Islamabad United coach Dean Jones said his side has "been through hell" over the last few days after two of their players, Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif, were provisionally suspended by the PCB as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged attempts to corrupt the 2017 Pakistan Super League. Three other players - Mohammad Irfan, who also plays for Islamabad, Zulfiqar Babar and Shahzaib Hasan - were questioned by the PCB's Anti-Corruption Unit as part of the investigation.
Sharjeel and Latif were suspended a day after the defending champions won the opening match of the 2017 edition, beating Peshawar Zalmi by seven wickets (D/L method). They lost their second match, however, on Saturday, going down by six wickets against Lahore Qalandars.
"Emotionally and physically the team has been through hell," Jones said after the match on Saturday. "All in all, we're trying to prepare these guys coming into the match and it's not been the best preparation, I'll be honest with that. The boys came here, they wanted to get out here and have some fun and play. Unfortunately it hasn't worked that way."
Irfan made way for Rumman Raees in the XI for the second match, while Asif Ali took Sharjeel's place. Put in to bat, Islamabad made a solid start with a 73-run opening stand between Dwayne Smith and Sam Billings. They went on to score 158 for 7, with captain Misbah-ul-Haq hitting 61 not out off 36 balls.
Qalandars, however, chased down the target with 10 balls to spare. "When you lose, it's always difficult," Jones said. "It's our first loss in seven games if you want to look back from last year to now. It was a big game for us in a lot of ways but it's one and one [a victory and a loss in 2017], and we are in a position a lot of teams would want to be in.
"The good thing is we've got a four-day spell now before our next game, when we go down to Sharjah. We'll regroup, go out and enjoy each other's company like we always do. It's my job as a coach to remind them that we failed a bit today but we're in a pretty good position."
Jones said that Misbah had been a calming influence on the side.
"Misbah's always calm, cool and collected," he said. "He doesn't give a lot of emotion away, that's the good thing about him as not many people see the humorous side of him, but we've seen a bit of that over the past 24 hours to loosen things up. From our owners to Wasim and our senior players, it's been a bit of a tough time but now we'll regroup and we'll get together and move on.
"Can I just say well done to the PCB? I think they have handled everything over the past 48 hours really well. We're here to keep this great game clean and we'll do everything we can to do that."