Malik confident as Multan take on Islamabad

Newcomers have won both their matches so far, while capital side lost opening fixture against Peshawar


Nabil Tahir February 25, 2018
Early favourites: Multan have arguably the best side of the lot on paper and are being touted as the early favourites by many. PHOTO COURTESY: PSL

KARACHI: Multan Sultans captain Shoaib Malik has said his men are looking to make it three wins in three in their opening Pakistan Super League (PSL) campaign as they take on the winners of the first edition Islamabad United on Sunday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Multan have said they are aiming for the title and Malik revealed the confidence and motivation running through the camp at the moment. “The team is very motivated and after two convincing wins, we are looking to maintain a similar level of performance against Islamabad United,” he said, while talking to The Express Tribune.

Despite Multan’s strong start, there are those who believe that their lack of PSL experience may mean they are unable to sustain their current run. Malik, however, is eager to silence the critics.

“I am delighted with the way the team has been playing as one unit and the way we are all supporting one other in all three departments of the game,” he said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s with the bat or with the ball or in the field; everyone is giving their best in order to help the team win. We are looking forward to winning again and proving that we are a consistent team.”

Confidence in the Multan Sultans side is understandably high and so is the team spirit. “Being a part of a team like Multan Sultans where everyone is supporting everyone makes me really proud,” said Sultans’ South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir. “When you work hard in training and then win the game due to it, you get added motivation to do well in the upcoming matches.”

Tahir, however, was quick to warn his side against complacency. “Islamabad are a good team and it will be a challenge beating them, but we have done well in the last two games so hopefully we can do well in this one too.”

Multan pacer Muhammad Irfan also talked about how happy he is with the side. “The team you are playing for matters a lot,” he said. “We have a team that supports each other and the captain supports and motivates every player. That is the key to our success. I am enjoying bowling here and troubling the batsman with my bounce. I am looking to add more variation to my arsenal so that I can surprise the batsmen as well.”

And while Multan take on Islamabad with two wins behind them, the capital side haven’t had such a great start to their PSL campaign; suffering defeat in their opening match against Peshawar Zalmi on Saturday by 34 runs.

Pressure, therefore, will squarely be on the winners of the first edition and they may once again be without talismanic skipper Misbahul Haq, who missed the opening game with a hamstring injury. Fast-bowler Rumman Raees lead the side in his stead but the veteran’s experience was sorely missed as Islamabad could only manage a measly 142.