The first match of the highly anticipated third edition of the Pakistan Super League will see defending champions Peshawar Zalmi taking on the PSL first-timers Multan Sultans on Thursday (February 22) at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in UAE.
With the addition of Team Multan Sultans, the PSL’s third season will be a four-week long tournament and will host 34 matches – 10 more than the second edition in 2017.
Peshawar Zalmi will be led by Darren Sammy – the man who led them to the title last season and also a two time T20 World Cup winning captain with the West Indies. Newly formed Multan Sultans have appointed veteran all-rounder Shoaib Malik and their captain and will be coached by former Australian cricketer Tom Moody.
Stats and Facts
1. Peshawar Zalmi have won the most number of matches in PSL history (12) and are tied at the top with Quetta Gladiators.
2. Led by the West Indian Darren Sammy, Peshawar Zalmi are the defending PSL champions.
3. Peshawar Zalmi’s Kamran Akmal is one of the only two batsmen to have scored a century in the history of PSL.
4. With 532 runs in the first two editions of the tournament, Ahmed Shehzad is the leading run-getter in PSL and will turn out for Multan Sultans in PSL Season 3.
5. Peshawar Zalmi’s Wahab Riaz has picked up 30 wickets in the PSL and is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
6. Multan Sultans have roped in legendary fast bowler Wasim Akram as their Director of Operations – the man credited with guiding Islamabad United to the PSL title in the first edition.
Peshawar Zalmi Predicted XI – Kamran Akmal (wk), Dwayne Smith, Taimur Sultan, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Saad Nasim, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy (c), Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan, Wahab Riaz
Multan Sultans Predicted XI – Ahmed Shehzad, Sohaib Maqsood, Darren Bravo, Shoaib Malik (c), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Kieron Pollard, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Imran Tahir
The champions versus the debutants marks the opening of PSL 2018 in what promises to be a fascinating game. Despite making their debut, the Sultans have plenty of T20 experience in their squad so it should not really impact their campaign although there may be some initial communication issues to overcome. Peshawar Zalmi come into this game fresh off an impressive friendly win over Lahore Qalandars in which Kamran Akmal and Dwayne Smith shone as openers. They could be the difference makers in this opening game but expect the Sultans to compete well even if they suffer an opening defeat on their debut.