Islamabad United, considered to be the underdogs in season ONE, along with Quetta Gladiators. They both reached the final and everyone was shocked and impressed. However, Misbah-led ISLU became the first champions of Pakistan Super League. In the beginning of the inaugural season, ISLU was struggling hard and continuously gave poor performance. But a team led by Pakistan’s most successful test captain managed to reach the play offs where they faced Karachi Kings. With an extra ordinary performance by bowlers, especially Muhammad Sami and Dwayne Smith with the bat, they managed to win the match comfortably. Misbah boy’s next challenge was to face tournament favourites Peshawar Zalmi. With the help of Sharjeel Khan’s century, which was also the first century of PSL, ISLU managed to put up a good score on board. Zalmi’s failed to achieve the target of 177 and were knocked out of the tournament by the underdogs.
ISLU was all set to face the season dominating team, Quetta Gladiators. The star dusted Gladiators team put up an impressive total while batting first. But ISLU’s morale was high. By sensible batting by Dwayne Smith and Brad Haddin, ISLU boys comfortably chased the total and became the first champions of Pakistan Super League. This astonished almost everyone, but credits must be given to them for their collective performance and hard work.
Coached by Australian Dean Jones, ISLU boys entered the season two with more confidence, positiveness, firmness and attitude. But seemed like luck was not happy with boys. In the beginning of the season, they had to face a bunch of controversies as of their star openers Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif was booked in the spot-fixing case. Misbah boys moral was down, they were losing their confidence as their star bowler Andre Russel was also banned for a year for failing dope-test.
Season two final was to be played in Lahore, Pakistan. In light of that, many of their international players backed off. This was another shock for the team. Their star all-rounder Shane Watson didn’t play the eliminator match against Karachi Kings, that they eventually lost to and were knocked out.
Well, season two was full of ups and downs for ISLU boys but they are reborn, revamped and all set to give decent performance in season three as well. Wasim Akram was ISLU’s director and mentor who gave up his services and joined the Sultan’s squad. But nothing to worry about as former Pakistani Captain and Coach, Waqar Younis will be joining the boys as their fast bowling coach and Director.
Andre Russel, who missed the last season is also back in the squad. JP Duminy will be doing his PSL debut with United boys. Champion’s Trophy stars Shadab Khan and Faheem Ashraf are also in the squad. Whereas, they have Hussain Talat and Sahibzada Farhan as their emerging players. Among Samuel Badree and Pakistani pacer Muhammad Sami, they also have Rumman Raees, Amad Butt and Iftikhar Ahmad.
Former Aussie and Kiwi keeper Luke Ronchi will also be joining Misbah-ul-Haq in PSL 3.
Misbah’s eleven seems pretty balanced side, having a variety of pace and spin bowling and his squad also includes some hard-hitting batsmen as well. I think their team has potential to do wonders. As the legendary Misbah-ul-Haq is their captain. The boys will take full benefit of it, and they should.
ALL THE BEST ISLU BOYS.
For season three, their squad looks like this:
Batsmen: Misbah ul Haq (Captain), Alex Hales, Asif Ali, JP Duminy, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sahibzada Farhan
All-rounders: Amad Butt, Andre Russell, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Hussain Talat, Steven Finn (replaced David Willey)
Wicket-keepers: Sam Billings, Luke Ronchi, Mohammad Hasan, Rohail Nazir
Bowlers: Mohammad Sami, Rumman Raees (vice-captain), Samuel Badree, Zafar Gohar, Mohammad Hasnain
Player Covers: Samit Patel (as cover for Asela Gunaratne who was a cover for JP Duminy), Chadwick Walton (cover for Sam Billings)
Find Complete Schedule of Pakistan Super League’s third edition: Click Here