Ed Hawkins previews the first PSL play-off from Abu Dhabi on Monday with Islamabad on the charge...
"Dhani shared honours on Saturday and should be favourite. For United Faheem is not listed but we could get as big as 10/3"
Islamabad United v Multan Sultans
Monday 21 June 14.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
Islamabad have received a major boost ahead of the play-offs with the return of Faheem Ashraf, who has recovered from split webbing. Faheem's all-round ability strengthens the tail and adds potency.
A win for United takes them straight to the final. And they will be confident of doing so after they beat the Sultans in a dress-rehearsal on Saturday. Despite the danger of resting key men, they did so anyway. Usman Khawaja, Colin Munro and Hasan Ali were given a day off. All three should come back in.
Possible XI Khawaja, Munro, King, Talat, Iftikhar, Asif, Akhlaq, Faheem, Hasan, Ahmed, Akif
Sultans' four-game winning streak in Abu Dhabi was ended by United, who looked a cut above. It should worry them that it wasn't a full-strength opposition.
They could post only 149 with Mohammad Rizwan's sudden inability to convert a start becoming a concern. His 26 from 24 was far too slow as well.
Shan Masood, however, ticked along at a strike rate of 159 while they key wicket proved to be the dangerous Sohaib Maqsood, who will hope for a call from the Pakistan selectors. In the chase, Multan were always struggling for a foothold and the fact it went to the last four balls flattered them.
Possible XI Masood, Rizwan, S Maqsood, Charles, Rossouw, Kushdil, Tanvir, Tahir, Muzarabani, Imran Khan.
The first-innings scores so far at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 149-2/176-1/169-1/176-1/183-1/108-2/190-2/166-2/197-1/133-2/170-1/176-1/143-2. Sultans' poor batting show was further proof that 170 is a minimum batting first.
Interesting, Betfair Sportsbook went 6/4 that both busted 160 on Saturday. Now they go 4/6. United's blitzing opening pair hold they key for such a bet and you'd want them batting first to raise expectations.
Sultans hike in-play
United are 1.748/11 with Sultans expected to go off at around the 2.255/4 mark. Judging by the last meeting and the fact that United have won six matches in a row dating back to the first leg, it's hard to argue.
Still, that doesn't mean we have to bet them at such odds. But if we are going to take them on, we'll want inflated odds on Sultans. With the obligatory fast start from United batting first we could get something closer to 2.809/5.
Rizwan has been boosted from 9/5 to 12/5 for top Sultans bat. He is overdue a win but the fluency which he displayed in part one has deserted him. So much so that Babar Azwan has overtaken him for top tournament runscorer. Maqsood, the main man now, is 4s.
Khawaja and Munro get 13/5 and 11/4 quotes respectively for top United runscorer. Asif Ali is 13/2 but he's an in-play bet from 20s.
With the ball, Shahnawaz Dhani is again underrated at 10/3. He shared honours on Saturday and should be favourite. For United Faheem is not listed but we could get as big as 10/3.
Ed Hawkins P-L
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l