Reigning champions Islamabad United to take on upbeat Zalmis in PSL 2017 opener

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Peshawar Zalmi hope to maintain their dominance on points table
Peshawar Zalmi hope to maintain their dominance on points table
Shukriya Pakistan

The second edition of the Pakistan Super League will kick off with an exciting contest between the reigning champions, Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi in Dubai.

Misbah Ul Haq led Islamabad United did not have the ideal of starts in PSL 2016 as they lost first four of their six games of the tournament. However, the experience of head coach Dean Jones and mentor Wasim Akram kept their players’ chin up and Misbah Ul Haq’s calmness did not allow the defeats to get on his men’s nerves. Once United gelled together, they seemed unstoppable in the likes of Andre Russell, Brad Haddin, Shane Watson, Saeed Ajmal and Sharjeel Khan. Unexpectedly, they went on to win the final of the tournament beating favourites, Quetta Gladiators.

Whereas, Peshawar Zalmi looked extremely solid in the first edition of PSL. Under the captaincy of Shahid Afridi, Zalmis looked solid throughout the tournament. However, they failed to put in their ‘A’ game in important matches that cost them the place in final and they ended up at third spot. Darren Sammy, Tamim Iqbal, Shaun Tait, Mohammad Asghar and Wahab Riaz were key players for the side.

Islamabad United has almost the same team in this edition as well, which can be their biggest strength as they know their team’s strengths and weaknesses. However, they will surely miss their highest wicket-taker from the last edition, Andre Russell, who is an extremely handy cricketer in all aspects of the game. England’s pacer Steven Finn will replace the West Indian allrounder. All in all, Islamabad United looks a settled side that can prove beneficial for them.

On the other hand, Peshawar Zalmi will be playing under new captain, Darren Sammy. Moreover, additions like Eion Morgan, TM Dilshan, Chris Jordan, Marlon Samuels, Andre Fletcher and Haris Sohail will surely prove valuable for the team.

Zalmis are looking a much stronger team this time and they will be a real threat to other four franchises in the league.

Key players:
Sharjeel Khan is in red hot form and he can be a deciding factor between the two sides. If he gets going with the bat, he can be absolutely destructive.

Kamran Akmal is knocking national team’s doors with his consistent performance in domestic circuit. He is a seasoned campaigner and his experience can make a huge difference.

The first match of the tournament will start at 9 PM (PST) in Dubai after a glorious opening ceremony.

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