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The Pakistan Super League is coming home as the action finally shifts to Pakistan. Every team is going to play at least one PSL league game in Pakistan while some (Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars) are going to play two matches in Karachi. The fact that a lot of foreign players have decided to come back to Pakistan and there are more matches being played in the home country than in any other previous edition of the PSL is a huge achievement.
The celebration around this achievement is unlikely to translate into any sort of dilution in the quality of cricket. The competition has been very close in the PSL 2019 and any one of three teams could still end up missing out for a PSL semi-final berth.
Both the teams playing this match, Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars, are in a tricky position. Islamabad United is on 8 points with just one PSL league match to go while Lahore Qalandars are currently out of the qualification zone with 6 points to their name.
We spoke about the lack of batting strength in the Lahore Qalandars, especially after the departure of AB de Villiers, and that was highlighted in their last loss to Peshawar Zalmi. Lahore brought in Ryan ten Doeschate into the side in place of AB de Villiers to try and shore up the batting but that is hardly a fair swap.
To be fair to ten Doechate, he has played some excellent T20 innings recently, however, to expect him to fulfill the role AB de Villiers can is just insane.
Fakhar Zaman continued to underperform and justified his inconsistent tag. We do think there is a big inning coming from him while playing at home. He is the kind of player that likes the limelight and will prosper on the flat batting surfaces that Karachi will offer.
The Lahore Qalandars have placed a lot of stock in Anton Devcich at the top of the order but we don’t think he is the best candidate in sub-continental conditions. Promoting someone like Sohail Akhtar or even Haris Sohail may be the way to go.
The Lahore Qalandars batting lineup has to take stock of its resources and aim for a competitive score in each match. The bowling lineup of Lahore Qalandars almost pulled off something miraculous in the previous match.
They had just 125 runs to defend but decimated the Peshawar Zalmi top-order and reduced them to 20 for 5. Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Rahat Ali all bowled very well. It was the follow-up bowlers that let them down and were unable to complete the job.
Sandeep Lamichhane should get some help from the surface but we just don’t rate David Wiese highly enough. He is neither a good enough batsman nor a good enough bowler to be in the side in our opinion.
F Zaman, Anton Devcich, Haris Sohail, Riki Wessels, Sohail Akhtar, D Wiese, Agha Salman, Rahat Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Sandeep Lamichhane, Haris Rauf.
Islamabad United was never a very strong batting unit in any previous edition of the PSL but we don’t think they have ever been this bad either. If Luke Ronchi is the most consistent batsman in your side and the one you depend on most then there is something seriously wrong with the planning.
Islamabad United was chasing 181 in the previous match and got off to a pretty decent start. They were 62 for no loss in 8 overs and 109 for 3 in about 14 overs. There was still a chance from here but things unraveled quickly after the fall of Luke Ronchi’s wicket.
There were only three batsmen that reached double figures in the previous match. Luke Ronchi made 62, Cameron Delport made 25, and Samit Patel made 14.
None of the other batsmen contributed anything of note to the total.
Islamabad United has 8 points from its 9 matches in PSL 2019. A loss in this last game would leave them very vulnerable to being knocked out of the semi0final race. Considering the strong bowling attack that Lahore Qalandars possess, Islamabad United would be quite wary of going into this game.
There is some hope that the Pakistani players will play better in Karachi especially people like Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, and Faheem Ashraf. Overall, though, the batting lineup of Islamabad United inspires no confidence in us.
Their bowling is slightly better-placed thanks to Shadab Khan, Samit Patel, Faheem Ashraf, and Mohammad Sami in the side. The conditions in Pakistan are likely to suit this attack very well. Shadab Khan and Samit Patel will enjoy the extra turn that Karachi offers while Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Sami could even think about some reverse swing towards the end of the inning.
Islamabad United needs to win this match at all costs and that motivation can mean a lot. They have been in this position before in previous editions of the PSL to turn things around at the business end of the tournament and end up winners.
Luke Ronchi, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, CAK Walton, Asif Ali, Mohammad Sami, Rumman Raees, Hussain Talat, C Delport, Philip Salt, Muhammad Musa.
The team winning the toss is likely to want to field first
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The PSL 2019 match between Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United is going to be played at the National Stadium, Karachi. The weather is expected to nice and sunny on match day and there should be no interruptions expected.
The pitch in Karachi is going to be interesting to watch. This is the first match of the PSL being played in Karachi in 2019 so both teams may be a bit wary of the surface. We believe it will be a good batting surface with more pace in it than what we saw in Dubai or Abu Dhabi although the spinners will get some assistance from the pitch as well.
A score of around 170 should be considered par.
These are two weak batting teams taking on each other. They also both have pretty decent bowling attacks to exploit each other’s weaknesses. We have a feeling that Fakhar Zaman may do something special in this game and that Shaheen Afridi’s bowling form could be the difference.
Back the Lahore Qalandars to win.
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