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We are approaching the midway mark in the Pakistan Super League and things are getting tighter with every passing match. As many as four teams are tied at the top with six points each and they are all producing scintillating contests.
Up next in the competition, Islamabad United will take on Quetta Gladiators in an important match as the winning team will likely advance to the top of the table position. This upcoming match is to be played at the National Stadium, Karachi, on 4th March 2021.
Just like Islamabad United, the Qalandars too have won three and lost one. At the moment, they are placed fourth on the points table, but if we disregard the net run-rate, they are in a decent position. A win will take them to the top of the table, but considering how well Islamabad United have done, the win will not be as easy to get.
Remarkably, Qalandars' trajectory in the tournament has been strikingly similar to that of United. They won their first two matches, but then suffered a major loss at the hands of Multan Sultans. They then bounced back with a terrific win over Karachi Kings to bounce back into the contention. Against Karachi Kings, their bowlers failed to do the job the team would have liked, but batsmen rescued them out brilliantly.
Chasing a total of a tall order, the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Ben Dunk, and David Wiese pulled Qalandars out of a pit they seemed to be drowning into with every passing over in the second innings. On paper, the Qalandars derive balance from their strong all-rounders in David Wiese and Samit Patel. They have an experienced bowling unit with Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf at their disposal. If any of their star players get going, getting past the Qalandars will be a hard task.
Playing 11 not yet available.
Islamabad United started their campaign in a terrific manner, but a loss against Peshawar Zalmi hampered their cause. However, they bounced back with a splendid win over Quetta Gladiators in the subsequent match and are now in a pretty comfortable position. With three wins in four matches, the Gladiators are now placed at the third spot with a net run-rate of 0.202. A win here, however, will be enough to push them to the top and that is what they'll be aiming for.
Toss proved to be of significant importance in the last game as well and Islamabad United did everything right after winning the toss. As per the trend in the tournament, Islamabad United won the toss, elected to bowl, and kept Gladiators to an under-par total. Considering how things had been in the tournament up until then, a total of 157 was never going to challenge Islamabad United and it didn't prove to be any different.
On paper, Islamabad United looks a terrific side already. The addition of Paul Stirling at the top of the order has given the team the much-needed potency with the bat, which otherwise looked heavily over-dependent on the all-rounders. Those allrounders now add to the balance of the side and will all be strategic resources in this upcoming match. If specialists manage to play their respective roles, there's no reason why Islamabad United cannot rack up yet another win.
Playing 11 not yet available.
These are still early days in the tournament, but teams would want to stay near the top of the table for as long as possible. For that reason, we expect both sides to come out all guns blazing and a cracking contest is certainly on the cards. Toss has so far played a massive role in the tournament as the dew adds massively to the chasing team's advantage. There's little to choose between the two sides if the form is concerned, but Islamabad United looks a slightly better side on paper. For that reason, betting on a United win should be the way to go here.
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