SHARJAH February 20: Defending champions Islamabad United and bottom placed Lahore Qalandars fight it out in a crucial battle at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium today. The two teams are eyeing a win as they clash for the second time in the 2017 HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) edition.
Qalandars won the first game between the two sides at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium and the Brendon McCullum led side have all to play for as they hope to salvage a spot in the top-four (Qualification for the play-offs).
Lahore have to recover from the disappointment of their last game (Saturday) against Quetta Gladiators where they failed to defend a 200 run first innings score amid an astonishing late assault by Kevin Pietersen which took the game away from the Lahore franchise.
Qalandars would be looking to rejig their top-order after the departure of Jason Roy, while the bowlers would also need to come up with smart game plans to counter the short Sharjah boundaries and a pitch expected to suit the stroke players.
United are breathing easier after their last ball win against Peshawar Zalmi on Saturday at the same venue. They are currently placed at number two in the five team table and a win today would secure their place in the last four.
Opener Dwayne Smith led the team through the tricky 137 run chase against Zalmi, captain Misbahul Haq and the United think tank would be hoping for a similar performance from the West Indian.
The bowling attack has done well in recent games; Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Sami and Samuel Badree have delivered some fine spells so far with Sami’s three wicket haul against Zalmi proving to be the real difference.
Today’s game is the final match of the Sharjah leg as the league now heads to Dubai where action will recommence from Thursday, the first two qualifiers will be played in Sharjah on February 28 and March 1.