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Lahore Qalandars, on of the fans' favorite side in the Pakistan Super League, continue to languish at the bottom of the points table. In their most-recent assignment, they failed to get past Peshawar Zalmi in a match that was cut short to 12 overs a side due to rain. Considering how the things have gone in the tournament so far, it appears that the Sultans, Gladiators, and two of Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United, and Karachi Kings will be qualifying for the playoffs. The Kings are struggling as well and their home games, which are to be played at the back-end of the league stage, are going to be crucial. The upcoming match is to be played between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United on 29th February at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi.
Islamabad United may have lost their previous match, they are still one of the favorites to qualify for the next round. Thanks to their superb net run-rate of 0.145, they are placed at the third spot on the ladder and another win here will push them to the top of the table.
While they will be ruing their recent loss against the Gladiators, it shouldn't be too concerning, considering that they lost after strenching the tournament's best team, Quetta Gladiators, and didn't go down easily. Batting first, the United's batsmen made merry on an excellent surface to bat on and posted an imposing total of 187 runs on the board. At one time, they looked like putting up a lot less runs on the board, but a splendid knock by Colin Ingram pushed them to 187. Ingram scored an unbeaten 63. He was ably supported by Shadab Khan who scored 39 off 25.
A total of 187 was a difficult total to chase down for Quetta Gladiators, but their batsmen did an excellent job to pull the chase off. They were helped by United's indisciplined bowling as Amad Butt and Faheem Ashraf proved to be rather expensive. Ahmed Safi Abdullah was the pick of United's bowling as he returned with the figures of 17 for 2 in his 3 overs. It was surprising to see him bowl only three overs, considering that he was the only bowler who appeared to be causing troubles for Quetta Gladiators.
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As a rule of thumb, teams generally avoid batting first in rail-curtailed games as it generally puts them at disadvantage. Peshawar Zalmi not only posted a huge total in the first innings of their previous match, but also defended their total with considerable ease. With that win, they are now placed at the fourth spot on the points table and will be looking to rise further in the upcoming matches.
It was the opening partnership between Hailder Ali and Tom Banton that propelled Peshawar Zalmi on their way to a towering total. Although the pair was dismissed soon after putting Zalmi into a position to dictate terms, Peshawar Zalmi didn't lose momentum. Instead, the likes of Lewis Gregory, Darren Sammy, and Wahab Riaz came in and provided their side with much-needed impetus as they finished with a total of 132 in 12 overs.
Just when they looked in trouble with Chris Lynn going all guns blazing and required run-rate coming down with every passing over, Lewis Gregory stuck gold as he got Lynn caught by Hasan. Gregory continued to bamboozle Qalandars' batsmen and returned with the impressive figures of 4 for 25 in his three overs. He was adjudged man of the match for his all-round performance.
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Both the sides are struggling in the middle of the points table and will be looking to rise on the ladder. An unfavorable result, however, would make things difficult for the losing side. The two teams are coming off contrasting results in the respective matches, but so jam-packed is this tournament, that result of previous match is unlikely to have a big impact. On paper, Islamabad United appear to be a better side between the two, and are, therefore, our pick to bet on in the upcoming encounter.
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