Islamabad have a bit of a crisis on their hands now. Their star opener Alex Hales has suspiciously withdrawn from the remainder of the tournament citing “personal reasons” while three of their players have picked up injuries.
Star allrounder and captain Shadab Khan is nursing a groin injury, while Zeeshan Zameer and Muhammad Akhlaq also have knocks and bruises of their own. Even Colin Munro is not a 100 per cent fit. With Shadab out, Asif Ali will lead Islamabad in this game.
Afghanistan’s Rahmanullah Gurbaz is also expected to leave due to his international commitments, with England’s Will Jacks set to replace him.
Consistency has been a problem for Islamabad this season. They’ve yet to win consecutive games, with their mode of operation being to alternate between wins and losses. They defeated Karachi in their last game, which means this game presents them with another chance to shackle themselves free of that unwanted trend.
After dropping two straight matches to Multan Sultans in different cities, Peshawar Zalmi have bounced back and put together consecutive wins – one over Karachi Kings and the other against Quetta Gladiators.
The win over Karachi was by a bigger margin but less impressive as Karachi are the worst team in the league right now. But the defeat of Quetta deserves a mention as the Gladiators are one of the contenders now.
Two men who stood out were Hussain Talat — whose 33-ball 51 and key wicket of Quetta captain Sarfaraz Ahmed were notable contributions — and Usman Qadir, who took three wickets and all of recognized batters.