After three long months, we’re finally back with Pakistan Super League, and the first match upon restarting will see Islamabad United taking on Lahore Qalandars. Although Islamabad United were able to beat the Quetta Gladiators all that time ago, they will now have to adapt to the reshuffled team as well as the new conditions. Level on points with Lahore Qalandars - their next opponents - the two-time champions will find confidence in the fact that they won all 5 of the last 5 encounters between the teams. In the other camp, the Qalandars have bounced back from a defeat to be tied for first place once again. With the Peshawar Zalmi losing against the Karachi Kings, it’s a dead heat at the top with net run rate being the only divisive factor. However, both these teams have a game in hand over the two above them, and either would be thrilled to take the uncontested lead with a win. Before the two teams duke it out on the field, let’s see how they measure up on paper.
Predicted XI vs Lahore Qalandars
Shadab Khan (c), Usman Khawaja, Rohail Nazir (wk), Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Colin Munro, Mohammad Wasim, Muhammad Musa.
Preview and form
It’s not easy to lose important players from your squad in the middle of the season, and United will have to hope their new recruits measure up to their old ones. In their last match, they bowled first against the Gladiators. Faheem Ashraf had an incredible performance that saw him take 3 wickets in 4 overs while conceding just 11 runs, and Hasan Ali supported him well with 2 for 23 off his own 4 to tie the Gladiators down to a subpar (on that pitch) 156. Despite lacking firepower, United had everything they needed. Paul Stirling’s 56 off 33, Rohail Nazir’s 34 off 28, and quick cameos by Alex Hales Shadab Khan were enough to see them win by 6 wickets with 3 overs to spare.
Islamabad United key players vs Lahore Qalandars
Usman Khawaja: The Aussie with Pakistani roots has already stated that he is looking to impress at the PSL. We think he will.
Rohail Nazir: Rohail showed that he’s got what it takes to be IU’s regular keeper, and this will be his chance to seal that opportunity.
Faheem Ashraf: Faheem has plenty of talent, and he showed just one glimpse of it in the last match.
Hasan Ali: Faheem may have overshadowed him in one game, but Hasan has been consistently good this season.
Predicted XI vs Islamabad United
Sohail Akhtar (c), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Callum Ferguson, Ben Dunk (wk), James Faulkner, Haris Rauf, Zeeshan Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Maaz Khan, Tim David.
Preview and form
The bad news for the Qalandars is that not only do they have the worst net run rate out of the four teams that currently have 6 points, but Shakib Al Hasan, who was supposed to play for them, will now have to be replaced on short notice. In their last match, they bowled first against the Karachi Kings in a long-awaited grudge match of sorts. Shaheen Shah Afridi starred with 3 wickets to his name, with four others taking a wicket each. With the aid of two well-timed run outs, they were able to prevent their opponents from making more than 186. Although they lost two wickets in the very first over of the chase without the scores even being disturbed, Fakhar Zaman took the reins and lashed away at the bowlers, scoring a brilliant 83 from 54. This was accompanied by Ben Dunk’s steady 57 off 43, and the icing on the cake was laid by David Wiese with a brutal 31 off just 9. With 4 balls to go, the Qalandars won by 6 wickets.
Lahore Qalandars key players vs Islamabad United
Mohammad Hafeez: The Professor may have missed out on a big knock in the last match, but he doesn’t stay behind for long.
Ben Dunk: Dunk cracked a 50 in the last match after a long time, and he’ll no doubt want to rack up some more.
Shaheen Shah Afridi: The young fast bowler is talented beyond his years.
Haris Rauf: Just as dangerous as his brother in arms, Haris will come in full throttle.
Islamabad United vs Lahore Qalandars pitch report and weather conditions
Time and again, the pitch at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi has proven to be one that provides a balanced competition between bowlers and batters. Expect teams to choose to bowl first, and those batting first to score in the vicinity of 160.
With virtually no chance for precipitation, the main issue with cricket in Abu Dhabi is the temperature. Thankfully, the evening air will be relatively cooler, making it easy for players. Summertime will also bring average humidity and a soft, cool breeze.
Can United come back strong after such a long break? Or will the Qalandars get back to the top of the table with a victory against their bogey team? Find out if our Islamabad United versus Lahore Qalandars predictions come true on Wednesday!
|IU Top Batsman:|
|LQ Top Batsman:|
|IU Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|LQ Top Bowler (Wickets):|
|Players to score a fifty:|
|U Khawaja/R Nazir (IU), M Hafeez/B Dunk (LQ)|