With the tournament now at its halfway mark, Quetta Gladiators have emerged as the team to beat with four wins but Islamabad are not far behind and have the chance to go top should they win by a handsome margin against Multan.
The tournament returns to Dubai after the Sharjah leg and the defending champions will need to improve on their previous displays in the city. In the three matches Islamabad have played in Dubai in the 2019 PSL so far, they have tasted two defeats including one against Tuesday’s opponents Multan.
However, Islamabad were impressive in their two wins in Sharjah where they beat the challenges of Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings in fine fashion. While wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi has been key for the side with the bat with 166 runs so far, all-rounder Faheem Ashraf has been the star with the ball with seven scalps.
Islamabad’s strength lies in their batting line-up but their bowling unit is a formidable one as well. Skipper Sami has shown the value of his experience while young pacer Muhammad Musa caught the eye with four wickets in two appearances.
Pakistan leg-spinner Shadab Khan continues to be his economical self despite the lack of wickets.
Absolutely gutted that my time with @IsbUnited & @thePSLt20 will be cut short with an injury. It’s been so much fun with some great people. Staying to support the boys for next 2 games then back home to get everything sorted for an exciting summer coming up.. pic.twitter.com/S6CeBrPC1p— Ian Bell (@Ian_Bell) February 23, 2019
Multan Sultans, on the other hand, are in deep trouble at the halfway mark and are currently languishing at the bottom of the table. Shoaib Malik and his men have tasted just the solitary win in the tournament so far and it came against Islamabad in Dubai.
The Sultans come into the game on the back of three consecutive losses with the most recent coming against Peshawar Zalmi.
Skipper Malik has played his part with the bat with the veteran batsman averaging 42 after five innings while Englishman James Vince has looked tidy too despite his dismissal for a duck against Peshawar.
However, there remains plenty to be desired from the rest of the team’s batsmen including all-rounder Dan Christian. Multan had placed their hopes on their vast array of all-rounders which includes Malik, Christian, Andre Russell and veteran Shahid Afridi.
Afridi though, missed the clash against Lahore Qalandars as a precaution and bowled only 10 deliveries in the subsequent five-wicket loss to Peshawar. The 38-year-old’s fitness will be under the scanner on Tuesday but if the former Pakistan international can rediscover his best, Multan can entertain some hopes of making the playoffs.
Can Malik’s men do the double over Islamabad or will the defending champions have their revenge?
Islamabad will have to make do without the services of Ian Bell with the veteran batsman ruled out of the remainder of the tournament due to an aggravated leg-injury.
Multan, meanwhile, will be without their star all-rounder Russell who has been called up the West Indies ODI squad for the clashes against England. Russell is set to miss the clashes against Islamabad, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators at the very least.
Islamabad United: Luke Ronchi (wk), Cameron Delport, Philip Salt, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Samit Patel, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Sami (c), Rumman Raees, Muhammad Musa
Multan Sultans: Umar Siddiq (wk), James Vince, Shoaib Malik (c), Johnson Charles, Dan Christian, Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi, Chris Green, Mohammad Ilyas, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan
Match starts at 20:00 UAE time
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