The Multan Sultans have played only one game in the Abu Dhabi leg of PSL 2021, in which they edged the Karachi Kings by 12 runs. The win - only the team's second in the tournament in six games - could serve as the impetus to pull the Sultans out of the fifth place they find themselves in.
The Peshawar Zalmi have been a bit more active, having played two games in Abu Dhabi. They first fell to table-toppers Lahore Qalandars by 10 runs, before annihilating the Quetta Gladiators by 61 runs yesterday. Placed third with four wins from seven games and a healthy net run rate, the Zalmi could take significant strides towards a playoff spot with a win against the Sultans.
In the previous PSL 2021 clash between the two sides, the Peshawar Zalmi ended up on the right side of the result by a six-wicket margin. But the stars of that game from both teams - James Vince and Tom Kohler-Cadmore - aren't part of the resumption of PSL 2021.
PSL 2021: MUL vs PES Match Prediction
The Peshawar Zalmi are playing back-to-back games, but they should be relatively fresh after a thoroughly dominant win.
Haider Ali's period of struggle continued, and Shoaib Malik didn't build on the stunning fifty he scored in the Zalmi's first game of the Abu Dhabi leg. But several new faces stepped up for the team. David Miller and Kamran Akmal notched up explosive fifties, with new signing Rovman Powell smashing five sixes in in 19 balls as well.
That was a welcome sign for the Zalmi, whose batting lineup was carried by Malik against the Qalandars. And their bowling attack, which features captain Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Irfan and Umaid Asif, has delivered consistently in this tournament. Spin has been an issue for the team, however, and the fact that this is a night fixture doesn't bode well for Riaz.
The Multan Sultans, meanwhile, put in an all-round performance against the Karachi Kings. Well rested after the game, which was three days ago, Mohammad Rizwan's men will take heart from their excellent batting display and fairly clinical bowling performance.
The Sultans' replacement players failed to deliver. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Shimron Hetmyer managed a combined 10 runs, and they must come to the party in Match 21 of PSL 2021. And barring Imran Khan in the final over, none of the bowlers showed much wicket-taking threat.
Both teams come into this game on the back of a win. Both teams have clearly defined strengths and weaknesses, apart from a well-rounded playing XI that can adjust to the conditions on offer. Dew will play a part, with the chasing team expected to have a massive advantage in Abu Dhabi.
On paper, this clash is too close to call. The Zalmi's superior bowling attack might give them the edge, but anything can happen at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium. After two one-sided games on the trot in PSL 2021, a close encounter could be on the cards.
Prediction: Peshawar Zalmi to win
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