Coach: Andy Flower
Full squad: Mohammad Rizwan (capt), Tim David, Rilee Rossouw, Johnson Charles, Imran Tahir, Sohaib Maqsood, Shan Masood, Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, Rumman Raees, Asif Afridi, Anwar Ali, Dominic Drakes, Imran Khan Snr, Abbas Afridi, Amir Azmat, Blessing Muzarabani, Ihsanullah, David Willey, Rizwan Hussain
Two cities, and for Sultans, it was a case of contrasting fortunes. They struggled in the Karachi leg of the tournament - they won just one of five games and were the only side to lose a match while chasing - but the Covid-induced break worked wonders for them. Once the teams reconvened in Abu Dhabi, there was no stopping Rizwan's side, which went on a tear, winning seven of their final eight games to romp to the title.
Sultans have tried to reduce the average age of the squad, with Shahid Afridi and Sohail Tanvir no longer a part of the side. They didn't have Afridi's services for the Abu Dhabi leg last year anyway, and looked the better for it, though Tanvir, over the years a handy option with the ball and always good for a cameo or two, might be missed.
Something about Shahnawaz Dahani feels too good to be true, and it isn't just his stupendous numbers at last year's PSL. The bowler who hadn't played a single T20 before the start of PSL 2021 finished the tournament as the highest wicket-taker with 20.
Coach: Azhar Mahmood
Full squad: Shadab Khan (capt), Colin Munro, Hasan Ali, Asif Ali, Marchant de Lange, Faheem Ashraf, Alex Hales, Muhammad Wasim Jnr, Azam Khan, Muhammad Akhlaq, Adam Lyth, Danish Aziz, Zafar Gohar, Paul Stirling, Mubasir Khan, Mohammad Hurriara, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Athar Mahmood, Musa Khan, Zahir Khan
United were shaping up as the runaway favourites in the group stages, storming to the top of the table and staying there right through the competition. They won eight of their group games; no other side managed more than five. However, the wheels came off in the playoffs, where a thumping at Multan Sultans' hands threw them at the mercy of Peshawar Zalmi. Losing a crucial toss, the bowlers found themselves off their game, and another convincing defeat saw arguably the best side of the tournament fail to make the final for the third successive season.
Nothing drastic, with the clarity of strategy that runs through each of their campaigns like a thread perhaps the reason for their historical success; no side has a higher win percentage in the PSL. They retain a core group of local players that make up the spine of their side, with several overseas picks from the previous season expected to reprise their roles this year. Trading in Azam Khan for the red-hot Iftikhar Ahmed is perhaps the most eye-catching move, especially given Azam's less-than-stellar T20 form in 2021.
Paul Stirling played just two matches for United last season, but he did give them a glimpse of his ability with a sumptuous 33-ball 56 that set up a magnificent chase against Karachi Kings. With the Irishman likely to be available for the whole season this time, his presence at the top of the order gives the franchise extra teeth in the powerplays. His ability to start quickly means he will likely play the role Luke Ronchi did for the franchise for several seasons.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000