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How teams will handle the squad shuffle to ensure their win this season

Dawn News

The HBL trophy was unveiled in Karachi, National Cricket Stadium, on Wednesday. It was the first-ever unveiling ceremony that held in Pakistan soil, for the tournament.

Unveiling Ceremony of PSL, edition 5, for playoffs  

Jahangir Khan, the squash icon, brought the trophy to the stadium before presenting it alongside Ehsan Mani and other officials.

All the 5 captains were present on the occasion for the unveiling ceremony and photo session. 

The UK based Ottewill Silversmiths designed the trophy with a crescent and star representing Pakistan and the strips of an enamel coloured differently showing the diversity of culture in the country. It lengths 65 centimetres and weighs 8 kilogrammes.

The trophy will be used in all the future PSL events and the name of every year’s winner will be engraved on the trophy.

PCB’s chairman, Ehsan Mani said that we have fulfilled the promise of taking PSL back to its home country, where it belongs. He said the ongoing year was the biggest event in the history of Psl with 190 matches being played.

“Although the PCB itself was going through a “transitional stage”, its focus is “simply to make PCB a professional and highly efficient organisation working completely transparently,”

said the PCB’s chairman.

“We want to show the ICC and all the countries that Pakistan has the capability and depth to hold ICC events. PCB will bid “aggressively” for the said events,”

he added.

Which team will engrave its name on the trophy this year?

Cricket Pakistan

The huge spike of Covid-19 spoiled a lot of International events including cricket. Eight months before, the PSL edition 5 was called off in the sem-final stages due to the out-break but the league is back to finish what it has started this year. There is still a danger as the virus has not wiped out yet so there will be no greetings and cheerings, hence, no crowd. All the four matches will be played in National Stadium, Karachi under strict Sop’s and bio-secure conditions.

The isn’t just a formality to be fulfilled but one of them will be written in the history of PSL. Islamabad and Quetta are the two successful sides in the PSL. Remaining three teams will have the same opportunity to grab the trophy. Lahore will taste the first playoff match ever in the PSL  with Peshawar Zalmi in the eliminator. Multan Sultan on the other hand will take on Karachi Kings who were the top teams on the table. Karachi has the golden opportunity to win the trophy in their home ground.

Multan Sultan

Multan Sultan also like Lahore Qalanders have never been to this stage of the game. But they just did not squeeze into the playoffs as underdogs, instead, they barged into the playoffs as hot favourites to lift the trophy. They were the only team to win six games in the group stages in order to ensure a safe passage to the playoffs. 

Imran Tahir and Sohail Tanvir will be seen in action with the ball. Both of them have good economy rates below 8 while a lethal combination with the bat makes them strong competitors with Masood and Rossouw on the top order. Khushdil Shah, Zeeshan Ashraf and James Vince back them in the middle order.

 Squad: Shan Masood (c), Adam Lyth (England), Ali Shafiq, Bilawal Bhatti, Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe), Imran Tahir (South Africa), Joe Denly (England), Junaid Khan, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Ilyas, Mohammad Irfan, Ravi Bopara (England), Rilee Rossouw (South Africa), Rohail Nazir, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Usman Qadir and Zeeshan Ashraf.

Peshawar Zalmi

Peshawar Zalmi also has a well-balanced side with African skipper, Faf Du Plessis playing debut for Peshawar. He will have a good impact on the top order. Peshawar will miss the giant Pollard and Tom Banton thrilling strikes but they have covered it well-enough with other foreign players. 

Squad: Wahab Riaz (c), Aamir Ali, Adil Amin, Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies), Faf du Plessis (South Africa), Haider Ali, Hardus Viljoen (South Africa), Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Khurram Shehzad, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Mohsin, Rahat Ali, Saqib Mahmood, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Umar Amin and Yasir Shah.

Lahore Qalandars

After sitting on the back seat for four years, Lahore has finally crossed the line to the playoffs for the first time. Their struggles have finally resulted in good and Rana Fawad will be the happiest man on the dressing room. They did not start well in the tournament after losing four out of five but then they gave a great come-back in the final five games for which they won four and made into the playoffs.

Squad: Sohail Akhtar (c), Tamim Iqbal (Bangladesh), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, David Wiese (South Africa), Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Shinwari, Samit Patel (England), Haris Rauf, Agha Salman, Ben Dunk (Australia), Farzan Raja, Jaahid Ali, Abid Ali, Mohammad Faizan, Maaz Khan, Dane Vilas (South Africa) and Dilbar Hussain.

Karachi Kings

Karachi has a golden opportunity to win their first-ever title in their home ground. Head coach, Dean Jones took KK to the second place of the table. He died recently of heart stroke and he will be missed for his hard work for the franchises and the work he has done to bring cricket back to Pakistan. 

Alex Hales who was tested positive in March has returned back to the side to play a key role in the top order. Jordan will be absent as he has to play a T20 series with West Indies. Overall, the have a nice combination of pace and batting which can turn things towards their side.

Squad: Imad Wasim (c), Aamer Yamin, Alex Hales (England), Arshad Iqbal, Awais Zia, Babar Azam, Cameron Delport (South Africa), Chadwick Walton (West Indies), Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Rizwan, Sharjeel Khan, Sherfane Rutherford (West Indies), Umaid Asif, Umer Khan, Usama Mir, Waqas Maqsood and Wayne Parnell (South Africa)

Things will be interesting to watch as all the four teams look in great touch. They have to fight every bit of it to earn it. The one who will plan big in this big event will surely lift the trophy. One thing is for sure, we will witness nail-biting encounters in Karachi.