Betting tips, latest outright winner odds, tournament prediction - find out everything you need to know to help you place your bets on this second edition of domestic T20 cricket tournament of Pakistan, starting from February 9 till March 5, 2017.
The Pakistan Super League returns for its second edition with all the five city-based franchises that competed in the inaugural season last year. The tournament is set to have 24 fixtures in all - 20 in the group stage and 4 making up the playoffs and the final. The entire group stage as well as the playoff round will be held in the United Arab Emirates and will be hosted by Dubai International Cricket Stadium and Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The venue for the final on May 5 has not been confirmed yet but is likely to played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The group stage of the PSL 2017 will follow a double round-robin format wherein each of the five teams will play every other team in the competition twice. The top four teams on the points table at the end of the group stage will advance to the playoff stage. The first and the second ranked teams will clash in the 1st qualifier, the winner of which will be confirmed a place in the final. The loser of this match will face the winner of the eliminator in the 3rd qualifier, with the loser of the eliminator being knocked out of the tournament. The winner of the 3rd qualifier will then meet the winner of the 1st qualifier in the final of the Pakistan Super League 2017.
Read on for team previews, betting tips, latest odds and tournament prediction for the PSL 2017….
They won the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League last year under the leadership of Misbah-ul-Haq, beating Quetta Gladiators by six wickets in the final. The team finished third on the points table after the conclusion of the league stage with four wins and as many losses from eight matches. Islamabad United won the most number of matches in the first edition with a win percentage of about 64.
Sharjeel Khan scored the most runs for Islamabad United last season including one hundred and one fifty. Khalid Latif and Shane Watson were also among the runs and the trio will form the backbone of the team's batting lineup. Mohammad Sami was their leading wicket-taker with 12 wickets from seven matches and he will be the key man for his team with the ball.
Misbah-ul-Haq (captain), Shane Watson, Steven Finn (replaced Andre Russell), Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Samuel Badree, Mohammad Sami, Khalid Latif, Brad Haddin, Sam Billings, Hussain Talat, Amad Butt, Dwayne Smith, Ben Duckkett, Shadab Khan, Zohaib Khan, Saeed Ajmal, Imran Khalid, Asif Ali, Rumman Raees, Syed Muzammil Shah.
Currently captained by Kumar Sangakkara, the Karachi Kings kicked off the previous season with a comfortable win over Lahore Qalandars. However, they managed to win only one more game after that and ended the group stage as the fourth ranked team with two wins from eight matches. They were ousted from the tournament after being beaten by Islamabad United in the qualifier.
Ravi Bopara scored 329 runs including a couple of fifties from eight innings last year. He averaged close to 55 and will definitely be the one batsman to watch out for this season. He contributed not only with the bat but also with the ball as he took 11 wickets, making him a valuable player for Karachi Kings. Mohammad Amir will also be a big threat with the ball.
Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Shoaib Malik, Chris Gayle, Babar Azam, Ravi Bopara, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Safiullah Bangash, Shazaib Hasan, Sohail Khan, Kieron Pollard, Ryan McLaren, Khurram Manzoor, Kashif Bhatti, Abrar Ahmed, Abdul Hameed/Hasan Mohsin, Mahela Jayawardene, Usama Mir, Rahat Ali, Amad Alam.
Brendon McCullum will be leading the team who finished at the bottom of the points table last year despite having plenty of big names like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Yasir Shah in their ranks. Their first win came against Quetta Gladiators after losing their first two matches in a row. A five-wicket loss to Islamabad United in the final group game resulted in their elimination from the competition.
Umar Akmal was the highest run-getter of the tournament last year and he received the 'Best Batsman' award for his outstanding 335 runs that included four fifties. Lahore Qalandars will be counting on him again to deliver the goods with the bat. Spinners Sunil Narine and Zafar Gohar who took the most wickets for his side will be the key members in the bowling department.
Brendon McCullum (captain), Azhar Ali, Aamer Yamin, Sohail Tanvir, Sunil Narine, Umar Akmal, Jason Roy, Yasir Shah, James Franklin, Mohammad Rizwan, Cameron Delport, Fakhar Zaman, Bilawal Bhatti, Ghulam Mudassar, Usman Qadir, Grant Elliot, Chris Green, Saif Badar, Mohammad Irfan (Jr.), Zafar Gohar.
Peshawar Zalmi had an ideal start to their campaign last season with wins in their first two matches. After a three-wicket loss at the hands of Quetta Gladiators, they went on to win four of their next five matches to finish the league stage as table toppers with 12 points. They lost both the qualifiers that followed and were hence knocked out of the tournament.
Tamim Iqbal and Mohammad Hafeez batted well last year and the two will be the vital cogs in the team's batting lineup. Tamim was their leading run-scorer with 267 runs and he will be expected to score heavily this year as well. Wahab Riaz notched up 15 wickets to become the tournament's second-leading wicket-taker and he will be the key bowler for Peshawar Zalmi along with Shahid Afridi who took 10 wickets.
Darren Sammy (captain), Shahid Afridi, Sohaib Maqsood, Eoin Morgan, Wahab Riaz, Tilakaratne Dilshan, Mohammad Hafeez, Chris Jordan, Samit Patel, Kamran Akmal, Iftikhar Ahmed, Harris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Asghar, Marlon Samuels, Andre Fletcher, Khushdil Shah, Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Imran Khan (jr), Junaid Khan, M. Irfan Khan.
The Sarfraz Ahmed-led Quetta Gladiators recorded easy wins in their first couple of fixtures last year before edging out Peshawar Zalmi in a hard-fought third game. With six wins from eight group games, they finished second in the standings and were the first of all the teams to book a spot in the playoffs. They reached the finals of the PSL 2016 and came runners-up in the end after being beaten by Islamabad United.
Ahmed Shehzad was their best batsman in the previous season. He scored 290 runs to finish among the top five batsmen of the tournament. Kevin Pietersen also played some good knocks and he together with Shehzad will form the nucleus of the team's batting. Mohammad Nawaz bagged 13 wickets and was the tournament's third-highest wicket-taker. Quetta Gladiators will want the left-arm spinner to replicate his performance from last time.
Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Umar Gul, Asad Shafiq, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Nawaz, Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Rilee Rossouw, Mahmudullah Riyad, Anwar Ali, Tymal Mills, Hassan Khan, Nathan McCullum, Thisara Perera, Bismillah Khan, Mir Hamza, Zulfiqar Babar, Saad Nasim, Umar Amin, Noor Wali.
Despite Darren Sammy taking over the captaincy from Shahid Afridi, Peshawar Zalmi who topped the league standings last year may not be able to replicate their performance this time around. Their bowling attack does not appear to be as strong compared with the rest of the teams and there is also a question mark over Eoin Morgan's participation for a large part of the tournament. So we don't see Peshawar Zalmi breaking into the top four this season.
Islamabad United will start the Pakistan Super League 2017 as title defenders and skipper Misbah-ul-Haq will look to drive his team for back-to-back title triumphs. The toughest competition is expected to come from Karachi Kings who are now powered up with the inclusion of big-hitter Chris Gayle in the side. But having said that, the United are a powerhouse with the likes of Shane Watson, Samuel Badree, Dwayne Smith and Ben Duckett. And since all these players have impressive records at the domestic T20 level, oppositions won't find it easy to win against them and this is why we predict the Islamabad United to lift the PSL 2017 trophy.