Pakistan Super League 2018 (Preview)
Pakistan Super League 2018 is all set to begin from 22nd February in UAE as the third season will see six franchises battle it out for the coveted trophy. Multan Sultans is the newest franchise that will participate in the competition alongside Karachi Kings, Islamabad United, Lahore Qalandars, Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi.
Reigning champions Peshawar Zalmi will kick off their title defense against Multan Sultans in the first game of the competition that will be played at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. A total of 34 games will be played in the competition. The preliminary games in the Pakistan Super League 2018 will be played on two venues i.e. Sharjah and Dubai. In Pakistan, Lahore and Karachi will stage the knockout games of the competition.
The Qualifier 1 game of the PSL 2018 will be played at Dubai while the other two games will be played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi said that Karachi will host the final of Pakistan Super League 2018 on 25th March.
Peshawar Zalmi led by Darren Sammy will be focused that his side gets off to a good start in the competition. Peshawar lifted their maiden crown last year as they managed to beat Quetta Gladiators in the finals of Pakistan Super League 2017. West Indies trio of Evin Lewis, Andre Fletcher, and Dwayne Bravo will help the side as they are proven performers in the T20 format. Kamran Akmal was the star player for the side in the last edition of Pakistan Super League.
Two-time runners-up Quetta Gladiators will be keen to go one step further to lift their maiden title after falling close in their two previous attempts. Sarfaraz Ahmed will lead the side for the upcoming edition. Gladiators have depth in the batting department as Rilee Rossouw, Kevin Pietersen and Jason Roy are in the setup for the coming season. The side has included good all-rounder as Shane Watson, Mahmudullah Riyad and Carlos Brathwaite are exceptional performers in the T20 format.
Inaugural PSL Champions Islamabad United will look to make amends for the last season as Misbah-ul-Haq will be keen to do better this time around. Rumman Raees will be his deputy for the coming season while Waqar Younis is the bowling coach of the side. The positive news is that Andre Russell will be available for the competition for United. JP Duminy, Luke Ronchi, and Alex Hales were their key picks during this season PSL draft held in Lahore.
Multan Sultans is the newest franchise that will take part in the competition. The side has good resources at their disposal in the batting lineup with Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, and Kumar Sangakkara in the squad. Kieron Pollard, Shoaib Malik, and Sohail Tanvir are quality all-rounders that provide the utility with bat and ball. Imran Tahir, Mohammad Irfan, and Junaid Khan are the premier bowlers for the side in the competition.
Karachi Kings have made some interesting choices this season as they looked their bolstered their resources on the bowling front by picking Australia’s Mitchell Johnson for the coming season. Kings have good players on the batting front as Colin Munro, Eoin Morgan, Colin Ingram were brought during PSL draft held in Lahore. Shahid Afridi, Imad Wasim, and Luke Wright are top quality all-rounders that provide depth to the side. Kings will feel reasonably confident that they will do much better this season after producing duds in the previous two editions.
Chris Lynn was the most expensive pick of the season as Lahore Qalandars went for the Australian T20 superstar in the PSL draft. Brendon McCullum, Umar Akmal, and Fakhar Zaman are aggressive players who have delivered scintillating performances in the T20 format. Sohail Khan, Mitchell McClenaghan and Mustafizur Rahman are new players picked during PSL draft for the coming season.
It is going to be a much closely fought contest this around as all six franchises look well equipped to fight for the ultimate prize.