After a demoralizing postponement due to COVID-19 in March, the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season is back from today at the Sheikh Zayed International Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Fourteen matches were played at the National Stadium in Karachi. The four top teams have all won three matches each while Multan Sultans, Quetta Gladiators have bagged one. The onus is now going to be on adapting quickly to the conditions.
Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars will go head to head at 9.00 PM. Islamabad are at the third position while Lahore are a position lower at fourth due to a slight different in the net run rate. The winner will go at the top with four wins and eight points.
Lahore Qalandars will look to bank on their promising bowling line-up. Shaheen Afridi, Rashid Khan, Haris Rauf, Dilbar Hussain, and Ahmed Daniyal are going to be the strike bowlers while Mohammad Hafeez, Seekuge Prasanna, James Faulkner supporting the above-mentioned.
Qalandars batting were also on the show during Karachi leg. The highest run-getters for them are Hafeez and Fakhar Zaman with more than 180 runs each.
Australia’s duo of Ben Dunk and Calum Callum Ferguson will bring their heavy T20 experience while Singapore’s Tim David will look to replicate his BBL’s performance lower down the order.
Islamabad United played impressively in Karachi but they have been hit by the absence of their overseas players. Alex Hales and Phil Salt are not a part of the squad and they have replaced by Usman Khawaja and Colin Munro, the likely openers.
United will heavily rely on local stars to do well. The roti-gang of Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Asif Ali will look to take United’s hopes while Iftikhar Ahmed, Hussain Talat and Zafar Gohar would once again claim their stake.
The bowling attack for Islamabad United is unchanged and so this can be seen as an area of strength. Hasan Ali is in the middle of a fantastic period of his career and is the bowler to watch out for. With Fawad Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim, Muhammad Musa also in the squad, Islamabad United has a lot of options to work with.
The conditions in Abu Dhabi are going to be very hot and temperatures can hit 40 degrees celsius as well. With start times later in the evening, it is hoped that the players are going to be able to adapt to the tough conditions.
The pitch must be flat and good for batting. The outfield is of a decent size and so the spinners play a big role. A score of around 170 should be seen as par 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 Jnr, Fawad Ahmed
Sohail Akhtar (C), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Callum Ferguson, Ben Dunk (WK), Tim David, Shaheen Afridi, Rashid Khan, Haris Rauf, Dilbar Hussain, Ahmed Daniyal