Currently stuck within the basement position, Quetta Gladiators are going to be hoping for a change of fortune to travel with the imposed change of venue. Extending their overall 7-5 H2H lead against Islamabad United on Friday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi is going to be imperative if they need to form the finals.
In their first match since the PSL was suspended over 100 days ago, Islamabad lost a nail-biting thriller against the Lahore Qalandars on Wednesday. Batting first, United posted a mediocre 143/9 with Faheem Ashraf top-scoring with 27. Lahore then chased the runs down off the previous ball for the loss of 5 wickets, thus making it the 14th of the 15 matches played thus far during this edition to be won by the team batting second.
That defeat for United broke a string of three wins which leaves them still on six points from five matches. If they’re to form it a hattrick of Championship titles (PSL1 and three winners) then much improvement from them is required, especially within the death overs (16-20). It’s here where they own the worst record within the league for the fewest sixes scored (ave 1.13 per match), leak the foremost runs per over (ave 10.77) and concede the foremost sixes with the ball (3.43)!
The Gladiators, winners of this tournament in 2019, inherit this match on the rear of their only success this campaign once they beat the lowly Multan Sultans by 22 runs, just their second success from their last 11 matches. The loss of their big hitters Chris Gayle, Tom Banton and Ben Cutting won’t have helped their cause, leaving captain Sarfaraz Ahmed (185 runs) and Azam Khan (SR- 144.11) as their key batsmen.
Unsurprisingly, problems for Quetta lay in both disciplines, where they own a number of the worst overall league averages – with the bat (23.32), with the ball (31.18 per wicket) and bowling economy rate (9.07rpo). They reacted by recently signing Australian imports southpaw Jake Weatherald and all-rounder Jack Wildermuth to hopefully improve those stats. The Gladiators will undoubtedly start the match as underdogs but they won’t be too fazed by that tag as they need to win 16 of their 31 matches when made outsiders.
Sarfaraz Ahmed (c) (wk), Faf du Plessis, Azam Khan, Saim Ayub, Ben Cutting, Andre Russell, Mohammad Nawaz, Zahid Mehmood, Usman Khan, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain
Usman Khawaja, Colin Munro, Shadab Khan (c) , Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Rohail Nazir (wk), Hassan Ali, Fawad Ahmed, Muhammad Wasim
Players to watch: Faheem Ashraf (IU) has kept things tight together with his seamers this edition going at just 6.52 rpo. He is going to be hoping to temper Sarfaraz (QG), who has a rock bottom dot ball percentage (26.5%) within the PSL within the UAE.
Stat attack: Islamabad has scored the foremost powerplay runs altogether in five of their PSL 6 matches.
The highest team score made in Abu Dhabi is 180/9 by Quetta v United in 2019.
Hasan Ali owns the simplest economy rate (5.80rpo) this season of all bowlers on either side.
Islamabad has accrued 24 sixes thus far compared to Quetta who has clubbed 27.