The PSL 2018 points table is well and truly starting to take shape after Peshawar and Multan destroyed their opponents in their respective previous outings. After such commanding victories, the pair will now lock horns in an attempt to become the imposing figure of the two.
These are the sort of cricket matches we live for in the shorter-format of the game, two teams who are currently swimming in their own confidence whilst trying to better themselves each and every time they walk out onto the field. Both sides are currently placed in the top three, but it’s the Sultans who lead the pack early in the comp having lost just one of their four games so far. The battle between the two wicketkeeper-batsmen is a highly-anticipated one, both Kumar Sangakkara and Kamran Akmal have found form with the bat early in PSL 3 with a handful of fifties to their name, so that’s a match-up to keep an eye on throughout the night. The reason for Multan being the hottest property on the market at the moment can probably be determined through South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir’s performance with the ball so far, teams just haven’t been able to pick the 38-year-old. Tahir’s statistics speak volumes at the moment, teams haven’t gone about playing him the right way, so the big question for Peshawar is – can they show some resilience when the danger man comes on to bowl later tonight?
Peshawar are certainly going to need something special from someone in this one if they are to push Multan to breaking point, something that has only been achieved by Islamabad United in the first week of the tournament. Zalmi will lose Bangladeshi-duo Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman who are set to feature in their national squad for the Nidahas twenty20 tri-series in Sri Lanka. Iqbal is especially a huge loss at the top of the order, mainly due to his stability which then of coarse led to his proficient run scoring ability. The team will now look to the aggressive-Kamran Akmal and big hitting West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Smith in this upcoming encounter against the first-placed Sultans. Akmal has been quite-effective at the top of the order with two half centuries, while Smith struck an unbeaten 71 a couple games ago against the second-placed Kings. Peshawar skipper Darren Sammy remains in doubt due to injury, so Mohammad Hafeez will most-likely captain the side as well as playing a key role in Zalmi’s top order. While it may seem that they’re losing a lot of players through injury & departure, Peshawar would have been thrilled with the return of star-quick Hasan Ali who picked up figures of 3/22 against Lahore just days ago. English all-rounder Liam Dawson also claimed three wickets in his first game of PSL 3, doing some significant damage to Lahore’s top & middle order along the way. Andre Fletcher remains the likeliest candidate to replace Iqbal at the top of the order for tonight’s match.
You couldn’t have scripted a better start to the Multan Sultans inaugural season in the PSL, they’ve exceeded all expectations and are sitting on top of the table fifteen games into the tournament. It’s consistency-plus from Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara who continues to shine at the top of the order, while Imran Tahir is working wonders with the ball. For once, it hasn’t been the batting that has stood out amongst other things, more so Multan’s ability to work efficiently as a bowling unit which has done the trick so far. If I was to describe the Sultans as a whole, they’re the standout all-round team in the competition. Look at what Imran Tahir has done so far, his past three outings read 3/27, 3/19 & 3/19. That’s a clinical bowling performance, particularly in this format of the game where the batsmen tend to dictate the outcome of a game, but that’s where Tahir’s leg-spin gets the nod of approval in terms of changing the coarse of a match. Along with Tahir, Junaid Khan has been superb with his wicket-taking output as well, the seamer has seven wickets to his name which included a two over spell in the last match where he picked up 2/9, talk about making the most of your opportunities! As well as their flexible bowling attack, Multan possess an attacking batting line-up with the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik and Kieron Pollard forming the foundation as the heavy-hitters. Skipper Shoaib Malik is a class-above when it comes to adapting his game to a particular match situation, he seems to be able to effortlessly start launching balls over the rope when he decides enough is enough.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Peshawar Zalmi | PSL | 16th match | Dubai
- Hasan Ali
- Mohammad Hafeez
- Dwayne Smith
- Wahab Riaz
- Kamran Akmal
Wildcard pick – Andre Fletcher
Top 5 fantasy picks | Multan Sultans | PSL | 16th match | Dubai
- Imran Tahir
- Shoaib Malik
- Kumar Sangakkara
- Junaid Khan
- Ahmed Shehzad
Wildcard pick – Sohail Tanvir
Peshawar Zalmi (possible) – 1. Andre Fletcher 2. Kamran Akmal (wk) 3. Dwayne Smith 4. Mohammad Hafeez (c) 5. Saad Nasim 6. Liam Dawson 7. Khalid Usman 8. Wahab Riaz 9. Umaid Asif/Ibtisam Sheikh 10. Hasan Ali 11. Sameen Gul.
Multan Sultans (possible) – 1. Kumar Sangakkara (wk) 2. Ahmed Shehzad 3. Sohaib Maqsood 4. Shoaib Malik (c) 5. Kieron Pollard 6. Darren Bravo 7. Sohail Tanvir 8. Junaid Khan 9. Saif Badar 10. Mohammad Ifran 11. Imran Tahir.