Squads finalised for the third edition of the Pakistan Super League

The teams for the 2018 edition of the Pakistan Super League have been finalised, after the draft took place last Sunday. A number of major names headlined the draft, adding further excitement to a league already evoking significant interest from cricket fans and betting enthusiasts alike.

About the League

This will be the third season of the Twenty20 cricket league, which has been steadily growing in popularity since its inauguration in 2016. This year, the league has expanded to six teams, after a new team based in Multan was added to the tournament.

Due to security concerns, a majority of the matches in the league will be played in the UAE. This is also where Pakistan plays internationally, and where most matches were played in the first two seasons of the PSL.

There will, however, be at least six matches played in Pakistan, and potentially up to 10, with Lahore and Karachi being listed on the schedule subject to security clearance. In further exciting news for cricket lovers in Pakistan, the final is scheduled to be held in Karachi.

League Format

As it was in previous years, the tournament will be played in a double round-robin format. This means each team will play one another two teams, resulting in at least 10 games total per team.

In round 1 of the finals, the top two teams play each other in the ‘qualifier’, and 3rd and 4th battle it out in the ‘1st eliminator’. The winner of the qualifier advances straight to the PSL final, while the loser plays the team which makes it through the 1st eliminator.

A ‘2nd eliminator’ then takes place in round 3 of the finals, and the winner of this is the second team through to the PSL Final.

This exciting format, in which four out of six teams make it into the finals, means that most if not all of the involved teams will be a chance to win the tournament until the very end.

The Draft

The draft for the 2018 Pakistan Super League took place on Sunday, 12th November. It featured 501 players from around the world, giving the six teams ample choice of who to select in their squad.

Each team retained nine players from the 2017 edition of the tournament, with the exception of the new franchise, the Multan Sultans. The Sultans picked up nine players from the list of players released by other franchises. Each team was then required to select seven from the draft to make up a squad of 16 players.

The 501 players in the draft were split into five separate categories based on age and ability: Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Emerging. Each team was required to select one player from each of the Platinum, Diamond, and Gold categories, and two players from each of the Silver and Emerging categories.

Following that, teams were able to pick up four players during ’supplementary rounds’. This gives each player a total squad of 20 players, amongst whom they must split the salary cap of $1.2 million USD.

Who’s playing?

A number of top class players who were involved in the Super League in the second edition have been retained by their franchise through to season three. Islamabad United retained Andre Russell and Misbah Ul-Haq, while Kevin Pietersen and Safraz Ahmed will again suit up for the Quetta Gladiators.

Other big names to be retained include Kumar Sangakarra, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Hafeez, and Brendon McCullum. In a major off-season move, Shahid Afraid was traded from the Peshawar Zalmi to the Karachi Kings, greatly bolstering the Kings’ squad.

A number of new, high quality names were picked up in the draft by each team. Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson head the list of players from Australasia, while West Indians Dwayne and Darren Bravo will add some extra flair to the tournament. Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, and Luke Wright were also selected, as were Angelo Mathews and Alex Hales.

Punting Tips!

Though it is early days, the make up of the squad allows us to have a sneaky early look at the likely favourites for the tournament.

Last years winners, the Peshawar Zalmi, will again be tough to beat, having added Dwayne Bravo and Tamim Iqbal to their list of retained players, which includes Mohammed Hafeez, Shakib Al Hasan, and Darren Sammy.

The Karachi Kings finished third last year, and they are looking like a red hot chance to go better this year. They picked up Shahid Afridi in the biggest move of the offseason, and bolstered their lineup further in the draft with Mitchell Johnson and the hard-hitting Luke Wright. They may end up being the most dangerous team in the league. When the odds come out, the Kings could be the value bet of the tournament.

 

The Pakistan Super League will kick off in February or March, and with some of the biggest names in cricket suiting up, is sure to be exciting viewing. Cricket fans and punters alike will revel in the quality of the tournament, as yet another top class Twenty20 league continues to develop its name.