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This year the Pakistan Super League will feature six teams, with one new franchise from Multan which is named Multan Sultans; the debutants will take on Lahore Qalandars, who finished last on the table in 2017, at Dubai on 23rd February in the 3rd match of the season. With PSL seeing its first expansion since its formation 3 years ago, it is sure to be a crowd-puller across the venues in UAE and Pakistan. The upcoming match in Dubai could be a full-on entertainer as we see experienced blasters come out to help their team dominate; it needs to seen which of the teams emerge victorious with an all-round performance on Friday.
The Sultans suffered some drawbacks during the players selections as they had to pick players who weren’t selected by other teams. However, they ended up with a strong squad with batsmen like captain Shoaib Malik, Ahmed Shehzad, Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Kumar Sangakkara, who are proven stalwarts with tremendous experience to their names. Others like Nicholas Pooran and Thisara Perera who is a back-up for Imran Tahir, could bring stability to the middle order and help post a strong total if batting first or chase one down with ease.
Pacers Irfan Khan, Mohammad Irfan and Umar Gul will lead the attack, and it needs to be seen if Imran Tahir the legendary spinner is fit for play. Junaid Khan, Pollard, Hardus Viljoen, Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Maqsood and Kashif Bhatti could deliver quick breakthroughs to stifle the opposition here.
They have plenty of all-rounders and supplementary players, who add depth to the squad with bat and ball; if they could strategize well against the Qalandars, then surely they could prove to be a tough unit.
Kumar Sangakkara, Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo, S Badar, S Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Imran Tahir.
They are yet to win a title and would be desperate for a better run this season; Brendon McCullum features again and could lead the side with his superb batting skills. Also in the squad are players retained from last season like Cameron Delport, Umar Akmal and Champions Trophy star performer Fakhar Zaman who stunned with his hard-hitting skills.
Sunil Narine is there to spin his magic around and help them dominate while others like Yasir Shah and Mustafizur Rahman also have been retained after their good performances with the ball. Other all-rounders will include Anton Devcich, who has had a superb run in the recent domestic circuit in New Zealand, and players like Bilal Asif, Aamer Yamin and Bilawal Bhatti.
Sohail Khan, Ghulam Mudassar, Mitchell McClenaghan and Imran Khan will add variety to the pace attack and could help others like Mustafizur Rahman and Narine in accomplishing the goals. The Qalandars finished at the bottom of the league last year and could come out with a better performance right from the word go to improve their standing this time around.
Brendon McCullum, F Zaman, C Delport, Umar Akmal, Shaheen Afridi, Aamer Yamin, SP Narine, Raza Hasan, Yasir Shah, Sohail Akhtar, Mustafizur Rahman.
Both teams have well-balanced sides with experienced batsmen and bowlers, who could help their team edge past the other in this exciting match. While Qalandars have a powerful bowling unit, we feel that the Sultan stalwarts could use their batting skills to dominate and win the match here.