DUBAI: A 50-run opening partnership between Fakhar Zaman and Sohail Akhtar in six overs put the defending champions on the defensive in the opening match of the much-awaited fourth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in Dubai on Thursday.
United won the toss and elected to field against Qalandars.
All eyes are on the biggest star attraction AB de Villiers, who is playing his debut PSL after retiring from international cricket for South Africa last year. His presence will boost Lahore Qalandars who are looking to turn around their fortune after crashing out of the tournament in all the previous three seasons.
Qalandars also have a new leader in Mohammad Hafeez, replacing former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum who had an underwhelming past two seasons with the team. All-rounders Carlos Brathwaite, Corey Anderson and batsman Fakhar Zaman round up the batting lineup.
Islamabad United, the winners of the 2016 and 2018 editions, also have a new captain in Mohammad Sami after they let go of Misbah-ul-Haq. Luke Ronchi, the most destructive batsman from last year’s PSL, will be back in action, as will a fit-again Rumman Raees.
Islamabad United: Rizwan Hussain, Luke Ronchi (wk), Philip Salt, Hussain Talat, Cameron Delport, Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Samit Patel, Mohammed Sami (capt.), Waqas Maqsood
Lahore Qalandars: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez (capt.), AB de Villiers, Anton Devcich, Brendan Taylor (wk), Sohail Akhtar, Carlos Brathwaite, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Rahat Ali