The Pakistan Super League, which was founded in 2015 by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has witnessed a number of breathtaking performances in the two seasons that have taken place so far. Be it seemingly impossible rum-knocks, match-turning bowling spells, or all-round displays of excellent cricket, the Pakistan Super League has been filled with it all. On that note and ahead of the PSL 2018 edition, we take a look at 5 players who will most likely take the third edition of the Pakistan Super League by storm.
5 players to watch out in the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2018):
1. Babar Azam (Karachi Kings)
Currently world’s number 1 T20 batsman, Babar Azam is a hot pick for PSL 2018. He will enter the third edition of the Pakistan Super League in red-hot form, with consecutive centuries in the semi-final and final matches of the Regional One-Day Cup. After a minor blip in his form in the recent ODI leg of Pakistan’s tour of New Zealand, Azam was back in shape during the successive T20Is, helping his side defeat the Kiwis 2-1.With second-highest runs (291) in the 2017 edition of the Pakistan Super League, and fifth highest in PSL history, Babar Azam is likely to play the lead role for Karachi Kings and he must do it well if they want to succeed in the tournament.
2. Kamran Akmal (Peshawar Zalmi)
Although the last Pakistan fixture that the wicketkeeper-batsman played was a Test in 2011, Kamran Akmal is still going strong in the Pakistan Super League, however, not without his fair share of disappointments, as Akmal possesses an ability to impress and disappoint with equal ease. Nonetheless, Kamran Akmal is still the highest scorer of the Pakistan Super League, with 353 runs from 11 innings in the 2017 edition, with a strike rate of 129.30. We expect the 35-year-old Pakistan cricketing veteran to put on exhilarating batting displays in the PSL 2018 as well.
3. Shahid Afridi (Karachi Kings)
Shahid Afridi has been retired from international cricket for a while now, but the veteran still manages to baffle the current cricketers with an excellent mix of scoring runs and taking wickets. Speaking about the 37-year-old’s performance in the last edition of the Pakistan Super League, Afridi scored 177 runs in 8 innings, registering an average of 25.28, and a strike rate of 173+. The former Pakistan cricketer also managed to pick two wickets, giving an economy rate of 6.75, which is not so bad as far as the T20 formats go.Shahid Afridi can be said as one of the main reasons behind his PSL 2017 team Peshawar Zalmi‘s emergence as the champions of the second edition of the Pakistan Super League. And following the same logic, we expect him to leave his mark in PSL 2018 as well.
4. Sunil Narine (Lahore Qalandars)
While the change in the West Indies cricketer’s bowling action might have seemed to made him a little less effective, Sunil Narine is slowly turning into a much more lethal asset in the shortest format. With his bowling experience, and an ever-increasing knack to use the bat wittily, Narine has established himself a valuable asset lower in the batting order. Coming from an impressive performance in the Big Bash League’s recent season with the bat, the 29-year-old spinner has contributed his mammoth shares for the Lahore Qalandars as well.Playing for Lahore Qalandars in the 2017 edition of the Pakistan Super League, Sunil Narine scored 116 runs in seven innings at a strike rate of 181.25. On the other end, the 29-year-old was successful in delivering timely bafflers, as he finished with 10 wickets in 8 innings, as the joint seventh-highest wicket-taker with a stingy economy of 6.46. He will definitely be one of the mainstays in PSL 2018.
5. Amad Butt (Islamabad United)
Amad Butt has his origins in the city of Sialkot, which is a hot hub of everything related to sports. Apparently, the next sensation that has emerged out of Sialkot as a sports prodigy, seems to be the 22-year-old right-arm fast-bowling all-rounder, Amad Butt. He was selected in the very first edition of the Pakistan Super League by Islamabad United. As a young cricketer, Amad Butt has established his ability to hit the pitch hard with his bowling speeds which reach mid-140s easily.Amad Butt is a highly promising bowler and is very handy with the bat as well. He is well-suited in the lower-middle batting order and will look to play key roles for Islamabad United when it is his turn to bat. Butt’s chances to display excellent cricket in PSL 2018 are even higher as Islamabad United will look to fill the vacuum left by their previous star all-rounder, Shane Watson.