Ed Hawkins says Islamabad are charging towards the PSL title in Abu Dhabi and Zalmi could be trampled on Thursday
"We will keep faith in Shoaib Malik for top-bat honours for Zalmi. Our strategy is to wait in-play and take at least a couple of points bigger"
Islamabad United v Peshawar Zalmi
Thursday 17 June 14.00
TV: live on Sky Sports
United eye title
Islamabad United are confirmed in the play-offs and barring a mathematical upset they are certain to finish in the top two. They have won six of their eight matches and since the re-start they have put their foot on the throat of opponents.
They hammered Karachi Kings the holders and outclassed tournament favourites Lahore Qalandars. Colin Munro has led the charge with brutal runs in the opening slot while Iftikhar Ahmed and Asif Ali have also found their range just in time to nudge the Pakistan selectors.
There is a chance that they could be in ruder health for the play-offs. Faheem Ashraf might not recover in time for the group stage denouement but he has a shout of returning for the big games. United could also tinker with their XI. Usman Khawaja has struggled alongside Munro so Brandon King is an option.
Possible XI King, Munro, Akhlaq, Iftikhar, Talat, Shadab, Asif, Hasan, M Wasim, Ali Khan, Akif
Zalmi could be about to run out of steam at the crucial time. They are slap bang in the play-off race but lost three overseas players at the worst possible time. Not that it's anyone else's fault but their own short-term recruitment team strategy.
David Miller, Fabian Allen and Fidel Edwards, who didn't play a game, are on their way to the Caribbean for the T20 series. Jono Wells, the Adelaide Striker, has been called up but they lack strength in depth.
At least they come into this one off the back off a strong performance. They humiliated Karachi Kings by six wickets after restricting them to 109. Afghan hitter Hazratullah Zazai smashed 63 from 26. That solved the problem of Haider Ali's poor form in the opening slot.
Possible XI Zazai, Akmal, Haider, Malik, Wells, Powell, Rutherford, Wahab, Abrar, Umaid, Irfan, Sameen
The first-innings scores so far at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium (1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 108-2/190-2/166-2/197-1/133-2/170-1/176-1/143-2. Chasing may well be easier with dew around. Zalmi managed to return to mean ways with the ball against Kings so we're not rushing for big runs. Instead this could be a game where we go for the extreme lows, possibly 120 or 130, on innings runs. But we'll caveat with Zalmi batting first as we're not enamoured with that batting line-up.
Be quick on United price
An early show has Islamabad at 1.855/6 favourites. We don't expect that price to last so snap it up while you can.
Zalmi, despite that win last time, cannot hope to be as strong now they have had to reshuffle and United's dominance should continue. Closer to the off they will probably be in the 1.705/7 region.
When these sides met in part one, Zalmi knocked over United for just 118. It's a revenge mission for Islamabad and they should accomplish it.
Munro is 13/5 for top United bat with Sportsbook which seems about right. One price we do like is Rohail Nazir at 5s. He's been dropped but if he plays he bats at No 3 so it's a wrong price from that point of view. His replacement, Mohammad Ahklaq, is too big at 15/2 for the same reason.
We will keep faith in Shoaib Malik for top-bat honours for Zalmi. He has less to beat now and goes off at 4/1. Our strategy is to wait in-play and take at least a couple of points bigger.
The great Kohli debate on Cricket...Only Bettor
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