Since its inception in 2015, the PSL has grown from strength to strength. The 2020 edition has expanded to six teams, one each from the Pakistani cities of Islamabad, Quetta, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, and Peshawar.
The 2020 edition of the tournament was supposed to be held in the early part of the year, but the global disruption of sports following the Covid-19 pandemic put the tournament in uncertainty. However, the Pakistan Cricket Board assured stakeholders that there was sufficient interest in the tournament and financial backing for it to be held in November. Even the shifting of matches from Lahore to Karachi and Rawalpindi due to smog has done nothing to reduce the anticipation and excitement.
New Success for Quetta Gladiators?
The reigning champions of the PSL, Quetta Gladiators, will be hoping to take their 2019 success and replicate it in this tournament. The Gladiators are led by Sarfaraz Ahmed, who also keeps wickets for the team as is a key player in marshaling his troops. The Gladiators have all-rounders Shane Watson and Ben Cutting, explosive England opening batsman Jason Roy, and left-arm seamer Tymal Mills from the international picks. Watson was the Player of the Tournament in the 2019 edition of the PSL.
If Quetta can win this edition, they will become only the second team to clinch two titles, emulating Islamabad United. Islamabad boasts a strong team and won the 2016 and 2018 editions of the tournament, but they could only finish in third place in PSL 2019. Islamabad will be banking on the likes of Shadab Khan, the captain, and Asif Ali, to show them the way.
But, they too have a strong international presence. Colin Ingram and David Malan shore up the batting. They have Luke Ronchi behind the stumps and Colin Munro to contribute with bat and ball. To round things off, they have legendary South African fast bowler Dale Steyn, who will not only serve as the leader of the attack, he will mentor the younger players in the team, showing them the way forward.
Karachi Kings Will Try to Stamp Their Authority
The Karachi Kings will be looking to stamp their authority on the latest edition of the Pakistan Super League with Imad Wasim, the captain, hoping that batting sensation Babaz Azam can continue to delight his fans. Azam had made great strides in international cricket in the recent past, gaining plaudits from around the world before the pandemic halted cricket.
Karachi has Alex Hales, who can be used at the top to give his team momentum, and Chadwick Walton, the wicketkeeper from West Indies to shore up the middle order. They also rely on the all-round skills of Cameron Delport and can call upon Mitchell McClenaghan and Chris Jordan to pick up some key wickets and control the momentum of the game.
Lahore Qalandars Rely On Chris Lynn
The Lahore Qalandars will be hoping that Australian batsman Chris Lynn can continue to shine. The hard-hitting right-hander has proven himself in the past, taking on the best bowling attacks with some clean hitting to garner his team wins. But, he is far from alone.
Sohail Akhtar, the captain, can turn to his other international recruits, England allrounder Samit Patel, South Africa’s David Wiese, wicketkeepers Ben Dunk and Dane Vilas, and Sri Lankan leg spinner Seekkuge Prasanna.
Multan Sultans and Peshawar Zalmi Might Surprise
Rounding off the line-ups are the Multan Sultans and Peshawar Zalmi. Multan’s biggest name is Shahid Afridi, the former Pakistan allrounder, but they are also blessed with international talent. Rilee Roussow and James Vince in the batting department, backed up by Ravi Bopara and Wayne Madsen. Most interestingly, Pakistan born South African leg spinner Imran Tahir will show the way the ball.
Fiery left-arm quick Wahab Riaz leads Peshawar Zalmi, perfectly complemented by the genial media pacer from St Lucia, Darren Sammy. Lewis Gregory and Carlos Brathwaite are the go-to allrounders in the team. Tom Banton, the young England player, is fast making a name for himself as a top-flight batsman and wicketkeeper.