Islamabad United will open their campaign in the Pakistan Super League 2021 with a tussle against Multan Sultans. Ahead of this season of PSL, Islamabad United added a few quality players, but their strength lies in the host of all-rounders they have in store.
These all-rounders not only provide them with balance but are also incredible hitters of a cricket ball. This allows them to have multiple bowling options and also batters who can score quickly and change the momentum towards them.
Last season they finished last with only three wins in 10 matches. They are the most successful franchise in the league with two titles to their name (2016 and 2018).
Here is the predicted XI for the Islamabad United for ISL vs MUL for PSL 2021:
Openers (Alex Hales and Phillip Salt)
Islamabad United have gotten two really good openers of the T20 format in Philip Salt and Alex Hales. Both are from England, which might actually benefit as they are likely to know each other’s game properly. In addition, the two players were recently in the Big Bash League 2020-21.
Hales ended as the highest run-getter in that tournament. He had scored 543 runs in 15 innings at an average of 38.79 and a strike-rate of 161.61. He was traded from Karachi Kings by Islamabad United, and could just only enhance their batting line-up and make it more solid.
Philip Salt also made some runs with the Adelaide Strikers in the league. But, his real claim to fame is the fact that he is a travelled player and has done well across the globe as a player.
Middle-order (Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Rohail Nazir (wk))
In the middle-order, Islamabad United are likely to go with Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, and young wicketkeeper-batsman Rohail Nazir. When it comes to Talat, he has been a consistent performer in the Pakistan Super League and he has done really well with the bat and often contributed with the ball.
Asif Ali is possibly the most dangerous batter in the Islamabad United line-up, but he has been going through a slight dip in form, which has also kept him out of the Pakistan ODI and T20I team. He didn’t have a great series against South Africa as well but they are likely to trust him as he has delivered quite a few times for them in the past seasons.
Rohail Nazir was the captain of the Pakistan U19 team in the last U19 World Cup and has hogged the limelight with strong performances in the domestic circuit. It will be interesting to see how the 19-year-old handles the pressure of a big stage like the PSL.
All-rounders (Shadab Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf)
Shadab Khan would be itching to perform well in this season of the PSL, after recently getting dropped from the Pakistan T20 side. He showed some real class with the bat in last year’s edition and could once again be seen batting at no.3 or no.4. But, he would want to contribute a little more with the ball after the underwhelming year he had last season with his leg-breaks.
Iftikhar Ahmed and Faheem Ashraf are the two all-rounders, who make this unit far more balanced. Ahmed has tremendous capability to clear the boundaries at will and can also chip away with wickets. On the other hand, Faheem is an efficient batter down the order and can score some handy runs. But, he has contributed majorly with the ball for Islamabad United in the past in the PSL. His recent track record in international cricket has been impressive too.
Bowlers (Hasan Ali, Muhammad Musa, Ali Khan)
Hasan Ali was released from his franchise, Peshawar Zalmi, and was smartly picked up by Islamabad United. He has been one of the best discoveries from the PSL until this day and is expected to impress everyone in this season. He has been in good form with the ball in international cricket.
Muhammad Musa is another discovery of the league and hasn’t really lived up to his talent. However, this year just could be his and he can find his rhythm. USA’s Ali Khan is a much more matured player now, having gained experience by playing T20 leagues across the globe.
His pace and ability to take wickets upfront make him a perfect choice to complete this XI, which has enough bowlers to restrict the opposition batsmen.