The Pakistan Super League is back after a brief gap, and with the PSL, franchise Cricket also makes a return. With fears over covid, the tournament has been shifted to the UAE, where the PSL has been hosted in the past. Selecting UAE as a venue is a safe move but can be draining for the players, with temperatures soaring at this time of the year. The air does get more relaxed in the day, but the weather may still play a part.
The league kicks off with a clash between two sides in the middle of the points table. Both sides have won three of their first four games and are looking good for a playoff spot. There is still work to do, but a win will take either side to the top of the table.
Both sides have a healthy run rate, but their adaptability will be tested here. With the tournament shifting venues mid-way, both sides may have some considerations based on the conditions.
Looking at the head-to-head record may suggest the Qalandars have an advantage. Islamabad last beat the Qalandars back in the 2016-2017 season, an exciting point ahead of the clash.
Islamabad United Vs Lahore Qalandars Team News:
Due to issues like bubble fatigue and international commitments, both sides have made changes to their roster. A draft has been held for replacement players, and the two sides have some nice inclusions. While Islamabad United have lost the likes of Alex Hales and Phil Salt, they have some excellent inclusions. Usman Khawaja, Umar Amin and Brandon King have come into the squad. The replacement draft has allowed Khawaja a chance to play in the league of his birth country.
The Lahore Qalandars have also made some changes. They lost Joe Denly, Samit Patel, and David Wiese as the PSL clashes with England’s domestic season. Shakib Al Hasan is involved with the Bangladesh team, which leaves him out.
The draft, however, has been kind to the side. The Lahore Qalandars have bought some talented T20 players. Joe Burns, Callum Ferguson, Tim David, and Seekkuge Prasanna are some names that have been included. Along with them, the Qalandars have got a couple of big names. James Faulkner and Rashid Khan are two big buys who are likely to slot in the side straight away. Rashid Khan, in particular, has been in good form and is a hot commodity wherever he plays.
Islamabad United Vs Lahore Qalandars Predicted XIs:
- Fakhar Zaman
- Zeeshan Ashraf
- Sohail Akhtar
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Tim David
- Ben Dunk
- James Faulkner
- Rashid Khan
- Shaheen Shah Afridi
- Ahmed Daniyal
- Haris Rauf
- Colin Munro
- Usman Khawaja
- Shadab Khan
- Hussain Talat
- Asif Ali
- Iftikhar Ahmed
- Brandon King
- Faheem Ashraf
- Hasan Ali
- Mohammad Wasim Jnr
- Zafar Gohar
Islamabad United Vs Lahore Players to watch out for:
Alex Hales has been hot in franchise Cricket and is fighting hard to make an international comeback. Despite going unsold in the IPL, Hales has done well in the Big Bash and Pakistan Super League.
While Hafeez has been a standout performer for the Qalandars, one cannot look past Rashid. The leg-spinners have spun a web in every league he has played in so far. With a lot of talent and experience, the spinner’s four overs are likely to decide the game. He has looked good in the IPL and will be raring to go.
Islamabad United Vs Lahore Qalandars, Pitch Conditions:
Last season the IPL was held in the UAE, and the Abu Dhabi surface was reasonably helpful to the bowlers. With significant boundaries, the ground provides an equal balance between the batters and bowlers. However, as always in franchise cricket, the safest choice would be to chase. Chasing in T20 Cricket may give the side a slight advantage. With the temperatures soaring during the day, the dew may set in and play a part as well.