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|AB de Villiers||24||17||2||1||141.18|
The Pakistan Super League has grown into one of the most impressive T20 leagues around the world. The PSL has some unique challenges in terms of logistics and not being able o play in front of a rabid home base but a concerted effort is made by the organizers to bring back more and more cricket to Pakistan every single year.
PSL 2019 will see more matches being played in Pakistan than ever before and almost 50 international players have confirmed their availability for the same.
Islamabad United is the defending champions of the PSL and will be hoping to start off their campaign with a win as well. The team has made it a bit of hallmark to start slow and then catch up later. They will be starting out their PSL season against the Lahore Qalandars, a side that has finished the bottom of the table in every season of the Pakistan Super League so far.
Islamabad United is the most successful side in the short history of the Pakistan Super League. They have won 59.67% of all of its matches and have won two of the three trophies as well. It is safe to say that Islamabad United would not have seen a need to change out its core group.
Luke Ronchi, Cameron Delport, Phil Salt, and Ian Bell are a part of the Islamabad United squad. Ronchi has been very successful in the PSL scoring 433 runs last season. He is not someone we like banking on because of inconsistency, though.
Phil Salt may not get a game initially but we are excited to see him in the squad. Cameron Delport is the player we are picking to make a mark on this season of the PSL. Ian Bell will also be hoping to continue his excellent form from county cricket, although most of his runs were scored against the second division sides.
The bowling is the real strength of Islamabad United. They have Mohammad Sami, Rumman Raees, Samit Patel, and Wayne Parnell to chose from among the bowlers. Faheem Ashraf and Shadab Khan are the all-rounders to provide balance to the side while Asif Ali and Hussain Talat will be expected to provide the power in the middle order.
Islamabad United has covered all of its bases and is going into the PSL with a settled squad. All it has hope now is that its senior players can avoid a sudden dip in form.
Rizwan Hussain, Luke Ronchi, Philip Salt, Hussain Talat, C Delport, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, SR Patel, Mohammad Sami, W Maqsood.
The PSL draft system allows for the weakest teams to get a chance to pick the best players and help even out the competition. It is an excellent system and should help develop a balanced league in the future. This is also the reason why the Lahore Qalandars were able to sign AB de Villiers to their side and give it a big boost.
AB de Villiers has been in excellent form in the Bangladesh Premier League. He scored runs against spin, in slow conditions, and showed no signs of rust. If anything, the lack of South African responsibilities has freed him up to be even more motivated.
There are some very good T20 batsmen in the Lahore Qalandars side. They have Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Anton Devcich, and Corey Anderson in the side. Pakistani youngsters like Sohail Akhtar and Agha Salman are also going to be watched keenly in this season of the Pakistan Super League.
The batting depth looks pretty deep on paper.
The bowling is also well-rounded with the likes of Carlos Brathwaite, Sandeep Lamichanne, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, and tearaway fast bowler Haris Rauf.
The Lahore Qalandars appear to have put together a good squad for this season of the PSL. Here is the problem, though. We have seen this story with the Lahore Qalandars in earlier seasons. They seem to have a strong batting unit that just cannot get its act together. The side has fallen apart in previous seasons even with some of the biggest names on the circuit on its side.
The fans would be hoping that this season can be different and that AB de Villiers, rated by many as the best batsman in the world even now, can make a telling difference.
F Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, AB de Villiers, Anton Devcich, BRM Taylor, Sohail Akhtar, Carlos Brathwaite, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali.
The side winning the toss is likely to want to field first
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The Pakistan Super League match between Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai. The first leg of the PSL is going to be played in Dubai where the weather is expected to sunny and clear throughout.
The pitch at the Dubai International stadium is slow but completely flat. The batsmen will have to get used to the slow nature of the pitch but can take advantage afterward. Starting out aggressively may be a bit difficult for the lower order players and teams will try to push its best batsmen towards the top of the order.
Islamabad United is a better-settled side and has an excellent track record against the Lahore Qalandars. They have lost just one of the last five matches these two sides have played against each other. Islamabad United is, however, a slow starter. The Lahore Qalandars have an in-form AB de Villiers and Mohammad Hafeez to make it a very serious contender.
We think backing on an upset is the way to go in this match.
Back the Lahore Qalandars to win.
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