Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators: Preview and Prediction
The Season 8 caravan of the Pakistan Super League is standing midway through the league stage and all of the combatants are now racing towards their ultimate aim of playoffs qualification.
Match 21 of the 2023 PSL edition will feature a battle of two sides who used to rule the league at times but are struggling to contest for the glory in the current scenario. An action-packed cricketing saga between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators will be played at Rawalpindi’s Pindi Club Ground this Super Sunday.
The most awaited arrival for the United has finally occurred as the star English opener Alex Hales has joined the Reds’ roster. Hales will be the part of inaugural champions for the remainder of the season and is likely to open the Islamabad innings with Colin Munro.
The emerging bowling all-rounder Zeeshan Zameer may get axed from the starting eleven after failing to make any impact while his place in the team is likely to be taken by Rumman Raees.
The 20-year-old emerging knight Yasir Khan was preferred for the opening slot ahead of the veteran Martin Guptill but could not utilize the golden opportunity. Yasir may not get another chance to open the Gladiators’ innings as the Quetta team management is expected to shift their focus on strengthening the middle-order instead. The inclusion of the veteran Umar Akmal at this point can solve the problem and do wonders for the Purple Force.
What have they done so far?
Islamabad was having a fine run in the eighth edition after emerging victorious in three out of their first four fixtures of the season.
However, a heart-wrenching defeat at the hands of the defending champions Lahore Qalandars on Monday must have thumped the high spirits of the United roster. The high-profile batting lineup of the Reds surrendered in front of the Qalandars bowling attack on a minimal team total of 90 to end up with a losing deficit of 110 runs.
On the other hand, the Baloch knights are currently seated in the bottom-most position of the points table after being able to register only a single win in the first five games. Quetta’s only win of the season came in the second fixture when they successfully defended the 168 runs total against the Sindh-based franchise to emerge victorious on a six-run margin.
The nail-biting triumph over the Karachi Kings was followed by a streak of four consecutive defeats for the Purple Force who are still seeing their form back.
Head to Head record
The rivalry between these two founding franchises of the Pakistan Super League has seen a neck-to-neck contest right from the inaugural edition.
The head-to-head record of 16 encounters that have taken place at the Pakistani top-flight league currently stands equivalent on the scoreline of 8-8. The national capital-based franchise displayed sheer dominance in the initial seasons while the Baloch forces took the stage by storm during the time period of 2017-2020.
The most recent chapter of this rivalry occurred just a week ago when the Purple Forces suffered a third consecutive defeat at their consorted home venue National Stadium of Karachi.
It was a high-scoring contest that resulted in a 63-run triumph for the inaugural champions who posted a mammoth first-inning total of 220 runs on the board. Azam Khan ran a rampage scoring 97 runs at a 230.95 strike rate against his former side and was eventually conferred with the Player of the Match honor after missing out on his maiden PSL ton by just three runs.
Shadab Khan: The 24-year-old Islamabad skipper who bats at number four cannot utilise his potential of exploding fireworks for the Reds in middle overs. Meanwhile, his bowling contribution of scalping six wickets from five appearances has also not done any wonders for the inaugural champions. Hence, a lot will depend on Khan who plays a prominent role in the team’s game plan with his leadership and all-round skills.
Mohammad Hafeez: The legendary batting all-rounder was dropped from the playing eleven after their opening fixture but went on to return to the field in the very next game. Hafeez is someone who makes headlines quite often but also never fails to deliver impact performances whenever he is in action. His fighting stand of 48 runs from 26 balls and a 69-run partnership with the skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed kept the Gladiators alive in the game until his departure from the battlefield.
Predicted Playing XIs
Islamabad United: Colin Munro, Alex Hales, Rassie van der Dussen, Shadab Khan ©, Azam Khan, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Tom Curran, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees, Abrar Ahmed
Quetta Gladiators: Martin Guptill, Will Smeed, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed ©, Iftikhar Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Nawaz, Odean Smith, Umaid Asif, Naseem Shah, Naveen-ul-Haq
Team India recently travelled to Bangladesh as favorites but still couldn’t trample down the Men in Green who are considered among one of the toughest sides in home conditions. Hence, the aspects of current form and home record are granting bright chances to the Bangla Tigers to emerge victorious from this contest.
The English top-order and spin-twins Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will have a huge responsibility to outplay the opposition in their own game to eye on a major turnaround.