Islamabad United v Lahore Qalandars
Sunday 13 June 14.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
United on course
Islamabad kept their play-off campaign on track by thrashing Quetta Gladiators. They won by ten wickets with ten overs to spare. It was the perfect response to defeat by Lahore in the opener.
Colin Munro took the man of the match award with 90 off 36, including five sixes. It was a welcome return to form as an opener as the Kiwi has been batting outside the top two in franchise cricket. Usman Khawaja was not too shabby, either, with 40 from 27.
Neither man could have cut loose, however, without the superb work from the bowling group. Hasan Ali, Muhammad Musa and Mohammad Wasim each took two wickets apiece. Wasim’s four overs cost just 12. Faheem Ashraf remains sidelined with split webbing. Fawad Ahmed has been dropped.
Probable XI Khawaja, Munro, Nair, Shadab, Talat, Iftikhar, Asif Ali, Hasan, Musa, Akif, Wasim
Lahore followed up their success over Islamabad with defeat of Peshawar Zalmi. They now top the table with ten points. Two more wins from their last four should guarantee a berth in the top two and an easier route to the final.
Rashid Khan picked up consecutive man of the match awards thanks to a five-wicket haul against Zalmi as 171 was defended with relative ease. It doesn’t quite tell the whole story, though.
Their top order flopped with Zalmi in control at 25 for four. Lahore were indebted to Aussie pair Tim David (64) and Ben Dunk (48) who staged a rapid rescue act. David is keeping Callum Ferguson out of the side. James Faulkner, another Aussie, is excelling with the ball and Lahore look to have got their recruitment bang on in the second re-draft.
Possible XI Fakhar, Sohail, Faizan, Hafeez, Dunk, David, Rashid, Faulkner, Daniyal, Afridi, Rauf
Islamabad have produced batting efforts at both ends at the spectrum. They were sluggish against Lahore, posting 143, and then turbo-charged against Quetta. This highlights the skill of Lahore’s bowling and the ineptitude of Quetta’s. The latter may also have been influenced by a wet ball because of dew. Batting second could well be easier, then, in this contest. But for an innings run play, taking the extremes on Islamabad seems fair. There should be decent numbers around for under 130 or 140 if they were to bat first against a crack unit.
Dew could be key
Lahore ended a six-game winless streak against Islamabad by taking the points in the opening match following resumption. So they could be forgiven for feeling nervous if the toss goes against them here.
A wet ball is a great leveller at the best of times but with United so dominant historically, they should put up a decent fight in a chase. Rashid, Shaheen Shah Afridi and Faulkner are highly-skilled bowlers who may lose just enough control to let in United. We should be able to get 2.206/5 about them if the toss goes in their favour.
If not, Lahore should be cosy in a chase particularly as Islamabad look to shy of a a sixth bowling option. Keep fingers crossed for 1.9010/11 in-play.
Plenty to work with on the top bat and bowler markets. First up we have to take on Rashid at even money for top Lahore bowlers. Shaheen is 5/2 with Sportsbook and that fits the bill in terms of win rate and the added bonus of bowling at the death.
We will also keep faith with Islamabad’s Hasan Ali, who shared honours last time out. The 9/4 is skinny but he makes the top five of most reliable bowlers on this market in the tournament in the last three editions.
For runs, Shadab Khan is underrated at 15/2 purely because of where he bats. He is their No 4. For Lahore, Mohammad Hafeez has been cut from 4s to 10/3 which, alas, takes away a big chunk of his edge. He is a ‘wrong’ price on win rate by 0.7%. Munro is 11/4 for another win.