By our correspondent
KARACHI: Former two-time champions Islamabad United will be looking to make amends for their last season’s hiccups when they will take on Multan Sultans on Sunday (today) in their opener of the HBL PSL 2021 here at the National Stadium.
The match starts at 7pm.
Multan, who had finished at the top of the points table after a round robin league phase last season, however, had faltered in the qualifier and the subsequent eliminator to face an exit.
Both the teams have so far faced each other six times in the PSL with either side winning three matches each. Last season they also won one game each which they played against each other as the event is held under double league basis.
Islamabad United, the winners of 2016 and 2018 editions, seem balanced and the joining of pacer Hasan Ali has really instilled a lot of energy in the side being skipped by Shadab Khan who will have to repeat his last year’s performance.
Although their key players Colin Munro and Chris Jordan are not available due to national duty they have taken equally good replacements in Irish allrounder Paul Sterling and Australian leggie Fawad Ahmad who is expected to do well.
Shadab said they would make a bounce back.
“The best thing is that our team carries national players and those overseas who have recently featured in Big Bash and T10 league and they are in top form,” Shadab said.
”Last year we did not perform well. And keeping in view making some combinations we went for the draft and what we had thought we got that. InshaAllah I am confident we will bounce back and play good cricket this season,”said Shadab.
Having PSL debut in 2018 Multan Sultans have top resources this season. And more interestingly their spin department is very good, having Shahid Afridi, Imran Tahir and in-form Usman Qadir who is a bowler with attacking instinct. Chris Lynn, Adam Lyth, James Vince, Carlos Brathwaite, Rilee Rossouw, skipper Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood and hard-hitting batsman Sohaib Maqsood have every ability to produce fantastic innings.
It would be a testing time for Rizwan to lead the side at the biggest stage. Rizwan recently skippered Pakistan on New Zealand series due to injury to Babar Azam. Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Imran Senior will lead the pace-battery.
Multan Sultans head coach Andy Flower also believes in his team’s strength.
“Yes, we have a good number of options in the top order but there are also people in that line-up who have batted at No3 and No4 quite regularly. So we don’t have any concerns about the batting order because we have players who can adopt themselves to varied conditions,” Andy said. Richard Illingworth and Ahsan Raza will supervise the match while Aleem Dar will be the third umpire and Asif Yaqoob, the fourth umpire. Sri Lankan Roshan Mahanama will act as match referee.
Multan Sultans: Adam Lyth, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Lynn, Shahid Afridi, Imran Tahir, Imran Khan Snr, James Vince, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Rizwan (captain), Mohammad Umar, Rilee Rossouw, Shahnawaz Dhani, Shan Masood, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohaibullah, Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Usman Qadir
Islamabad United: Ahmed Saifi Abdullah, Alex Hales, Zeeshan Zameer, Asif Ali, Paul Sterling, Fawad Ahmad, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Lewis Gregory, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Musa Khan, Phil Salt, Rohail Nazir, Ali Khan, Shadab Khan (captain), Zafar Gohar