|Finished.157/4 (17) - 156/7 (20)|
For the 12th match of this year’s PSL, we have a battle between 4th place Islamabad United and bottom feeders Quetta Gladiators. IU were doing very well until their last match, when they performed poorly against the Peshawar Zalmi, who punished them by taking their till-then flawless record away and sending them careening into the lower half of the league. On the other hand, the Gladiators would give anything to switch places with United. Off to an utterly miserable start, QG have lost all 3 of their games so far. In this strange pitch where whoever chases wins, it can be argued that they have just been extremely unlucky with the toss, which they have also lost 3 times in a row. A new day brings a new challenge, and qualification isn’t out of the question yet, so this could very well be their ticket back. Before these two teams get the ball rolling, let’s take a look at how they’ve been doing.
Shadab Khan (c), Alex Hales, Phil Salt (wk), Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Paul Stirling, Mohammad Wasim, Fawad Ahmed.
Preview and form
Considering how well they played in the first two matches, it was shocking to see United falter as badly as they did against the Zalmi. Asked to bat first (as usual), Alex Hales’ 41 off 27 took the team off to a good start, but sadly, it wasn’t followed up or supported, with the only other players to reach double figures being Hussain Talat (22), and Asif Ali (19). Eventually, at the start of the 18th over, IU were bowled out for a terrible 118. A decent bowling performance followed, with Hasan Ali’s 2 for 14 and Mohammad Wasim’s early wicket kindling some hope for Shadab Khan’s men, but it was short lived, and they went on to lose by 6 wickets with 2.5 overs remaining.
Alex Hales: The English import is in rock solid form, and just needs to take his innings to the next level.
Paul Stirling: Replacing Lewis Gregory, Stirling had a poor start but given his experience, he should be able to make up for it.
Faheem Ashraf: Skilful with the ball, Faheem will be important in keeping the opponents’ run rate low.
Hasan Ali: Ali has been in terrific touch as of late, and he’ll be tasked with finding a few victims of his pace.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c/wk), Faf du Plessis, Cameron Delport, Azam Khan, Saim Ayub, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Nawaz, Zahid Mahmood, Usman Shinwari, Mohammad Hasnain, Dale Steyn.
Preview and form
The Gladiators will be praying for a win of the toss, as losing it seems to be a death sentence under the circumstances. In their last match, they were asked to bat first by the Zalmi. With no Chris Gayle, his replacement Faf du Plessis did a decent job getting 37 off 26, as did Azam Khan for his 47 off the same number of balls, but it was Sarfaraz Ahmed’s captain’s knock of a solid 81 that set the stage for QG to post a towering 198. That being said, Quetta’s seemed to run out there. The only economical bowler, Mohammad Nawaz, was inexplicably taken off after just two overs, and although every other bowler managed to pick up a wicket or two in contrast to Nawaz, only Zahid Mahmood could keep his economy rate at a ‘respectable’ 8. Dale Steyn’s two wickets went in vain as the Zalmi won with 3 wickets and 3 deliveries left.
Sarfaraz Ahmed: As hard as he tried, he couldn’t get his team to win. Maybe next time.
Cameron Delport: Both Banton and Delport have failed, but hopefully the latter will get another chance to prove his worth.
Mohammad Hasnain: Hasnain was taken to the cleaners in the last match, but he’s the type to come back strong every time.
Mohammad Nawaz: The all-rounder seems to have potential, and if he doesn’t keep getting taken off of the ball due to some weird mental tic the captain has, he might be able to shine.
Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators weather conditions and pitch report
Although the air will be pretty dry, all other factors should be appropriate for cricket, with cool temperatures, no rain, and a nice breeze blowing.
This bizarre pitch seems to be all about the chase. Although no team has scored 200+ in the first innings yet, that might be the only deterrent to a successful chase at this point, with everything else having been taken down. Fast bowlers and batsmen will both love the pitch, and whoever wins the toss will want to bowl first.
Can United hammer another nail into the Gladiators’ coffin? Or will the latter finally find a win to make the table even more interesting? Find out if our Islamabad United versus Quetta Gladiators predictions come true on Monday!
|IU Top Batsman:|
|QG Top Batsman:|
|IU Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|QG Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|A Hales/P Stirling (IU), C Delport/S Ahmed (QG)|