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United need to get their act together against the Sultans loaded with experience
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United need to get their act together against the Sultans loaded with experience

In the tournament opener, defending champions Quetta Gladiators lived up to the reputation and overpowered Islamabad United.

The victory was set up by the well-oiled bowling machine. Vastly improved speedster Mohammad Hasnain bagged four wickets and looked threatening throughout his spell.

For Islamabad, David Malan was the only batter who scored a half-century and there were no significant contributions from other batsmen.

In addition, there weren't many bright spots for Islamabad in their first game but having said that the two-time PSL champions would be content with Faheem Ashraf's all-round efforts.

Faheem's cameo down the order helped United propel the score to 168 and he followed it up with a typical disciplined bowling performance. The 26-year-old only leaked 18 runs in his three overs and earned some reward for his consistently probing line and length.

Islamabad United can also be very proud of unearthing Musa Khan and then investing in the bowler. He made an impact with the ball straight away and trapped top-flight opener Jason Roy lbw on the very second ball of his first over.

Rookie pacer Akif Javed is coming on the back of a successful ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup outing and thereafter he has been honing his skills at the National Cricket Academy, Lahore.

As a tearaway quick, it comes as no surprise that Akif idolizes the ex-Pakistan cricketer and the fastest bowler Shoaib Akhtar and he loves cranking up the pace. Akif created a fair bit of trouble for Shane Watson with the new ball and got discernable sideways movement.

Akif bowled an economical spell the other day and returned figures of 1/21. It will be exciting to see how he fares against Multan Sultans in the tomorrow.

For Islamabad to register their first win, they would want their top-drawer overseas players to fire with the bat. United have stick to their unwavering strategy of picking overseas batsmen in the player drafts and have relied on bowlers from Pakistan to get the job done.

Multan Sultans have selected an ageing and a dynamic bowling attack with the likes of Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, Imran Tahir and the one and only Shahid Afridi in the mix which gives Multan light-years of international cricket experience and an array of skills. Yesterday, Multan coasted home with five wickets and 23 balls to spare

In the clinical chase, the architects of their chase were newly-appointed-captain Shan Masood and former Quetta's middle-order bat Rilee Rossouw.

They made sure there were no major hiccups in pursuit of a modest total of 138 and Sultans ease through to victory to ensure a winning start. Afridi hit the winning stroke and before that got his leg-spinners and googlies working nicely for him. Multan has covered all their bases but Islamabad have always been high-achievers and they are proficient at sorting things out.

Islamabad United Squad

Shadab Khan (c), Dale Steyn, Colin Ingram, Faheem Ashraf, Asif Ali, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi, Hussain Talat, Rumman Raees, Amad Butt, Musa Khan, Rizwan Hussain, Zafar Gohar, Phil Salt Aqif Javed, Ahmed Safi Abdullah. Supplementary: Saif Badar, Dawid Malan

Multan Sultans Squad

Shan Masood (capt), Rilee Rossouw, James Vince, Zeeshan Ashraf, Khshdil Shah, Wayne Madsen, Shahid Afridi, Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara, Sohail Tanvir, Bilawal Bhatti, Rohail Nazir (wk), Fabian Allen, Mohammad Ilyas, Ali Shafiq, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Imran Tahir, Usman Qadir