Multan Sultans and Peshawar Zalmi will face each other in the first semi-final in the 2020 Pakistan Super League (PSL). Multan finished the league stage top of the table with 14 points from 10 matches - six wins, two losses and two no results. On the other hand, Peshawar finished fourth with nine points and managed to qualify for the final four by having a higher net run-rate than Quetta Gladiators who had the same number of points. In the two league matches between Multan and Peshawar, both matches were won by the former.
(Last 5 matches)
Multan Sultans - Won 2 | Lost 1 | No Result 2
Peshawar Zalmi - Won 2 | Lost 3
Kamran Akmal (wk), Shan Masood, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Imam-ul-Haq, Ravi Bopara, Shoaib Malik (c), Moeen Ali (vc), Sohail Tanvir, Imran Tahir, Rahat Ali
10 matches have been played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore during this year’s PSL, with the batting average (28.5) here being the highest among all stadiums to have hosted matches. A wicket has fallen every 19.7 deliveries at this stadium which is the second least frequent among the four grounds.
It’s interesting to note that out of the nine completed matches in Lahore, teams batting first have won just twice. In the last three matches at the stadium, every team total has been over 185 which indicates that this is a ground which favours batting.
On the bowling front, spinners have done slightly better than pacers at this venue. While the strike-rate at which both pacers (21.6) and spinners (21.4) pick wickets are almost similar, spinners have been conceding lesser runs in an over.
If we compare the various bowling types, then left-arm orthodox spinners have been the most successful at the Gaddafi Stadium, having picked up a wicket every 15.1 deliveries during PSL 2020. Meanwhile, right-arm spinners have been quite economical compared to other bowler types, but they haven’t taken wickets as regularly as the others.
Shoaib Malik has been in very good form in recent months in T20 cricket. Since September 2019, he has scored 1191 runs at an average of 44.11. During this period, only one batsman – Alex Hales (1307) – has scored more T20 runs than him. In the ongoing PSL, he is scoring 34.14 runs per innings which is a very good number. In his last four innings, he has made at least 30 every time with three 50+ scores.
Khushdil Shah caught the eye with a superb unbeaten 70 from just 29 deliveries in Multan’s final league match on Sunday (March 15). In PSL 2020, he has an average of 43.75 and a strike-rate of 147.1 with the bat. He also occasionally bowls which could be an added bonus because, as mentioned above, the pitch in Lahore has tended to favour left-arm orthodox spinners.
Haider Ali has been fairly consistent. Out of the eight times he has been dismissed this season, he has scored 25 or more runs in five of those innings. In total, he has 239 runs at an average of 29.88 with his strike-rate (158.3) among the best in the league.
With scores of 0 and 1, Moeen Ali didn’t have the best of times in the last two innings that he batted in. But in such a big match, you’d want to back the big players. Since the start of 2019, Moeen has batted in 31 T20 innings, scoring 810 runs at an average of 32.4 and a strike-rate of 162. His bowling could also fetch you points as he has a strike-rate of 13.2 with the ball during this season’s PSL.