Pakistan Super League is entering into its 5th season where all the matches will be played in Pakistan. Earlier, a larger chunk of matches were played in UAE while Pakistan hosted only a handful number of games every season. It sounds a risky move but they must have taken security factor very seriously before deciding to arrange this entire season in Pakistan.
In this article, we cover everything you need to know before the next season of PSL kicks off on 20th of February.
- Season : 5th
- Number of Teams : 6
- Starting Date : February 20, 2020
- Tournament Final : March 22, 2020
- Defending Champions : Quetta Gladiators
- Format : Double Round Robin
The tournament will begin a day after tomorrow with an opening ceremony which will be followed by the match between the defending champions Quetta Gladiators and the two times winner Islamabad United in a match in Karachi. Four cities Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi will host the 34 games including the playoffs and the final. All the playoff matches will be played in Lahore while Karachi will organize the big final.
All the afternoon games will start at 02:30 PM IST/ 09:00 AM GMT while evening games will begin at 07:30 PM IST/02:00 PM GMT. Here are all the 6 captains with their respective teams.
Islamabad United – Shadab Khan
Quetta Gladiators – Sarfaraz Ahmed
Peshawar Zalmi – Darren Sammy
Lahore Qalandars – Sohail Akhtar
Karachi Kings – Imad Wasim
Multan Sultans – Shan Masood
The league stage of the tournament will end on 15th March before proceeding to the Playoff stage where three of the matches will be played on 17th, 18th and 20th March. Following the pattern of IPL, top two teams from group stage will play the qualifier where the winner will proceed to play the final while the loser will get another chance to make it to the final in the Eliminator 2.
Let’s start our team analysis with the team which has the worst record in this tournament. The Qalandars have finished at bottom in all the four seasons. They have never been short of firepower so will they finally be able to redeem themselves?
- They have got couple of in form match winners in the form of Chris Lynn and Haris Rauf, who on their day can win their side games single handedly. Qalandars might finally break their jinx if these two win them couple of games apiece.
- The experience of Ben Dunk, David Wiese and Samit Patel playing in the different T20 leagues will come in handy for the side.
- They will also be boosted by the fact that they will play 8 of their 10 league games at their home turf in Lahore, in front of a passionate crowd. If they manage to reach the final, that game is also scheduled to be played there.
The side is filled with too many top order players. Hafeez, Fakhar, Lynn, Dunk and even their captain Sohail Akhtar, they all love to bat in the top order which leaves their middle order very vulnerable, especially in pressure situations.
Player to watch out for : Farzan Raja
Squad – Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shaheen Shah Afridi, David Wiese, Usman Shinwari, Haris Rauf, Sohail Akhtar (C), Salman Butt, Chris Lynn, Samit Patel, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ben Dunk, Farzan Raja, Jaahid Ali, Mohammad Faizan, Dilbar Hussain, Dane Vilas
Multan Sultans are a young franchise which were formed in 2018 only. With all the teams having best of the resources available already, the Sultans could only manage to get some of the youngsters. A lot of them don’t feature in their national side but they do have the experience of playing T20 Leagues. Multan didn’t reach beyond group stage in the last two seasons.
- Since it is a new team filled with lots of youngsters, the coaching staff has been packed with experience to help the players learn some strategies. They will have to do a lot of homework and planning before taking the field.
- Ravi Bopara, Rilee Rossouw, James Vince, Moeen Ali, Sohail Tanveer and of course Shahid Afridi share huge experience of playing this format. They can guide this young team during the crunch moments.
They have only got 3 matches at home which means they wouldn’t get too many opportunities to make a comeback. With Shaan Masood as captain, who is so young, they might struggle tactically.
Player to watch out for : Mohammad Ilyas
Squad : Mohammad Irfan, Shahid Afridi, James Vince, Junaid Khan, Ali Shafiq, Shan Masood (C), Mohammad Ilyas, Moeen Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Zeeshan Ashraf, Ravi Bopara, Sohail Tanvir, Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir, Fabian Allen (from March 7), Rohail Nazir, Imran Tahir, Bilawal Bhatti, Wayne Madsen (until March 7)
Karachi Kings is the only team left without a PSL trophy in this list now. They form a very formidable and balanced side and look a firm favourites to end their trophy drought this time.
