PSL 2021 Tournament Preview
- Pakistan Super League sixth edition will be played from 20 February to 22 March
- It will be played in a double round-robin league and playoffs format
- The tournament will be played only in Karachi and Lahore
Can the Karachi Kings repeat the dose? (Getty Images)
To say that cricket is a religion in the Indian sub-continent is an understatement. Cricket in any and every form has thrived in these parts of the world and the passionate crowd add to that excitement. The new kid on the T20 franchise tournament block ‘Pakistan Super League’ has moved into its sixth year and is promising to be bigger and better.
Every cricket fan in Pakistan is hoping that this season would be an uninterrupted one – unlike last year – and crowd up to 20% capacity will be present at the venues. We look at the six teams and how they are lined up in our PSL 2021 Tournament Preview.
Winners of the first and third editions, Islamabad are looking for a quick rebound having finished last in the previous campaign. The return of Alex Hales – the red-hot T20 players of the world at the moment – and the signing of Hasan Ali has strengthened their prospects. However, the absence of Dawid Malan and Colin Munro could be a spanner in their hopes.
Key player: Alex Hales
Barely few months after lifting their maiden PSL title, the Kings will hope to become the first side to win consecutive titles. A lot is riding on the shoulders of captain Babar Azam, who is probably the hottest all-format player in international cricket. Dan Christian and Imad Wasim make up a good all-round axis, but the release of Hales will leave void in their batting department.
Key player: Babar Azam
The sleeping giants woke up from their slumber to finish as runners-up last year, but can they take the next step? The signing of T20 global star Rashid Khan is a step in the right direction making their bowling even more potent, thanks to the presence of Shaheen Shah Afridi. However, the departure of Chris Lynn will put pressure on the batsmen to fill the gaping hole.
Key player: Rashid Khan
The only side yet to reach a PSL final, the Sultans are hoping to be led by their new signings. Captain Mohammed Rizwan and swashbuckler Chris Lynn come with a lot of expectations while James Vince and Shan Masood will look to play around. Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Irfan, and Sohail Tanvir make up a good bowling unit although the lack of a super star leader could be a concern.
Key player: Mohammad Rizwan
One title and two runners-up results otherwise, the Zalmi will be looking to do better than last season when their red-hot league form evaporated after the COVID-19 break. The acquisition of Mujeeb Ur Rahman for his debut PSL campaign is a massive positive, and so is the smart signing of Ravi Bopara. It could all come down to how well the bowling backup stocks can support Wahab Riaz.
Key player: Mujeeb Ur Rahman
The signing of Chris Gayle has to be the biggest statement of the season for the tournament, let alone the Gladiators. Mind you, Gayle alone can’t win the title for the Gladiators and his replacement for the season (when he leaves) Faf du Plessis will be an equally important player. All eyes will be on the Afghan spinner Qais Ahmed who could prove to be a surprise weapon.
Key player: Faf du Plessis