About the Match
Islamabad United made a comeback with a win against Zalmi in the last game as they chased down 137 runs in the nick of time; they have 6 points after 5 matches and are placed 2nd on the table. United will take on Lahore Qalandars, who have 4 points and are placed 4th, on 20th February at Sharjah. The Lahore team has defeated United earlier and will be determined to do so again on Monday; it needs to be seen if Islamabad succumbs to pressure or will take the lead here.
Opener Dwayne Smith stood like the anchor of the innings against Zalmi, posting an unbeaten 72 off 59 to steer the team across the finish line in the hunt for 137 runs. He partnered with Shane Watson, who scored a well-made 30, down the line but the latter was run-out in a critical situation. Smith kept his cool and got the lone run in the last ball to take the team safely home by 5 wickets.
Earlier, speedsters Mohammad Sami, Rumman Raees and Mohammad Irfan took 6 wickets between them in regular intervals to stifle the opposition while spinner Shadab Khan provided 2 breakthroughs. All-rounder Amad Butt also claimed the wicket of Shakib Al Hasan and they combined well to restrict Zalmi at 136 runs. In the previous match against Kings, the batting line-up had collapsed like a pack of cards, being able to muster only 90 runs and the rains played further spoilsport, leading to a loss by 8 runs.
They have also lost the match against Qalandars before after the bowlers failed to defend 158 runs despite good performances by speedsters Sami and Raees. Watson and Saeed Ajmal also took wickets but they couldn’t contain the opponents from hitting the winning runs. United has an experienced batting line-up, which could come out all guns blazing to turn the tables this time.
Despite a superb batting performance against Gladiators, wherein they posted 200 runs batting first, the Qalandars couldn’t snatch up a victory after the opponents chased down the target easily thanks to some loose balls by players like Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Irfan and Sohail Tanvir. Although they speedsters did get regular wickets, they failed to put up a disciplined effort, losing the match by 5 wickets. Earlier, Jason Roy posted a brilliant half-century while Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Rizwan scored 45+ runs to keep the board ticking; Delport made a fine 35 while Umar Akmal posted a quick fire 17.
Against Karachi Kings, the batsmen led by Zaman’s 56 off 36, posted 179 while the bowlers struck hard at the opposition to stifle them at 172 and win the match by 7 runs. Speedsters Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan and ace spinner Sunil Narine claimed 2 wickets each while Bhatti dismissed Malik at a crucial juncture. They also have spinners like Yasir Shah and all-rounder GD Elliott who can outwit the opponents with their clever variations.
The team has defeated United earlier and they will draw inspiration from that victory to strike gold yet again; with an in-form batting line-up and consistent wickets from the bowling squad, Qalandars surely look confident to dominate United here.
Qalandars have the upper hand here since they have succeeded against United in this very season before; United on the other hand comes here at the back of a win and they look better placed to avenge their previous humiliation against Qalandars