karachi but they were affected by the absence of their foreign players. Alex Hales and Phil Salt are not part of the squad and have been replaced by Usman Khawaja and Colin Munro, who are potential openers.
United will rely heavily on local stars to do well. The Roti gang of Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Asif Ali will live up to United’s hopes while Iftikhar Ahmed, Hussain Talat and Zafar Gohar will once again claim their stake.
The bowling attack for Islamabad United remains unchanged and hence can be seen as an area of strength. Hasan Ali is in the middle of a stellar phase of his career and he is one bowler who deserves attention. Fawad Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim, Muhammad Musa are also in the team, Islamabad United have a lot of options to work with.
The conditions are going to be very hot in Abu Dhabi and the temperature can also reach 40 degree Celsius. With later evening timings, it is hoped that the players will be able to adapt to the tough conditions.
The pitch should be flat and good for batting. The outfield is of a good shape and hence spinners play a big role. A score of around 170 should be seen as batting first.
Islamabad United: Colin Munro, Usman Khawaja, Shadab Khan (c), Hussain Talat, Rohail Nazir (wk), Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Zafar Gohar, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Fawad Ahmed
Sohail Akhtar (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Callum Ferguson, Ben Dunk (wk), Tim David, Shaheen Afridi, Rashid Khan, Haris Rauf, Dilbar Hossain, Ahmed Daniyal
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