The fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2020) kicks off on February 20 with Islamabad United taking on defending champions Quetta Gladiators. The Shadab Khan-led Islamabad United are one of the favourites to go all the way to lift the title and a good PSL draft ensured that they are one of the best teams on paper in the upcoming PSL 2020. Islamabad United are the only team to lift the PSL title twice and would look to add another one to their tally with a win in the PSL 2020.
Those moments of glory!!! First ever #HBLPSL Final.— Islamabad United (@IsbUnited) February 19, 2020
That’s it. We are here. Tomorrow is the day. Let’s win the THIRD ONE boys. 🏆🏆🏆
One day to go for #HBLPSLV...!#RangJeetKaLaalHai #UnitedWeWin #RedHotSquad🦁 pic.twitter.com/XJKOOXGThi
Islamabad United had a decent season the last time around, finishing third in the PSL 2019 group stage to advance to the playoffs. The two-time champions won five of their 10 games in the season, having finished behind Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators. In the Eliminator against Karachi Kings, Islamabad United chased down the target of 162 by four wickets with three balls to spare. In Eliminator 2, Islamabad United faced Peshawar Zalmi, but succumbed to a heavy 48-run defeat, failing to chase down a stiff target of 215.
Islamabad United are the most successful side in PSL history with two title wins. The franchise is owned by Leonine Global Sports, an entity of Leonine Global Investments owned by Ali Naqvi and Amna Naqvi. The Islamabad franchise was sold to Leonine Global Sports for $15 million by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB). The Leonine Global Investments also owns Hong Kong Island United, a franchise team in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz.
Islamabad United added some quality T20 stars to their roster in the PSL draft ahead of the PSL 2020 season. The two-time champions retained the services of Pakistan stars Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, while also chose to keep New Zealand wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi. Shadab Khan was appointed was as the new team captain, while Pakistan head coach and selector Misbah-ul-Haq will be the main man in the backroom staff. The draft saw Islamabad United add the South African duo of Dale Steyn and Colin Ingram along with Colin Munro, Philip Salt, Dawid Malan and Rumman Raees.
Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan (c), Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Luke Ronchi (wk), Musa Khan, Amad Butt, Rizwan Hussain, Dale Steyn, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, Zafar Gohar, Phil Salt, Akif Javed, Dawid Malan, Saif Badar, Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Rumman Raees.
Dale Steyn will look forward to putting in a string of impressive performances for Islamabad United before IPL 2020. The South African pacer was re-purchased by Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Virat Kohli-led side would hope that Steyn can repeat some of his performances from the Mzansi Super League in the PSL and stay in shape for the IPL 2020. Luke Ronchi, Colin Munro, Colin Ingram and Phil Salt, who went unsold in the IPL 2020 Auctions, would hope that they can showcase their talents in the PSL 2020 and grab a contract if an injury occurs.