February 22: PSL - Peshawar Zalmi v Quetta Gladiators, Karachi
Our XI: Shane Watson, Tom Banton, Kamran Akmal, Liam Livingstone, Jason Roy, Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Nawaz, Fawad Ahmed, Mohammed Hasnain, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali
Captain: Shane Watson
Though Watson is closing in on 39 years and has been playing only franchise cricket for close to four years, he will still be the most important wicket for his opponents. He scored two fifties (91* and 71) against this opponent last year. Watson, in fact, has scored 272 runs against Peshawar since 2018 at a strike rate of 154.5 and averaging 54.4.
Vice Captain: Tom Banton
Some might call Banton a hit or miss batsman but his average of almost 35 in T20s doesn't suggest so. He is coming off a pretty good BBL 2019/20. He scored 34 boundaries (18 fours and 16 sixes) in just 7 innings in the tournament. Banton loves pace on the ball and the Quetta bowlers have plenty of that, so Banton as your vice captain might be a good punt.
Fresh off a very good series in South Africa, Roy will be eager to get going in the PSL. Though he got a duck in the opening game, he shouldn't be ignored. Roy scored 117 runs at a strike rate of 164.8 in the series against South Africa.
There are few people in world cricket at the moment who can hit the ball as hard as Livingstone. He was the highest run getter for Perth Scorchers in BBL 2019/20 with 425 runs at a SR of 142.61. Livingstone crossed the 50-run mark four times in the tournament and on all those occasions, his strike rate was 146 or more.
He had a pretty ordinary BBL this season but the fact that that has not affected his T20 numbers tells you how good he is. He has an excellent economy rate of 6.81 in the format. Ahmed's experience from last PSL will surely help him and the team. He picked up 11 wickets at an economy of 6.57 in the last edition of the PSL.
Riaz has developed so many skills and variations over the last few years which have made him a complete bowler and a potent weapon in the format. He picked up 5/8 in his last game before the PSL (Dhaka Platoons vs Rajshahi Royals in BPL 2019/20). Riaz picked up 10 wickets in 7 games in that edition of BPL. He also had the best SR (15.4) among all bowlers who had picked up 10 or more wickets for Dhaka in the season. You cannot afford to leave him out.
Nawaz is one of those utility players who can contribute with the bat and ball. He may not win you matches on his own but can surely finish games off with the bat and bowl crucial overs with the ball. He has scored 176 runs and picked up 20 wickets across the last two seasons of the PSL. Nawaz is a valuable pick because he mostly bowls out his 4 overs and bats in the top 6.
Points to note
- These two teams met 4 times in PSL 2018/19 and Quetta won all 4 of those games. So it is a good idea to have more players from that side.
- There are a lot of Zalmi batsmen to choose from so choose wisely. It is a good tactic to have your captain and vice-captain from different teams as both teams are high scoring, successful teams.