After the round-robin stage of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) season six concluded, the country’s biggest cricket extravaganza moves to the business end as the playoffs stage starts today.
Table-toppers Islamabad United and Multan Sultans will take on each other in Qualifier 1 at 6.00 pm in Abu Dhabi. The winner of this match will go to the PSL 6 Finals while the loser will get another shot to progress by playing the winner of the Eliminator.
Both the sides had an experience of testing each other as they played the last match of the group stage where United beat Sultans by five wickets.
United are unbeaten in the last five games while Sultans lost one in as many matches. The fans are expecting a cracker of a match between two in-form sides.
Two-time PSL winners are undoubtedly the best team in the tournament as they won eight of its ten group matches. All the departments are complimenting each other brilliantly and have been performing well indeed.
United beat Sultans without their leading players but still ended up winning comfortably. Players like Usman Khawaja, Colin Munro, and Hasan Ali will be back to make the team even more formidable.
Munro and Khawaja have been in fine touch lately while middle-order also looks well settled. Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, captain Shadab Khan will look to continue their supports as they have been doing for United recently.
Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali and Hussain Talat are also in the lineup, the depth in the batting is there as well.
On the other hand, the bowling attack led by Hasan Ali has a lot of variation and skill. Mohammad Wasim, Shadab Khan, and Fawad Ahmed are in great bowling form and will look to step up once again to take their side to the all-important final.
Sultans led by Mohammad Rizwan have completely turned the tables in the second leg. They were down and out with only one win in the first five games but they picked up consistency at the start in Abu Dhabi that allowed them to finish second at the points table.
At the top, Sultans have gained boost with the form of Shan Masood. Rizwan has not scored fifty in the last few matches but the form he has been carrying this year in T20, can easily pressurize United’s bowlers.
With Sohaib Maqsood, Rilee Rossouw, Johnson Charles, and some decent all-rounders in there, the batting lineup for the Multan Sultans is very good as well. They may not be as strong as Islamabad United but there is no question of us underestimating it.
Sultans have the standout bowler of PSL 6 in their lineup, Shahnawaz Dahani, who is the leading wicket-taker of the competition. Blessing Muzarabani, Imran Khan, Imran Tahir and Sohail Tanvir form an excellent bowling attack.
Predicted playing XIs
Colin Munro, Usman Khawaja, Muhammad Akhlaq(WK), Shadab Khan (C), Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Hasan Ali, Fawad Ahmed
Shan Masood, Mohammad Rizwan(C/WK), Sohaib Maqsood, Johnson Charles, Rilee Rossouw, Hammad Azam, Imran Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Imran Tahir, Blessing Muzarabani, Shahnawaz Dhani.