The third edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) is being played in the UAE these days. The first round has been completed and now the teams are fighting for the last-four positions.
At the end of the first round, Multan Sultans who are participating for the first time in the league were on top. Lahore Qalandars were at the bottom.
After the success of Indian Premier League (IPL), many cricketing nations started their own leagues, like Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), Sri Lankan Premier League (SPL), Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL) and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in the West Indies, but no league matched the success of the IPL.
The Pakistan Super League (PSL) was first proposed in 2007 just after the launch of the IPL, but it started in 2016.
Five teams participated in the first two editions of PSL, won by Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi, respectively.
Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars, the two most expensive teams of PSL’s first two editions, failed miserably in the first two editions.
The Karachi franchise was sold to a local media group for $26 million for a ten-year period, making it the most expensive team in the tournament. But the performance of Shoaib Malik and company remained pathetic and they managed to win only two matches, both against Lahore Qalandars.
The Lahore franchise was sold to a Qatar-based oil company for $2.5 million per annum, but they have never performed well.
Karachi Kings have made a good comeback in the third edition, winning three of their first five matches.
Qalandars won only two matches in the first edition and three out of five matches in the second.
Qalandars’ terrible performance has continued this time as they lost all five matches of the first round.
Lahore Qalandars lost to Multan Sultans by 43 runs, to Quetta Gladiators by nine wickets, to Karachi Kings by 27 runs, to Islamabad in Super Over and to Peshawar Zalmi by 10 wickets.
Brendon McCullum has failed as a team leader. McCullum has not been proactive as a captain.
Misbah-ul-Haq of Islamabad and Quetta’s Sarfaraz Ahmed are always seen motivating their teams and discussing the situation with their players.
Shoaib Akhtar, the brand ambassador of Lahore Qalandars, thinks that the reason behind the Qalandars’ regular defeats is poor drafting and wrong selection.
Lahore Qalandars have lost matches because their players failed to handle pressure. They selected mostly hitters. There is nobody in the team to consolidate the innings and stay at the crease till the end.
Qalandars have such stars as Brendon McCullum, Fakhar Zaman, Umar Akmal, Sunil Narine, and Yasir Shah, but they have failed to deliver as a team.
Despite all the criticism, he is not thinking about bringing any change within him.
Against archrivals Karachi Kings, Lahore failed to chase a modest target of 160 and collapsed at 132. At one stage, Lahore were well placed at 70-1 in 6.3 overs.
The second-wicket partnership between McCullum (44) and vice-captain Fakhar Zaman (19) built a good foundation, but when McCullum and Fakhar departed, the middle and lower order crumbled.
Lahore coach Aqib Javed, during an important match against Karachi Kings, told Umar Akmal to go and stay there, but as usual he took unnecessary risks and got stumped for just 6. Qalandars lost the game by 27 runs.
Aaqib Javed said: “With only 160 runs to chase, one can only lose the match with utmost effort or by playing very stupid cricket. Common sense is very important, when singles, doubles are needed, you can’t go on trying to hit sixes.”
Schön Properties purchased Multan Sultans for $41.6 million for eight years and became the most expensive team of the PSL. They have picked a balanced side, which makes them one of the most favourites to win the PSL 2018 title.