All You Need to Know About Islamabad United’s Strengths, Weaknesses and X-Factor

Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) most successful and the only side to win more than one PSL title, Islamabad United will be looking to maintain their streak and win their third title in PSL history. The Red Hot squad has been renowned for their explosive style of play and it promises to be no different in PSL 8.

Islamabad has one of the best batting units in world cricket, filled with T20 superstars from across the globe. They will be led by star all-rounder, Shadab Khan once again, while the likes of Asif Ali, Alex Hales, Colin Munro, Hasan Ali, Paul Stirling, and Faheem Ashraf will once again form a solid core of the squad. The additions of Abrar Ahmed, Moeen Ali, and Sohaib Maqsood will provide extra star quality to their PSL 8 squad.

United will be determined to go one step further and qualify for the PSL 8 final after finishing at the third spot in the previous two editions.

PSL 8 Squad

Islamabad United will be led by Pakistan’s limited-overs vice-captain, Shadab Khan, and they have a strong 18-man squad at their disposal. The likes of Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Wasim Jr., and Azam Khan form a solid core of Pakistani contingent while superstars such as Alex Hales, Colin Munro, Paul Stirling, and Rahmanullah Gurbaz add a strong international contingent in the team

Here is their 18-man squad:

Shadab Khan (c) Alex Hales Rahmanullah Gurbaz Fazalhaq Farooqi Asif Ali M Wasim Jr.
Faheem Ashraf Hasan Ali Azam Khan Rumman Raees Paul Stirling Colin Munro
Abrar Ahmed Sohaib Maqsood Zeeshan Zameer Hasan Nawaz Moeen Ali Mubasir Khan

Previous PSL Finishes

United are certainly the most successful side in the competition with two PSL championships in their locker. They have finished at the third spot on three occasions while they had a disastrous campaign in PSL 5 as they finished at the bottom of the table. Shadab Khan will be determined to lead his side to glory and win their third title in the competition.

Here is how they have performed throughout PSL:

PSL Edition Year Position finished
1 2016 Champions
2 2017 4th
3 2018 Champions
4 2019 3rd
5 2020 6th (Last)
6 2021 3rd
7 2022 3rd

Strengths

Explosive Batting Unit

 

Islamabad United have continued with its strategy to go all out and they have a plethora of batters to do exactly that. The likes of Alex Hales, Colin Munro, and Paul Stirling are some of the most sought-after T20 players in world cricket and have the ability to take the game away from the opposition in a matter of few overs.

The likes of Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, and Azam Khan form an explosive middle order while the induction of Sohaib Maqsood provides them with depth in the batting unit. All of the batters in the squad have a strike rate in excess of 130, which truly reflects the firepower at their disposal.

Here’s the overall T20 record of Islamabad’s batting unit:

Player Innings Runs Average Strike Rate
Alex Hales 380 10,779 30.70 147.35
Colin Munro 346 9,195 30.65 140.87
Paul Stirling 317 7,818 25.88 141.86
Rahmanullah Gurbaz 107 2,730 26.25 152.94
Asif Ali 233 4,220 22.56 147.24
Azam Khan 88 1,897 23.71 140.93
Shadab Khan 143 2,088 18.47 136.91
Sohaib Maqsood 158 3,836 27.59 131.68

World Class All-Rounders

Islamabad possess some of the best all-rounders in the PSL. The likes of Shadab Khan and Moeen Ali are regarded as some of the finest T20 cricketers in the world while players such as Faheem Ashraf and Mohammad Wasim Jr. can hold their own with both the bat and the ball.

Shadab and Moeen will be the key to providing the team with a balance as both players have the ability to play at any position in the batting unit while their spin-bowling through the middle phase of the innings is an asset to the side.

Islamabad also picked up Mubasir Khan as a supplementary player. Mubasir has been in a rich vein of form in domestic cricket and was recently announced as the Quaid-e-Azam trophy player of the tournament for his brilliant displays with both the bat and the ball.

Here is the overall record of Islamabad’s all-rounders:

Player Matches Runs Strike Rate Wickets Bowling average
Shadab Khan 225 2,088 136.91 258 22.55
Moeen Ali 263 5,601 142.26 175 25.11
Faheem Ashraf 151 1,169 139.49 149 27.20
Mohammad Wasim Jr 50 170 118.05 59 25.00
Mubasir Khan 23 229 126.51 7 33.28

Weaknesses

Fast Bowling Unit

The biggest weakness in Islamabad’s squad is the lack of quality fast bowlers. They have the likes of Hasan Ali, Faheem Ashraf, and Mohammad Wasim Jr. as the spearheads in their attack, which by no means, is a fearsome bowling unit.

They did however pick up Afghanistan’s young pacer, Fazalhaq Farooqi, who has shown signs of quality in his short career so far. Farooqi’s disciplinary record is a worrisome sign as he was recently suspended by Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League (BBL) for disciplinary reasons.

United also re-picked their title-winning bowler, Rumman Raees, as he returned to full fitness after a prolonged injury. Rumman was part of Multan’s squad last season and showed glimpses of his class in T20 cricket.

Despite possessing some talented cricketers, Islamabad’s pace bowling attack fails to impress.

Player Matches Wickets Average Economy Rate
Hasan Ali 153 194 22.47 7.91
Fazalhaq Farooqi 39 41 23.41 6.49
Mohammad Wasim Jr 50 59 25.00 8.79
Faheem Ashraf 151 149 27.20 8.22
Rumman Raees 110 120 24.28 7.41

X-Factor

Much like Pakistan’s national team, Islamabad United’s x-factor player is superstar Shadab Khan. Shadab’s all-round prowess coupled with his leadership skills makes him one of the biggest commodities in white-ball cricket.

Shadab will be determined to continue his rich vein of form and lead Islamabad to their third title in PSL history. This will be Shadab’s fourth season as captain of the side and despite showing flashes of brilliance, Islamabad have struggled at the crunch times in the tournament, losing in the 2nd eliminator twice in the previous two seasons.

On a personal note, Shadab has been a star performer for Islamabad in PSL. He is the fourth-highest wicket-taker in PSL history with 65 wickets at an average of 24.23 and an economy rate of 7.26 in 60 innings. He has also held his own with the bat, scoring 800 runs at an average of 18.60 and a strike rate of 137.69 in 49 innings. He is the third-highest run-scorer in the franchise’s history.


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