Table-toppers Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings will look to maintain their unbeaten runs when they take on Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi, respectively, in Pakistan Super League (PSL) third season's double-header in Dubai on Sunday, February 25.
The Sultans will be playing their third match of the ongoing season, having won the first two matches by comfortable margins — a seven-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi on February 22 and a 43-run thrashing of Lahore Qalandars the following day.
The new franchise has ridden on the batting performances of Kumar Sangakkara and captain Shoaib Malik. The former Sri Lankan batsman has scored 120 runs, including half-centuries in both his outings. Opener Ahmed Shehzad chipped in with a handy 38-run knock against the Qalandars.
With the likes of Kieron Pollard and Darren Bravo adding more firepower to the batting unit, the Sultans are favorites to down the United, who suffered a 34-run defeat against Zalmi on Saturday.
Notably, the Islamabad-based franchise was without its regular captain Misbah-ul-Haq as the former Pakistan star reportedly had a hamstring niggle.
United's batting unit looked depleted in the absence of Misbah as foreign stars Luke Ranchi, Chadwick Walton and Andre Russell failed to make the desired impact with the bat.
Shahid Afridi faces former franchise!
The highlight of the second fixture of Saturday is Pakistan star Afridi turning up for the Kings against his former franchise — Zalmi.
The 37-year-old made a huge impact on his debut for the Imad Wasim-led franchise as he took a blinder near the boundary rope during their 19-run win over the Gladiators on February 23.
The Kings are looking for their second straight win on Saturday. While their bowling unit looks settled, their lower-middle order's batting collapse in their season opener is an area of concern. The likes of Afridi and Wasim need to step up and deliver with the bat.
On the other hand, all eyes in the Zalmi camp will be on 33-year-old Pakistan pacer Umaid Asif, who helped his team beat United on Saturday with a five-wicket haul on league debut.
Live streaming information and TV coverage
- Worldwide live stream: cricketgateway.com
- India: TV: DSport; Live stream: DSport on Jio TV, Airtel TV; cricketgateway.com
- Pakistan: PTV Sports
- UK: Sky Sports Channel 792 (Prime TV)
- US: Willow TV
Schedule and squads
Multan Sultans vs Islamabad United - 11:30 am GMT, 3:30 pm Dubai, 5 pm IST
Multan Sultans: Shoaib Malik (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Darren Bravo, Abdullah Shafique, Saif Badar, Nicholas Pooran, Kumar Sangakkara, Sohaib Maqsood, Kashif Bhatti, Shan Masood, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Abbas , Umar Siddiq, Ross Whiteley, Imran Tahir, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Hardus Viljoen, Kieron Pollard.
Islamabad United: Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Alex Hales, Sam Billings, Mohammad Hasan, Chadwick Walton, Rohail Nazir, Luke Ronchi, Amad Butt, Jean-Paul Duminy, Hussain Talat, Samit Patel, Andre Russell, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Samuel Badree, Steven Finn, Mohammad Sami, Rumman Raees, Zafar Gohar.
Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi - 4 pm GMT, 8 pm Dubai, 9:30 pm IST
Karachi Kings: Imad Wasim (c), Babar Azam, Joe Denly, Colin Ingram, Khurram Manzoor, Lendl Simmons, Saifullah Bangash, Eoin Morgan, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammed Taha, Tabish Khan, Ravi Bopara, Hasan Mohsin, Shahid Afridi, David Wiese, Usama Mir, Tymal Mills, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan.
Peshawar Zalmi: Darren Sammy (c), Tamim Iqbal, Kamran Akmal, Andre Fletcher, Riki Wessels, Hammad Azam, Haris Sohail, Dwayne Bravo, Khushdil Shah, Umaid Asif, Saad Nasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Shakib Al Hasan, Liam Dawson, Sameen Gul, Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan, Mohammad Asghar, Wahab Riaz.