Former champions Islamabad United and twice runners-up Quetta Gladiators will seek a second win and change of fortunes as the Pakistan Super League 3 shifts to Sharjah on Wednesday.
Quetta lost to Karachi by 19 runs in their first match before pulling off a comfortable nine-wicket win against Lahore Qalandars in Dubai and will now look for their second win while Islamabad lost to Peshawar Zalmi by 34 runs before sneaking a five-wicket win over Multan Sultans.
All six teams will complete their three matches today, with Karachi Kings leading the pack with six points in three defeat-less matches. Multan Sultans are lurking behind after two wins and one defeat. Peshawar Zalmi have one win in two matches while Lahore Qalandars have lost all their matches in a disappointing campaign.
Islamabad’s fragile batting, restricted to 142-9 by Peshawar will be bolstered by the arrival of South African batsman JP Duminy who took part in team’s practice on Tuesday. Their inspirational captain Misbah-ul-Haq also seems to have recovered from a hamstring problem but will be assessed before the match.
Quetta will also hope their foreign stars Kevin Pietersen, Shane Watson and Rilee Rossouw fire. Watson smashed a quickfire fifty in their second match but Pietersen and Rossouw have yet to fire.
Sharjah will provide a better pitch than Dubai where the pitches were hard to score on. Despite being termed as a smaller ground, the Sharjah stadium will have the same 65 metres boundaries like Dubai, so the notion that its a smaller ground are baseless.
Quetta captain Sarfraz Ahmed had hoped the win will give his team more confidence.
“The start was poor but the way we came back was incredible,” said Sarfraz after beating Lahore. “It’s hard to bowl spin against the kind of batsmen they have, but I have a good understanding with KP.
“He helped as well, the way Nawaz came back here was superb, no praise is enough for him. The intent Watson showed was superb, as a team, we got a lot of confidence out of this game.”
Islamabad United’s stand-in captain Rumman Raees will also hope Misbah returns so that he can fully concentrate on his bowling.