Multan Sultans will play their last game of the Round Robin stage of PSL 3 against Islamabad United tonight at the Sharjah Cricket Association stadium. They have played 9 games in the tourney securing 9 points and they need a couple of more points to guarantee their playoff spot. However, even if they lose this game and get stuck to 9 points only, they will still have a mathematical chance of finishing in top 4 given the other results go in their favor.
Islamabad United out of all teams has played the least number of games and they have 3 games lined up in the next 4 days. They have 10 points in their tally and their place in top 4 looks fairly secured already, however they will be looking for more wins to ensure they not only keep themselves in top 4 but end up being in top 2 so that they get two bites at the cherry in the playoffs.
Probable nature of the pitch
Sharjah had two-paced wickets during the first set of the matches that got held there earlier in PSL 3 and it took some gloss out of the proceedings. They will be looking to provide better decks at this crunch stage of the tournament for the spectators to get to see some thrilling T20 action.
Historically Sharjah is known as a batsman’s paradise because the decks there have been very, very flat over the years and assuming they are back to their normal stuff, this should be a high scoring game as short dimensions of the boundaries along with a flat pitch will mean a run fest.
At anywhere in the world with short boundaries, particularly if it’s backed by a surface where hitting the line is possible, the bowling second is as tough a proposition as it can get. So the captains will look to bowl first if they have the luck with the coin.
Since the time Islamabad has promoted JP Duminy to the top of the order, they have looked a different batting unit. The South African left-hander has looked to hold the innings and everybody has played around him. The two young domestic players, Hussain Talat and Asif Ali, have been instrumental for them too as they have come out and played handy cameos every now and again to kick some acceleration into the scoring rate. They have had to cope with constant shuffling in their batting positions, but they have adapted really well and the team management will hope they keep playing impact knocks all the way through.
Islamabad’s bowling has remained disciplined from the very outset. Their trump card Shadab Khan might not have got too many wickets, but he has bowled with a decent economy and at no stage has let the batsmen get away, which has helped the bowlers at the other end. While the captain Misbah-ul-Haq will be expecting a few more wickets from Shadab, he will want him to maintain his accuracy as well.
Samit Patel has been a surprise package with the ball for Islamabad. For somebody who is a batting all-rounder, he has bowled fantastically well and has acted as an ideal foil for Shadab. However the other overseas bowler Steve Finn needs to come up with a slightly improved show. The 28-year old was mighty impressive in the initial few games but looked out of rhythm against Peshawar Zalmi last game. He isn’t in line to be dropped though. He is the enforcer of the attack with Andre Russel out and he will be continued with.
Predicted XI: Mohammad Sami, Misbah-ul-Haq(C), JP Duminy, Luke Ronchi, Samit Patel, Steve Finn, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Zafar Gohar, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf
Multan Sultans’ batting has had a few too many bad days of late and they will be really bothered about it. Kumar Sangakkara will have to do the similar job for them that JP Duminy does for Islamabad which is to bat through. The Sri Lankan legend lost his wicket early the other evening against Karachi and the rest of the batsmen never looked steady thereafter. Sangakkara’s presence in the middle for the majority part of the innings is vital for Multan.
Multan may like to use Sohail Tanvir in the role of a pinch hitter. The veteran all-rounder has performed this role in the past in the other T20 leagues and has done it efficiently. He was the highest scorer for Multan last game and remained unbeaten batting at no. 8. With a quick blinder at 3, he can get Multan’s innings going especially if they lose a wicket early.
The good news for Multan is that their ace fast bowler Umar Gul is fit and should be available for selection. If he comes in, the South African fast bowler Hardus Viljoen who was excessively expensive in the last game will have to make way and that change will lead to another change with Multan possibly playing an overseas batsman in the form of Ross Whiteley at the place of Saif Badar.
Predicted XI: Kumar Sangakkara, Ahmed Shehzad, Sohail Tanvir, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik (C), Ross Whiteley, Kieron Pollard, Umar Gul, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Imran Tahir
Probable Top Performers
Asif Ali (Islamabad United) | Junaid Khan (Multan Sultans)
Head to Head
Matches – 1, Islamabad United – 1, Multan Sultans – 0, Tie/No Result – 0
The timing of the match: 09:30 pm IST
TV – D Sport
The prediction is for the Islamabad United to beat the Multan Sultans in this match.