NOTE: All stats updated till June 23
After 33 matches it all comes down to this. Multan Sultans take on Peshawar Zalmi in the final of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi. While Sultans jumped right into the final after beating Islamabad United in the Qualifier, Zalmi have done it the harder way. They first beat defending champions Karachi Kings in Eliminator 1 and then in Eliminator 2, despite looking down and out, they managed to pull through and book themselves a berth in the final.
While this is the first-ever PSL final for Multan, Peshawar have been to the final thrice before this and have won the title just once – back in 2017.
The two teams have faced each other on eight occasions in PSL, with Multan winning five of them. Multan also have a slender 3-2 lead in the last five matches. In PSL 2021, While Zalmi won the first encounter against Sultans by six wickets in Karachi, Sultans bounced back to beat them by eight wickets in the return match in Abu Dhabi 10 days ago. Which way will the pendulum swing in the final?
Overall: Matches 8 | Multan 5 | Peshawar 3
Last 5 matches: Multan 3 | Peshawar 2
While you could go for the above team, you also have the option of choosing your own team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. Based on algorithms, we have come up with one team.
Ground details and team combination
In the 19 matches hosted at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, the fast bowlers have been the more dominant ones, with a balls per wicket ratio of 17.8 and have picked up a wicket every 24.7 runs. The spinners, on the other hand, boast of a wicket every 28.7 runs, 21.4 balls apart. The spinners have been a tad economical compared to the fast bowlers, but in fantasy cricket, it does not matter much.
Hence, it would be advisable that you pick more fast bowlers in your team, but at the same time, one cannot ignore spinners altogether. Both teams are not short on quality in either department.
Three out of the last five matches have been won by the team chasing. While the captain might be tempted to bowl first, but given that this is a final, the team might feel comfortable if they had runs on the board.
Mohammad Rizwan may have crossed the 30-run mark just once in the last five innings, but given that this, we could see the Sultans captain step up to the plate and play a match-winning knock. His tally of 470 runs at a strike-rate of 130.19 is second best only to Babar Azam, who has scored 554 runs in PSL 2021. Rizwan has also slammed four fifties from his 11 innings this season so far and if he manages to add to his tally, Multan could be well poised to win their maiden title. Rizwan is also an extremely safe wicketkeeper, having inflicted 17 dismissals, which is the most this season.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Rizwan will score 14-20 runs in this match.
Fast bowler Shahnawaz Dhani’s impressive bowling in the first leg of the season earned him his maiden international call-up for the tour of Zimbabwe. The 22-year-old has just grown in confidence since then and is the leading wicket-taker in PSL 2021, having bagged 20 wickets at 15.10, 1.9 deliveries apart. He has been particularly in the middle phase, where his nine wickets at a strike-rate of 8.8 are the best in the tournament.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Dhani will pick up 1-2 wickets in this match.
At 35, Wahab Riaz has shown that even slightly older fast bowlers can dominate T20s. Out of his 18 wickets in PSL 2021 so far, 10 have come in the second leg of the tournament in Abu Dhabi, where he has struck every 21.8 runs and 16.2 deliveries apart. The Zalmi skipper is in good form of late having picked up seven wickets from the last four matches. His team will once again need him to step up to the plate with the ball, and also use the long handle down the order if needed.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Riaz will pick up 1-2 wickets in this match.
Keeping Hazratullah Zazai in your team could be both rewarding and frustrating. In his last five T20, he has scored three fifties but has also registered a couple of ducks. However, once in, the Afghanistan batsman is as dangerous as anyone in the world. He showed his worth in the previous match against Islamabad, scoring a 44-ball 66 to help his team to a comfortable win. Even in the match before that – in the first eliminator – Zazai stole the show with 77 off 38. Both Zazai and Zalmi will hope that he makes it three fifties in a row. In his four innings in PSL 2021 so far, Zazai has managed to score 206 runs at a phenomenal strike-rate of 188.99.
Our Criclytics Player Projector predicts Zazai will score 35-53 runs in this match.