- With only 4 overseas options, it is imperative for a team to have good local players. Karachi just have that with 5 of their 7 local players being a part of the national side. Captain Imad Wasim has got a headstart as he has got such a balanced side.
- Kings have Alex Hales as one of their openers who has been in such fine form off late. He was the second highest scorer in the BBL season which finished recently.
- Cameron Delport is such a good option to have in the middle order.
- Apparently, they don’t have too many weaknesses but the spin department looks a little light as Imad Wasim having to play a major role in the absence of any other experienced spinner.
Player to watch out for : Umaid Asif
Squad : Babar Azam, Mohammad Amir, Imad Wasim (C), Iftikhar Ahmed, Aamir Yamin, Usama Mir, Umer Khan, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Sharjeel Khan, Fawad Ahmed, Cameron Delport, Mohammad Rizwan, Umaid Asif, Ali Khan, Arshad Iqbal, Awais Zia, Mitch McClenaghan, Chadwick Walton
One can say they’re the CSK equivalent of the PSL and he/she will be absolutely right. They haven’t only been the most consistent team in PSL history but even the experience of the squad suggests that they follow the CSK method for the ultimate result.
- Zalmi has finished at the top of the group stage in 3 out of the 4 seasons and the reason behind their consistency is because they have always maintained their core strength. Darren Sammy, Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik, no matter how aged they are, they’ve always stuck to the same side.
- The side has a perfect blend of youth and experience. Tom Banton is a very exciting addition to the side.
- The bowling looks slightly week with the doubtful extent of fitness over Hasan Ali. Come the spin department and only Liam Dawson is the real deal. Just in case they need other slower bowling option, whom would they go to?
- Brathwaite is the replacement of Keiron Pollard till 7th March. He is good but by no means the same force.
Players to watch out for : Tom Banton
Squad : Hasan Ali, Kieron Pollard (from March 7), Wahab Riaz, Kamran Akmal, Darren Sammy (C), Imam-ul-Haq, Umar Amin, Tom Banton, Shoaib Malik, Liam Dawson, Mohammad Mohsin, Rahat Ali, Adil Amin, Amir Khan, Aamir Ali, Liam Livingstone, Haider Ali Khan, Lewis Gregory, Carlos Brathwaite (until March 7)
Quetta Gladiators have one of the strongest sides in the competition with a very large and loyal fanbase.
- Shane Watson and Jason Roy, the Gladiators have two of the most destructive openers in their tank. Even their half a good day would be able to take their side home on most of the days.
- Talking about the bowling, it has a terrific combination of angle, pace and length. Tymal Mills brings left arm angle into equation and has a great change of pace. While Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain are two quick right armers who need no introduction.
- They have the same weakness which Karachi Kings possesses. Apart from Mohammad Nawaj, they don’t seem to have too many options.
- Unlike other teams, they don’t have a home venue to play at and so they would miss the home support.
Player to watch out for : Jason Roy
Squad : Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C), Shane Watson, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hasnain, Ahsan Ali, Naseem Shah, Jason Roy, Ben Cutting, Sohail Khan, Tymal Mills, Abdul Nasir, Arish Ali Khan, Azam Khan, Keemo Paul (from March 7), Khurram Manzoor, Zahid Mehmood (until March 7)
They are the most successful side after winning 2 of the 4 PSL seasons and they possess a strong challenge to the other team for the third silverware.
- Islamabad United have a plethora of match changing players. Dale Steyn, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro and Phil Salt have the capability to affect the outcome of a match.
- Their bowling stocks also look somewhat light beneath the big-name trio up front, with one-cap white-ball internationals Zafar Gohar and 19-year-old Musa Khan joined by Rumman Raees, who has been out of favour for more than two years.
Player to watch out for : Faheem Ashraf
Squad : Shadab Khan (c), Faheem Ashraf, Asif Ali, Saif Badar, Amad Butt, Zafar Gohar, Rizwan Hussain, Colin Ingram, Akif Javed, Musa Khan, Dawid Malan , Colin Munro , Rumman Raees, Luke Ronchi (wk) , Ahmed Safi Abdullah, Phil Salt , Dale Steyn , Hussain Talat.