PSL Playing 11: After months of speculations, Pakistan Super League will finally resume on 9th of June. The season’s initial part was hampered by Covid-19 in Pakistan earlier this year.
The remaining matches will be played at Abu Dhabi, and the final of PSL-6 will be contested on 24th June. With international fixtures and quarantine rules, bulk of the overseas contingent have undergone a major revamp in most of the squads, it will be interesting to map out strongest playing XIs for Pakistan T20 League.
After an extremely poor start to the season, Multan Sultans would be hoping to turn their fortunes as soon as the competition resumes. They have lost 4 out of 5 games so far. Captain Mohammad Rizwan and Shahnawaz Dhani have been impressive individually with bat and ball respectively. After losing 4 of their overseas players – Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Lynn, Adam Lyth and James Vince, they would want replacements to step up. Rahmanullah Gurbaz could spring a surprise with his familiarity with UAE conditions and attacking mindset.
Shimron Hetmyer, Jhonson Charles and Waseem Muhammad are exciting T20 options. Multan will need to work upon their death overs hitting and bowling in UAE if they are to pose any challenges going ahead. Their batting core has struggled to hit against spin while bowlers like Imran Tahir and Sohail Tanvir will enjoy conditions at Abu Dhabi.
MUL Playing XI: Mohammad Rizwan (C), Waseem Muhammad, Shan Masood, Shimron Hetmyer, Sohaib Maqsood, Khushdil Shah, Sohail Tanvir, Obed McCoy, Imran Tahir, Shahnawaz Dhani, Imran Khan
Currently at the second position in the points table, Peshawar Zalmi will have to fill the gaps with some of their important overseas players being unavailable for this half. Season’s highest wicket-taker so far – Saqib Mahmood will be replaced by Fidel Edwards. But unlike the Englishman, Fidel Edwards is more of a top and tail T20 bowler rather than the middle overs enforcer. Captain Wahab Riaz will have to do that role now for Peshawar Zalmi.
Liam Livingstone has been replaced by Fabian Allen, who himself is a thrilling all-round package in T20 cricket. Haider Ali will need some confidence against his weakness against pace bowling while the form of Kamran Akmal has been a major concern for the team management. Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be a valuable miss in UAE but there are enough mystery and variety in spin bowling department in the form of Abrar Ahmed and Waqar Salamkheil.
PES Playing XI: Kamran Akmal, Hazratullah Zazai, Shoaib Malik, Haider Ali, David Miller, Fabian Allen, Amad Butt, Fidel Edwards, Wahab Riaz ©, Abrar Ahmed, Mohammad Irfan
Defending champions have started this edition brilliantly as well. Having won 3 out of 5 matches, Karachi Kings are at top of the table currently. They have scored most runs so far in the season at the highest Run Rate while also conceded most runs and also at the highest Economy rate. So, they are a team with attacking mindset in the current setup.
One of their main performers, Joe Clarke won’t be available for UAE leg but his replacement Martin Guptill is not as effective in terms of SR in powerplay overs. Also, he might struggle against spin on slow pitches. Najibullah Zadran will play the role of death overs hitter while Thisara Perera will replace Daniel Christian. Bowling lineup will be largely dependent upon Mohammad Amir and captain Imad Wasim.
KAR Playing XI: Sharjeel Khan, Martin Guptill, Babar Azam, Chadwick Walton, Thisara Perera, Najibullah Zadran, Imad Wasim ©, Mohammad Ilyas, Abbas Afridi, Mohammad Amir, Arshad Iqbal
One of the strategically stronger outfits in PSL historically, Islamabad United have had a mixed start to this season in Pakistan. The team with highest Powerplay striker-rate currently, will be missing their top-order power of Alex Hales, Phil Salt and Paul Stirling for the remainder of season. They have replaced the trio with Usman Khawaja, Colin Munro and Brandon King in the replacement draft.
Muhammad Akhlaq can go big right from the first ball and can play at any position in the batting lineup. They have a deep batting lineup with the options like Asif Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan in the team. Pace bowling will be taken care by Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf while Shadab Khan and Fawad Ahmed will lead the spin bowling attack for Islamabad.
ISL Playing XI: Colin Munro, Usman Khawaja, Rohail Nazir, Shadab Khan ©, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Muhammad Musa
The team at bottom of the table and struggling to get any rhythm so far is Quetta Gladiators. They have recruited the likes of Andre Russell, Jake Weatherald, Jack Wildermuth, Zahir Khan and Khurram Shehzad for the UAE half of the competition. Faf du Plessis has been in top form at IPL and will be looking to replicate the same at PSL also. Cameron Delport, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Azam Khan and Andre Russell will form a strong middle order for them.
Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain will lead the pace attack while Jack Wildermuth will also be looking to make his mark for the upcoming T20 WC in October. Mohammad Nawaz will provide lower middle order batting as well as middle overs left-arm spin option.
QUE Playing XI: Usman Khan, Faf du Plessis, Cameron Delport, Sarfaraz Ahmed ©. Azam Khan, Andre Russell, Mohammad Nawaz, Jack Wildermuth, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Shinwari
Lahore Qalandars Playing 11
Lahore Qalandars will start the second half as one of the favourites for the title this year. Also most of their core from the earlier half will still remain intact for Abu Dhabi leg as well. Familiarities of roles do go a long way in T20 cricket and Lahore Qalandars can be definitely benefitted from that.
Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez and Ben Dunk will again play crucial roles in batting for them while Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf will lead the bowling attack. James Faulkner will replace the Englishman Samit Patel as an all-rounder.
LAH Playing XI: Fakhar Zaman, Sohail Akhtar ©, Tim David, Mohammad Hafeez, Ben Dunk, Seekkuge Prasana, James Faulkner, Zeeshan Ashraf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Ahmed Daniyal, Haris Rauf