Islamabad United v Quetta Gladiators
Sunday 5 March 14:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports
Alex Hales marked his arrival to PSL with a decent knock against Karachi as United chased down 201. Azam Khan was the star, though with 71 off 41.
There is gulf between United, Lahore, Sutlans and the rest but there is a worry about United's pricey bowling.
Possible XI: Munro, Hales, van der Dussen, Shadab, Azam, Asif Ali, Faheem, Mubasir, T Curran, Hasan Ali, Raees
Quetta are dreadful and keep finding new ways to lose. Their last effort against Lahore was quite something. They dominated with the ball, likewise in the powerplay and then produced an inexplicable brain surge to fail in a chase of 148.
Possible XI: Yasir, Smeed, Guptill, Hafeez, Iftikhar, Nawaz, Smith, Sarfaraz, Naveen-ul-Haq, Hasnain, Naseem Shah
Of the last 34 matches, there have been 18 scores in first-innings of more than 170. There is a more recent toss bias. Only seven of the last 23 have been won by the chaser. Still, we're not particularly fussed about trends when there is such a seismic gap between the teams. United for 180 batting first is a minimum and there should be an option on the par line.
How to play
United are 1.584/7 with Quetta 2.6613/8. Ordinarily in a T20 we'd be looking for ways to back the outsider. And it would be relatively simple to make a case.
However, this Quetta mob are something else. And if you find yourself straining and searching to find a reason to back a side which has won once in six, it's probably not a good idea.
Thankfully there is value on the side markets. Step forward Shadab Khan. His leggies could feast on Quetta''s surfeit of right-handers so the 5/2 he takes most wickets and the 8/1 for player of the match have appeal.
We had line dup a top-bat wager on Hales but hisrecord against the axis of Hasnain-Shah-Naveen isn't good enough. He averages 19 compared to Colin Munro's 34. Munro is 3/1.
Batting Mohammad Nawz up the order to counter Shadab should be a no-brainer for Quetta but they just don't think straight. For the record he's 21.0020/1 on the exchange.