Islamabad United. (Photo Source: Twitter)

A lot was expected of Islamabad United, the 2016 and 2018 winners of the PSL, in their first match against defending champions Quetta Gladiators. Shadab Khan and Co got their opponent by the scruff of their neck, but couldn’t hold on, losing by three wickets. Their next game is against the Shan Masood-led Multan Sultans at the Gaddafi Stadium in the second of Saturday’s doubleheader.

The Sultans haven’t won a whole lot in the PSL, but turned over the United both times in the previous edition. But this time around, they have started the T20 tournament on a grand note. They beat the Lahore Qalandars by five wickets in Lahore itself. After giving 59 runs in the powerplay, they restricted the opposition to 138. The batters didn’t have much trouble in the chasing the target.

Pitch and Conditions

The pitch in Lahore turned out to be a pretty easy going one. Stroke-play wasn’t all that difficult by any means. In both the night games thus far, the chasing teams got the advantage and hence, batting second should be the way forward. There are no chances of rain with the temperature around the 18 degrees Celsius mark. The humidity will mostly be in the high 50s and 60s.

Team Combination

Islamabad United

The United scored 168 the other night, but it was mostly owing to Dawid Malan’s 40-ball 64. They aren’t devoid of batting depth and need someone to take responsibility and play until the end. Luke Ronchi carried on from where he left last time and scored a quick-fire 23 off 13 to lay the platform.

Colin Munro couldn’t open his account. Asif Ali and Ashraf got cameos, but couldn’t kick on. Faheem was pretty frugal with the ball, picking half-centurion Azam Khan’s wicket. Muhammad Musa also promised with his pace. Shadab and Amad need to find momentum after going in excess of 12 rpo.

Probable XI

Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi (wk), Dawid Malan, Hussain Talat, Colin Ingram, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan (C), Faheem Ashraf, Amad Butt, Muhammad Musa, Akif Javed

Multan Sultans

The Sultans bowling are in pretty decent form. Imran Tahir, Moeen Ali and Mohammad Ilyas finished with a couple of wickets each. It was Moeen, who picked by Fakhar Zaman’s wicket and gave Sultans the opening in the game. Tanvir and Afridi didn’t get a wicket, but had economy of around six.

Mots of their batters are in good touch. Skipper Masood got 38 at a strike-rate of 131.03. James Vince scored 18, striking at 200. The reliable Rilee Rossouw didn’t allow the pressure to build in the middle with a 28-ball 32. Afridi’s 12-ball blitz in the death gave Sultans a win with 23 balls to spare.

Probable XI

Shan Masood (C), James Vince, Rilee Rossouw, Khushdil Shah, Moeen Ali, Shahid Afridi, Zeeshan Ashraf (wk), Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Ilyas, Imran Tahir, Mohammad Irfan

Probable Top Performers

Colin Munro– Islamabad United |  Rilee Rossouw– Multan Sultans

Broadcast Details

TV: D Sport

Live Streaming – Cricket GateWay

Match Timings – 19:30 IST; 19:00 local; 14:00 GMT

The prediction is for Islamabad United to win the match.