Pakistan Super League set to be bigger and better in 2018

Umaid Ibtisam guide Zalmi to win in HBL PSL

Peshawar Zalmi beat Islamabad United by 34 runs in the first match of Pakistan Super League at Dubai this evening. Asif struck in his first over, getting rid of Chadwick Walton and Luke Ronchi cheaply. Teenager Ibtisam Sheikh, 19 also impressed with a three-wicket haul in only his second PSL outing. Armed with some seasoned performers in the shape of Andre Russell and JP Duminy and the precocious talent of Shadab Khan and Sahibzada Farhan with some fancy all-round talent of Faheem Ashraf, Islamabad will remain the front-runners for the title in a quiet sort of a way.

West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell has said he can not wait to return to action for Islamabad United in the third edition of PSL having missed a lot of cricket in the past 12 months.

But, that brought Kieron Pollard (21*) to the crease and he and Malik guided the chasers into a good position, leaving the Sultans with just 15 runs to knock off from the final two overs and seven wickets in hand. He was expertly backed up by Mohammad Irfan, whose extra bounce proved particularly troubling for last year's leading run-scorer Kamran Akmal; he fell for a duck attempting to pull cross the line.

In reply, Islamabad kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

The 22-yard greenish stripe at the Ring of Fire has been a delight for the bowlers while batsmen have to put up their best show to muster respectable numbers on the electronic scoreboards around the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. A five-ball duck from Brendon McCullum set them back but Zaman found an ideal partner in the form of Umar Akmal. Islamabad's batting is not as strong as it could be until Hales is available, but they will fancy their chances if they do not allow Wahab Riaz to cause too much damage.

Former Pakistan batsman and current commentator Ramiz Raja believes that the Pakistan Super League (PSL) has been a highly successful T20 tournament and is second only to the star-studded Indian Premier League (IPL).

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