Man of the Match: Faheem Ashraf
Islamabad United to Win the Opening Match
Our Prediction is Islamabad United to win!
The fourth edition of Pakistan Super League is certainly going to be bigger event than the previous ones! The opening game of the competition will see defending champions Islamabad United take on Lahore Qalandars in Dubai on Thursday.
Veteran pace bowler Mohammad Sami has been named captain of Islamabad United for this year’s tournament. Two-time champions have been most successful franchise in the history of Pakistan Super League and will be looking to get off to a good start in this edition as well.
On the other hand, Lahore Qalandars have been perennial underachievers in the history of the league after failing to make it the playoffs on all three occasions. All-rounder Mohammad Hafeez will lead Qalandars for this year’s competition and will be keen to turn things around for the side this season.
Mohammad Sami and co. will be keen to get off to winning start in this year’s competition. The franchise did retain most of their key players for the coming season. Ian Bell and Cameron Delport are the notable acquisitions made by the franchise for this year’s tournament.
In the batting department, United will be relying on the likes of Luke Ronchi, Ian Bell and Hussain Talat to do bulk of the scoring. Wicket-keeper Luke Ronchi topped the batting charts for Islamabad United in the previous edition of the league and was instrumental in helping the side clinch the second trophy of the competition. He scored 435 runs in 11 games with five half-centuries to his name.
Ian Bell and Cameron Delport are accomplished T20 cricketers that will bring stability to the batting lineup. Former England batsman Ian Bell will be keen to make an impression in his first stint in the PSL.
Hussain Talat, Asif Ali and Samit Patel will make the middle-order for Islamabad United for this game. All-rounder Samit Patel played a key role with the ball for Islamabad United in last year’s competition. Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf are genuine all-rounders in the squad that can provide value with the bat and ball. Leg-spinner Shadab Khan is certainly side’s premier bowler in this year’s competition.
In the bowling department, Mohammad Sami and Rumman Raees will take the new-ball for the franchise. Zafar Gohar and Wayne Parnell are other bowling options for the franchise for this game.
Sahibzada Farhan, Ian Bell, Luke Ronchi, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Samit Patel, Mohammad Sami (c), Rumman Raees, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Cameron Delport/Zafar Gohar.
Philip Salt, Luke Ronchi, Rizwan Hussain, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, W Maqsood, Cameron Delport, Mohammad Sami, SR Patel, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan
The franchise will be keen to make amends for their poor run in the history of the competition. Hafeez-led unit will be looking to get off to positive start in this year’s tournament. Qalandars looked to cover all the bases and have brought in big players like AB De Villiers, Corey Anderson, Carlos Brathwaite and Sandeep Lamichhane for the coming season. The critical issue for Lahore will be to get their combination right for the opening games of the competition.
In the batting department, the side will be depending on the likes of AB De Villiers, Mohammad Hafeez and Fakhar Zaman to do the bulk of the scoring.
Anton Devcich, Carlos Brathwaite and Corey Anderson are quality all-rounders included in the squad for this year’s tournament. Devcich played well for Lahore Qalandars in the previous edition of the league held last year.Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor will be first-choice keeper for the side for this opening game of the season.
In the bowling department, the side will be relying on the likes of Shaheen Afridi, Rahat Ali and Aizaz Cheema to pick up wickets with the new-ball. Leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane will also make his first appearance in the league. Lahore might be tempted to play Yasir Shah and Sandeep Lamichhane to pick up wickets in the middle overs of the innings.
David Wiese, Agha Salman and Hardus Viljeon are accomplished players included in the squad for the coming season. The main agenda will be to get the best players on the field to win games of cricket this season.
Mohammad Hafeez (c), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, AB De Villiers, Corey Anderson, Agha Salman, Brendan Taylor, Shaheen Afridi, Sandeep Lamichhane, Aizaz Cheema, Rahat Ali.
Yasir Shah, Sohail Akhtar, BRM Taylor, Mohammad Hafeez, Carlos Brathwaite, Rahat Ali, F Zaman, Anton Devcich, AB de Villiers, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
The wicket prepared for the opening game of the competition will be excellent for batting. The spinners will get assistance out of this surface. The weather forecast for the game on Thursday is going to clear skies.
The Dubai International Cricket Stadium has hosted a lot of games in the past. The average score at the ground is around 150 runs. The first seven games of this year’s tournament will be played at the venue.
Traditionally, the side that wins the toss would bat first and put runs on the board. It does tend to slow down in the second half of the game.
Reigning Champions Islamabad United will be favorites to win this opening game of the season. The franchise looks a well-settled unit and will be looking to stamp their authority from the outset. Lahore will need to find right combination in order to upstage Islamabad in this game.
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