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Considering the Sultans' recent run in the ongoing Pakistan Super League, it appears that a certain well-known Murphy's law took a special liking to the team comprised of veterans of the game. Murphy's law states that - Anything that can go wrong will go wrong and that is what happened with Multan Sultans in their recent-most encounter against Peshawar Zalmi. Peshawar Zalmi will be looking to repeat their result when they meet Islamabad United on 1st March at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Islamabad United, too, are coming off a superb win in their last game and with two in-form teams locking horns, a cracker of a contest is certainly on the cards.
With an emphatic win over Multan Sultans, Peshawar Zalmi raced to the top of the points table with four wins and just a couple of losses from their six games. Although they have the same number of points as Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United, they occupy the summit due to their vastly superior net run rate.
Chasing an above-par total of 173 on a decent batting wicket, Peshawar Zalmi got off to a slow but steady start. Amin played the role of a sheet-anchor to perfection which allowed Kieron Pollard to hammer away the Sultans' bowlers. Just when the things were looking a little out of reach for the Zalmis, Pollard smashed three back to back sixes in the eighteenth over and reduced the required equation to 13 of 12 legal deliveries. It was just a formality thereafter and Zalmis registered a win with four balls to spare.
Earlier with the ball, Peshawar Zalmi didn't really get off to the kind of start they were looking for. Sultans tonked all their bowlers around in the powerplay and raced to 65 for the loss of just one wicket. However the Zalmi bowlers pulled it back beautifully as they gave away just 107 runs in the last 14 overs. Kieron Pollard played a big role with the ball as well and even though he could not affect any dismissal, he kept things tight and conceded just 15 runs from his three overs.
ADS Fletcher , Imam-ul-Haq, Umar Amin, Kamran Akmal, LA Dawson, Kieron Pollard, DJG Sammy, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umaid Asif, Ibtisam Sheikh.
It's been a couple of days since Islamabad United last played a game where they defeated Karachi Kings in a closely-contested match. The final over finish placed Islamabad United at the top of the table which was later occupied by Peshawar Zalmi.
Chasing a total similar to what Peshawar Zalmi did a few hours ago, 169, Islamabad United held their nerve and got across with five wickets in hand and four balls in their bank. After a brilliant show by the bowlers, Asif Ali's 38-ball 70 set the stage on fire and was arguably the difference between the two sides. Asif Ali, who is usually known to throw his wicket away, was unusually calm at the crease as he smashed only one six in his 70-run knock. He was well-supported by Phil Salt in the middle-overs, but lack of support from other batsmen allowed the situation to deteriorate before Ali took matters under his own control.
Prior to that, Rumman Raees did spectacularly and played an instrumental role in restricting Karachi Kings to just 168 when at one stage they were well posted to get past 180. Raees picked up three wickets for 27 runs in his four overs. Shadab Khan and Amad Butt, too, bowled well in the middle overs and they both returned with the same figures of 4-0-27-1.
Luke Ronchi, CAK Walton, Nasir Nawaz, C Delport, Philip Salt, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Zafar Gohar, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Sami, Rumman Raees.
With competition getting stiffer with every passing game evident by the increasing frequency of last-over finishes, both the sides will be desperate to get two more points. Both Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United are in similar kind of positions and a win here would not only strengthen their chances to get into the playoffs, but also take the winner closer to the advantageous finish in the final two. Luke Ronchi, Phil Salt, and Asif Ali did exceedingly well with the bat for the United and with bowling contributing evenly as well, Islamabad United are better placed to win the upcoming fixture.
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