As the Pakistan Super League second season action shifts from Dubai to Sharjah, Quetta Gladiators take on Islamabad United on Wednesday in what will be a repeat of the inaugural edition's final.
While defending champions Islamabad have faced mixed results so far in their campaign, Sarfraz Ahmad's men have made a strong start to the season. Despite posting only 136 on the board in their season-opener against Brendon McCullum's Lahore Qalandars, Quetta defended the total after a top-notch bowling performance.
Quetta's bowling unit, consisting the likes of Twenty20 specialists Tymal Mills and Thisara Perera along with left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar and Mohammad Nawaz, has done its job so far in the season. Mills and Perera combined to pick up five wickets between them in their second game of the season on Saturday, bowling out Karachi Kings for 159 after which skipper Sarfraz and South African import Rilee Rossouw guided the team past the line with a half-century each.
Despite the failures of top-order batsmen Kevin Pietersen, Asad Shafiq and Ahmed Shehzad, Rossouw, who has amassed 136 runs from two games, has helped the batting unit flourish. Sarfraz though would want a better contribution from the likes of Pietersen against a batting-heavy Islamabad, who proved their might on the opening day of the season against Peshawar Zalmi.
However, days after they snatched a seven-wicket win, Islamabad suffered a six-wicket defeat to Lahore Qalandars. While Brad Haddin, Sam Billings and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq have already registered good numbers in the season, Shane Watson's poor run in the middle order hurt them against the Qalandars.
Islamabad's bowling unit looks the weakest as they have conceded aplenty in their first two matches. It is also important for Watson to combine well with Saeed Ajmal as well as the lack experienced campaigners in the bowling department.
Pakistan: Ten Sports, PTV, Geo Super
Sri Lanka: Ten Sports, CSN
UK: Prime TV
West Indies: Flow TV
Bangladesh: Gazi TV
UAE: OSN Sports
Possible XI: Misbah (c), Billings, Smith, Asif, Haddin (wk), Watson, Imran, Amad, Ajmal, Sami, Irfan
Possible XI: Sarfraz (c & wk), Shafiq, Shehzad, Pietersen, Rossouw, Nawaz, Perera, H Khan, Ali, Mills, Babar