After a one-sided affair between Karachi King and Quetta Gladiators on opening day, the National Stadium will host first double-header of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season six.
Last-year’s runners-up Lahore Qalandars will be up against Peshawar Zalmi at 2.00 pm while Multan Sultans start their PSL 6 campaign against two-time champions Islamabad United at 7.00 pm.
Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi
Qalandars had a great run in PSL 5 as they reached the final for the first time in tournament’s history after failing to qualify on four previous occasions.
The side led by Sohail Akhtar will try to push them further and claim the title as they have a balanced squad comprising of youth and experience.
Qalandars will have the services of Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan, who is on his first PSL stint. The 22-year-old Rashid will have the support of three quality pacers Shaheen Shah, Haris Rauf and Dilbar Hussain who were key in Qalandars’ success.
Meanwhile, it would be interesting to see who open the innings with Fakhar Zaman.
Both teams have two veterans in shape of Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik who might create a difference with their toll of T20 experience.
Zalmi fans may also see Shoaib Malik taking the captaincy duties as regular captain Wahab Riaz was quarantined for three days after violating PSL’s bio-secure protocols with head coach Peshawar Zalmi.
Zalmi’s top-order will highly depend on Kamran Akmal while they will also expect a blitz from emerging star Haider Ali
Multan Sultans vs Islamabad United
It’s a new beginning for Sultans as they will be playing under a new leader Mohammad Rizwan who replaced Shan Masood for this season.
Meanwhile, Islamabad United will look to reclaim their pride as they had a disastrous season last year, finishing on fifth at points table. Both teams are equaled at three wins on the head-to-head count.
United will have the firepower of England’s Alex Hales at the top who has been in top form lately while Sultans will be expecting the same with James Vince.
The sides are unique in their own way, Sultans are backing on the experience of Chris Lynn, Shahid Afridi and Imran Tahir while United have energetic lads Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Zfar Gohar, ready to pound on giving opportunity.
It would be interesting to see how the chapter of captaincy unfolds between Rizwan [Test vice-captain] and Shadab Khan, [Pakistan’s limited-overs vice-captain].