The most expensive franchise of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) Multan Sultans are eager to make an impact in the upcoming fifth edition of the extravaganza under an avid cricket follower and their owner Ali Khan Tareen.
With just a few days left in the PSL 5, highly pumped up Sultans are ready with their squad, blend of youth and experience. The franchise owned by Tareen marred by plenty of mess-ups in last season but they all were evaporated and here they are.
Meanwhile, it was shocking to see Shoaib Malik parting ways with Sultans, an experienced and a team player. However, they took a decision to give the command to young Shan Masood, a surprising move so far. Masood, who has played ODIs and Tests for Pakistan, will be accompanied by star players including Shahid Khan Afridi and Sohail Tanvir who have immense experience of captaining domestic teams.
As the franchise picked some promising T20 stars, here are the few points that can unstabilize the opposition on any given day of the tournament. Let’s have a look:
Strong Batting line-up:
The Janoobis were quick to realize mistakes and didn’t repeat them while formulating a squad in December last year. A side with fewer options last year is now with a mixed combination, a strong sign for them overall.
From retaining opener James Vince to adding left-hander Khusdil Shah, Pakistan U19 captain Rohail Nazir and 27-year old domestic performer Zeeshan Ashraf, Sultans look quite composed and well balanced.
Vince, a regular member of the England side is ready to make an impact with his vast experience. With an average of 30.28, he has scored 5451 runs in 207 matches.
Khushdil keeps the ability to hit the ball whereas Rohail Nazir can deal with the pressure behind the stumps and with his bat as he is known as run-machine at the junior level. Zeeshan, at the same time, can be lethal as opener keeping strong skills of hitting the ball hard. The 27-year-old showed his power and scored highest runs in last year’s National T20 Cup 2nd XI
Rilee Rossouw, a former gladiator, is yet another key option for Sultans in middle-order batting. He has scored a bulk of runs in T20 cricket (4703) at a strike-rate of 135.26.
Moeen Ali (England), Ravi Bopara (England), and Fabien Allen (West Indies) are the prime options as an all-rounder for Sultans along with non-other than Shahid Khan Afridi. Sultans somehow managed to have powerpack stars and retained Afridi clearly shows depth in all-rounders’ category.
Moeen on his debut PSL is likely to continue his form. He has always added value to any team he has represented. 3206 runs and 102 wickets in 146 matches shows his numbers are staggering in T20 cricket.
Boom Boom Shahid Afridi, probably the last time fans will see him play in PSL. The 39-year-old will look to go on a high note as he will be playing in front of the home crowd. He might not be so dependable but his cameos will be worth watching if he is able to attract a few of those. Talking about his record, he has scored 4214 runs in 309 matches at a strike rate of 153.90. Apart from his batting, he has claimed 335 wickets.
Bopara, who was part of the Karachi Kings in the past four seasons, knows every moment of how heated PSL gets when it is near the qualifiers stage. He has shown too on many occasions with his dual ability for the Kings. Whether he plays or not, his availability in the dugout will also be a huge element for the Sultans. He has scored 6931 runs in 350 matches at an average of 28.17.
Apart from batting, in his 17 years of T20 cricket, he has always supported his team with the ball when needed. He has a decent record of 231 wickets.
Newly entered in international cricket, West Indies’s Fabian Allen is all set to pound this new opportunity for the Sultans. He has shown a glimpse of how destructive he can be by his cameos in the Carribean Premier League (CPL), recently. With a strike rate of 165.70, he has scored 401 runs and can also be crucial with his slow-left arm orthodox.
Experienced bowling attack:
This team’s bowling attack has quality and experience in the shape of Junaid Khan, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, and Imran Tahir. They can all come together to bamboozle any side on their day.
Tahir will be representing Sultans for the second time in his PSL career. Having played T20 in almost every country, the Pakistan-born is ready to lead the Sultans’ bowling attack. The leg-spinner has 355 wickets in 282 T20 matches.
Sohail Tanvir, with the advantage of global T20 leagues to his credit, will look to mark his presence for Sultans. His PSL career by far has not been successful in terms of performances but with 340 wickets in 327 matches, the left-arm will look to bowl great death-overs bowling for which he is famous.
Good pace, better stamina and an ability to move the ball around if the conditions are right with good death yorkers Junaid Khan will be eager to again make a mark and allow himself to get highlighted in front of the selectors. His T20 record is excellent as he has picked 170 wickets in 143 matches played.
Gaggu Mandi born tall left-arm pacer Mohammad Irfan after getting so many chances at the national level again has been retained by the Sultans. His record is decent, with 131 matches played he has picked 143 wickets.
Multan Sultans Team Squad 2020:
Mohammad Irfan, Shahid Afridi, James Vince, Junaid Khan, Ali Shafiq, Shan Masood (C), Mohammad Ilyas, Moeen Ali, Rilee Rossouw, Zeeshan Ashraf, Ravi Bopara, Sohail Tanvir, Khushdil Shah, Usman Qadir, Fabian Allen, Rohail Nazir, Imran Tahir, Bilawal Bhatti
The complete schedule of Multan Sultans
February 21 – Multan Sultans v Lahore Qalandars – Gaddafi Stadium (7pm-10.15pm)
February 22 – Multan Sultans v Islamabad United -Gaddafi Stadium (7 pm-10.15 pm)
February 26 – Multan Sultans v Peshawar Zalmi – Multan Cricket Stadium (7 pm-10.15 pm)
February 28 – Multan Sultans v Karachi Kings – Multan Cricket Stadium (2 pm-5.15 pm)
February 29 – Multan Sultans v Quetta Gladiators – Multan Cricket Stadium (2 pm-5.15 pm)
March 6 – Multan Sultans v Karachi Kings – Gaddafi Stadium (7 pm-10.15 pm)
March 8 – Multan Sultans v Islamabad United – Pindi Cricket Stadium (2pm-5.15pm)
March 11 – Multan Sultans v Quetta Gladiators – Gaddafi Stadium (7pm-10.15pm)
March 13 – Multan Sultans v Peshawar Zalmi – National Stadium (7 pm-10.15 pm)
March 15 – Multan Sultans v Lahore Qalandars – Gaddafi Stadium (2pm-5.15pm)