Sultans could return to form



Islamabad United v Multan Sultans
Sunday 21 February 14.00
TV: live on Sky Sports

United’s reshuffle

Islamabad finished bottom of the pile last term and in a big effort to climb the ladder this season, they have gone big by bringing in Alex Hales.

However, their squad has been hit by drop-outs. Reece Topley and Chris Jordan have withdrawn because of their involvement with England while Colin Munro is also out. Ali Khan, Paul Stirling and Fawad Ahmed come in.

The home bowling stock is good. Faheem Ashraf and Hasan Ali are two of the best in this tournament in the last two years. Faheem has also been in terrific form as an all-rounder across formats.

Possible XI Alex Hales, Phil Salt, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Iftikhar, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Zafar Gohar, Musa Khan

Multan go again

One feels a little sorry for Multan Sultans. Before the pandemict struck they were by far and away the best team in the PSL. But when the tournament resumed after a long lockdown they just weren’t the same team. Confidence and rhythm had evaporated and they didn’t even make the final.

Strangely they are rated as outsiders by Betfair Sportsbook at 5/1 and there’s nothing wrong with such a wager. Their squad stacks up. We also know that no other side will be as well prepared because of their reliance on analysts and data.

Chris Lynn, who was brilliant in the Bash, could find runscoring trickier but Mohammad Rizwan is a solid opening partner. And they are solid all the way down to No 8. The one player they probably lack is an out-and-out fiery wicket-taker although Sohail Khan will give it his best shot.

Possible XI Chris Lynn, Mohammad Rizwan, James Vince, Shan Masood, Rilee Rossouw, Khushdil Shah, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Imran Tahir, Shahnawaz Dhani

Pitch report

This will be the third match at Karachi’s National Stadium on the first two days of the tournament. Previously eight of the last ten PSL matches at the Karachi National Stadium have been won by the chaser. And more than 160 has been busted only four times in the last 12 matches.

Sultans could sizzle

The market can’t split these two with Multan marginal at 1.9110/11 and Islamabad at 1.981/1. We would like to keep the toss on our side and if Multan can retain marginal favourite status with Islamabad pushed out after being stuck in, we’ll bet them.

Man for man, Multan are far more impressive. They don’t really have any holes which can be exploited while United will worry about Phil Salt adapting after a poor Bash and the disruption of losing their overseas contingent.

Tops value

Sportsbook have a downer on Faheem in the bowling stakes it seems. Perhaps they are not aware of bowlers who have taken 20 wickets or more in the last two years (and there are only six), he has the best strike rate of any of them. You can get 7/2 that he is top wicket-taker for Islamabad. We’re also on the 7/1 that he tops overall for them in the tournament. Hasan Ali, of course, is a threat but his strike rate is 15.9 while Faheem’s is 12.6. So Hasan is a swerve at 5/2.

Faheem is overpriced at 22 for top bat as well. Other big prices to look out for include the exciting Khushdil Shah at 7s for top Multan bat. Asif Ali will be popular at 4/1 for to United bat.

**

Bumper PSL team-by-team preview on Cricket…Only Bettor