Of the five matches played before the Covid-induced break, Quetta Gladiators won just one, meaning that they will have to be nearly flawless when the begin the Abu Dhabi leg of their campaign tonight.
The 2019 champions have just two points at the halfway mark of the round robin stage, and if they are to give themselves a serious chance of progressing to the playoffs, they must win this one.
Fortunately, Quetta have a pretty decent record against Islamabad, having beaten them four times in their last five meetings, although the capital city side won when they met the last time, which was back in this February.
But unfortunately, Quetta have lost a ton of experienced players and superstars but haven’t added same amount of firepower.
Those who took the exit door are Tom Banton, Dale Steyn, Anwar Ali, Chris Gayle and Ben Cutting. Meanwhile, Andre Russell, Jack Wildermuth, Jake Weatherald, Khurram Shehzad and Zahir Khan form the quintet that has come in.
The big news ahead of the Islamabad’s second match of the UAE leg is that their star allrounder Faheem Ashraf is likely out for the next three games, starting tonight.
Ashraf, over the past few months, has seen his stock rise at a national level but on the domestic front with Islamabad, he was always a valuable asset. His loss could be felt big time by the capital city side.
Islamabad could have done without the injury setback, especially after their close defeat in the last game when they saw Rashid Khan steal the game from them with his last-over heroics.
Another cause of concern for them should be their batting unit, which failed miserably against Lahore last time out and would have managed an even smaller total than 143, had the lower order not put up a fight.