The final league match of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 will feature two in-form teams, Multan Sultans and Islamabad United, in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. Both the teams are on four-match winning runs. (More Cricket News)
United are already assured of a top-placed finish. They have won seven matches in nine so far, including four in the Abu Dhabi leg. After the suspension of PSL 6 T20 tournament, they resumed the campaign with a five-wicket defeat against Lahore Qalandars. But the Shadab Khan-led outfit responded with wins against Quetta Gladiators (by 10 wickets), Qalandars (by 28 runs), defending champions Karachi Kings (by eight wickets) and Peshawar Zalmi (by 15 runs). Another win tonight, and the two-time winners will enter the play-offs on a confident note.
Sultans are also having their own purple patch. In fact, the Mohammad Rizwan & Co are yet to taste defeat in the UAE this season, winning all four matches played so far -- against Kings (by 12 runs), Zalmi (by eight wickets), Gladiators (by 110 runs), and last season's finalists Qalandars (by 80 runs). All they need is a win against United to ensure the second-placed finish.
And they also have the added advantage of playing the last league game. Sultans will take the field after the Gladiators vs Kings clash, with the latter needing a win to stay alive in the play-off race. If Kings lose, Sultans will qualify for the play-offs irrespective of what happens in their match against United.
Four teams finishing with ten points each
If Sultans lose and Kings win, four teams will be on ten points each. In that case, the net run-rate will come into play to decide who join United in the play-offs. Before the start of the Saturday doubleheader, Sultans have the best net run-rate, +1.192; followed by Zalmi, +0.586, then Kings (-0.212) and Qalanders (-0.589).
UPDATE: Danish Aziz's 13-ball 45 and Mohammad Ilyas' three wickets helped Karachi Kings beat already-eliminated Quetta Gladiators by 14 runs and knock out Lahore Qalandars, on net run rate. Zalmi, Kings and Qalanders have 10 points each from five wins and five defeats. Zalmi have +0.586 net run rate, while Kings have -0.115, as against -0.589.
So, Multans need a big win to avoid taking the risk.
Head-to-head: There's very little to decide between the two. In their last seven meetings, United won four times, while Sultans have won three. In the reverse fixture this season, United won by three wickets.
Match and telecast details
Match: 30th match of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 between Multan Sultans and Islamabad United
Date: June 19 (Saturday), 2021
Time: 11:30 PM IST/ 10:00 PM local
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, UAE
TV Channels: Sony Pictures Network
Live Streaming: SonyLIV
Playing XIs in the last match
Multan Sultans (vs Lahore Qalandars): Shan Masood, Mohammad Rizwan (c & wk), Sohaib Maqsood, Johnson Charles, Rilee Rossouw, Khushdil Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Blessing Muzarabani, Shahnawaz Dhani, Imran Khan, Imran Tahir.
Islamabad United (vs Peshawar Zalmi): Usman Khawaja (c), Colin Munro, Brandon King, Muhammad Akhlaq (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Hussain Talat, Asif Ali, Hasan Ali, Zafar Gohar, Fawad Ahmed, Akif Javed.
Multan Sultans: Mohammad Rizwan (c), Asif Afridi, Hammad Azam, Imran Tahir, Imran Khan Snr, Johnson Charles, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Umar, Blessing Muzarabani, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Rilee Rossouw, Shahnawaz Dhani, Shan Masood, Shimron Hetmyer (partially available), Sohaib Maqsood, Sohaibullah, Sohail Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Usman Qadir and Muhammad Waseem.
Islamabad United: Shadab Khan (c), Ahmed Saifi Abdullah, Ali Khan, Akif Javed, Asif Ali, Brandon King, Colin Munro, Fawad Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Mohammad Akhlaq, Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir, Umar Amin, Usman Khawaja, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Zameer.