Peshawar Zalmi — An epitome of consistency in Pakistan Super League [DailyTimes] 08 Feb, 2019

The 2017 Pakistan Super League champions Peshawar Zalmi are an epitome of consistency. In the game’s most unpredictable format, Zalmi have been consistently so good that they have topped the points table on two occasions and played the final as many times. Zalmi were the best team at the end of the group stage in the first two PSLs. In the 2016 edition, they failed to qualify for the final after losing both the Qualifier and Eliminator, but lifted the trophy in 2017 when they defeated Quetta Gladiators in the historic PSL final in Lahore.In 2018, just when it seemed they would not make it to the playoffs, Zalmi bounced back with four wins in a row and qualified for the final against Islamabad United in Karachi. Even though they lost the match, Zalmi gave United a run for their money when they took 6 wickets for 20 runs while defending a target of 149. With 19 wins out of 33 completed matches, Zalmi’s success percentage (57.57) is second only to the United (59.37).The two-time ICC T20 World Cup winning captain Daren Sammy’s spirited leadership has been a vital cog in Zalmi’s consistent success in the HBL PSL. Sammy took over the leadership duties from Shahid Afridi and led the team to a title victory in his first year as captain in 2017. The all-rounder from St Lucia also had the highest batting strike-rate (182.75) for any batsman in PSL 2018. He is likely to lead them in the fourth PSL too.The Zalmi this season have also picked the two-time PSL winning captain Misbah-ul-Haq in the diamond category. The 44-year-old has not played a T20 match since the last PSL, but two months ago scored 91 and 44 not out for SNGPL in the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy final in Karachi. Knowing that he is the most successful Test captain of Pakistan, his experience will be a big draw for the Zalmi this tournament. Another big name that has moved to Zalmi for the fourth PSL is the world’s most capped T20 player Kieron Pollard. The West Indian all-rounder comes in the tournament with an experience of 444 T20 matches and is known for his big-hitting as reflected by 560 sixes he has hit in 20 overs cricket. He played the last two seasons for Multan Sultans and Karachi Kings.The Zalmi also have the bragging rights for producing the most successful bowler and batsman in the PSL. The left-arm speedster Wahab Riaz is the bowler who has played a big role in making Zalmi a highly competitive team. Wahab has 48 wickets at an economy of 6.75 and is aiming to become the first to reach half-century of wickets in the PSL. Kamran Akmal is the another player who has contributed to Zalmi’s success. He has struck 929 runs at a strike-rate of 133.28 across three edition of the tournament and is likely to become the first batsman to 1000 runs in the PSL.Even though he has two centuries in the tournament, his 27-ball 77 innings at a whopping strike-rate of 285.18 that single-handedly won Zalmi the Eliminator against Karachi Kings last year in Lahore has been the highlight of his star-studded PSL career. The Zalmi have built an intense rivalry with the Gladiators. Each of the three games they have played in the playoffs have resulted in a one-run win. The Gladiators won the thrillers in 2016 and 2017, whereas the Zalmi prevailed in 2018. There will be special eyes on the Zalmi when they take on the Gladiators in their first game of the PSL 2019 in Dubai on February 15.Squad (in the order of pick):Overseas: Kieron Pollard (West Indies), Daren Sammy (West Indies), Liam Dawson (England), Dawid Malan (England), Wayne Madsen (England), Andre Fletcher (West Indies), Chris Jordan (England).Local: Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Kamran Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umar Amin, Umaid Asif, Khalid Usman, Sohaib Maqsood, Jamal Anwar, Sameen Gul, Nabi Gul, Ibtisam Sheikh, Samiullah.Match schedule15 February – v Quetta Gladiators (n), Dubai17 February – v Lahore Qalandars (n), Dubai21 February – v Karachi Kings (n), Sharjah22 February – v Islamabad United (n), Sharjah24 February – v Multan Sultans (d), Sharjah28 February – v Multan Sultans (d), Dubai1 March – v Islamabad United (n), Dubai4 March – v Quetta Gladiators (d), Abu Dhabi5 March – v Lahore Qalandars (d), Abu Dhabi7 March — v Karachi Kings (n), Karachi. February 8th 2019.

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