The sixth edition of the Pak T20 League kick starts with the opening clash between defending champions Karachi and Quetta.
Match Timings: Feb 20, 7:30 PM IST
The New edition of the Pakistan T20 League starts in National Stadium, Karachi. The winner of the last edition, Karachi, will battle out against Quetta. The last edition was interrupted due to COVID-19, and in November 2020, Imad Wasim led Karachi to maiden title triumph. Karachi defeated Multan in the qualifier and edged past Lahore in the final. Babar Azam was the standout performer for Karachi, aggregating 473 runs at an average of 59.12. Mohammad Amir will also be back in action after announcing retirement from international cricket.
The defending champions made few changes in the recently concluded draft. Karachi picked some quality overseas players from the draft. Chadwick Walton was picked in the gold category. All-rounders Dan Christian and Mohammad Nabi have been included in the diamond category. Daniel Christian had a fabulous season in Australia T20 League. The 37-years old player aggregated 252 runs at an average of 36 and a strike rate of 186.66. He also picked up 13 wickets at an average of 28.69. Karachi released some key players such as Alex Hales, Shoaib Malik, Sherfane Rutherford, and Iftikhar Ahmed. The new side looks dangerous, and they got two prominent all-rounders in the squad. The bowling unit might be a big concern, but they would rely more on its batting unit. Sharjeel and Babar will open, followed by Ingram at number three. Dan Christian, Imad Wasim, and Mohammad Nabi can play the sheet anchor in middle-order. Chadwick Walton will take the gloves for this season.
Meanwhile, Quetta would forget the last season. Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side finished fifth in the table and missed out the playoffs due to poor NRR. Quetta’s campaign in 2020 was disappointing, with just four wins out of ten. Few players of this franchise took part in SL T20 League 2020, and Galle made into the final of the tournament. Quetta have won just one game out of the last six matches, and for the new season, they released few players from the main squad. They played a big game on Chris Gayle by picking him in the platinum category. English star Tom Banton has also been picked under this category, and he will join another English player Cameron Delport this season.
To boost the pace-attack, Usman Shinwari has been picked under the gold category. Zahid Mahmood made his debut against South Africa in the third T20I, and he will play for Quetta this season. Banton and Gayle will open for Quetta, followed by Azam Khan at number three. Ben Cutting had a superb season for Sydney, and Quetta would expect him to fire in death-overs. Cameron Delport and Sarfaraz Ahmed will propel the middle-order. The bowling unit has the potential with the pace-trio Zahid Mahmood, Naseem Shah, and Mohammad Hasnain. Karachi have match-winners like Babar, Imad, and Nabi, so they look favourite here. If Gayle and Banton offer a good start, then Quetta can edge past the defending champions.
National Stadium’s surface is mainly for the batsmen. The track is good to bat and have some bounce for the pace. Spinners will control runs in middle-overs and trouble batsmen. Chasing will be an ideal call after winning the toss.
Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Dan Christian, Imad Wasim, Chadwick Walton, Mohammad Nabi, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Amir, Waqas Maqsood, Arshad Iqbal
Chris Gayle, Tom Banton, Azam Khan, Cameron Delport, Ben Cutting, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Nawaz, Zahid Mahmood, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Arish Ali
Pakistan T20 League 2020 – M: 12, Runs: 473, Avg: 59.12
Australia T20 League 2020-21- M: 16, Runs: 252, Wickets: 13
Paksitan T20 League – M: 14, Runs: 263
T20Is in last one year -M: 9, Runs: 205, SR: 143.3