Unbeaten Gladiators look to avenge last year’s title defeat against United

SHARJAH: Quetta Gladiators, who have won both of their matches so far this season, will clash with defending champions Islamabad United at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium tonight.

The Gladiators, led by aggressive Sarfraz Ahmed and riding on the red-hot form of Rilee Rossouw, will be looking to avenge their title defeat to United last year.

Sarfraz’s side defeated Lahore Qalandars by 8 runs in their first match and overpowered Karachi Kings by 7 wickets in their second match of PSL 2017.

Islamabad United, reeling from the fixing scandal which hit two of its players last week, won by 7 wickets against Peshawar Zalmi in this season’s opener but lost their second match by 6 wickets against Lahore Qalandars.

The two teams clashed three times in last year’s PSL. Quetta Gladiators won the first encounter by 8 wickets and the second by 7 wickets. But the season’s favourite faced a shock defeat to Islamabad United by 6 wickets in the final, losing the trophy to Misbah’s men.
In the spotlight
Gladiator Rilee Rossouw has been unstoppable with the bat so far. He scored a rapid 60 in the first match and a match-winning 76 off 53 balls against Kings. United will need a strategy to get him out before the damage is done. Kevin Pietersen’s struggling form meanwhile is a cause of concern for the Gladiators, and the pressure on him to perform is bigger than ever before.

Following the suspension of openers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, United recalled 40-year-old Rafatullah Mohmand as their replacement. A regular performer in domestic tournaments, he has played three T20Is for Pakistan in 2015.

Quetta Gladiators: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Kevin Pietersen, Ahmad Shehzad, Luke Wright, Umar Gul, Anwar Ali, Asad Shafiq, Tymal Mills, Zulfiqar Babar, Saad Nasim, Umar Amin, Mohammad Nawaz, Mir Hamza, Hassan Khan, Noor Wali, Bismillah Khan, Thisara Perera, Rilee Rossouw, Nathan McCullum, Mahmudullah

Support staff: Sir Viv Richards (Team Mentor), Moin Khan (Head Coach), Azam Khan (Team Manager), Abdul Razzaq (Assistant/Bowling Coach)

Islamabad United: Misbah Ul Haq, Shane Watson, Mohammad Irfan, Samuel Badree, Mohammad Sami, Brad Haddin, Sam Billings, Hussain Talat, Amad Butt, Dwayne Smith, Zohaib Khan, Ben Duckett, Shadab Khan, Ruman Raees, Saeed Ajmal, Imran Khalid, Asif Ali, Syed Muzammil Shah, Steven Finn, Rafatullah Mohmand

Support staff: Director/Bowling Coach: Wasim Akram, Head Coach: Dean Jones (Australia), Assistant Coach: Tauseef Ahmed, Fielding Coach: Johan Botha (South Africa)

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