After another highly enjoyable season of the Pakistan Super League, with some very closely fought contests and many powerful performances with both bat and ball, here is a look at the team of the tournament. With so many good performances, it was much harder to pick an XI this season, which shows how closely contested the tournament was.
1. Babar Azam
291 runs at 32.33, S/R 112.35
While he isn't renowned for a power game, Babar showed he can adjust to the format with proper stroke play, although he often tended to get bogged down in the middle overs. He did rack consistent scores throughout the tournament and was the tournament's leading run scorer for the bulk of the season before Kamran Akmal overtook him in the second eliminator, and was a vital cog in the Karachi Kings campaign.
2. Kamran Akmal [wk]
353 runs at 32.09, S/R 120.39
The leading runscorer and man of the tournament of this year's PSL, Kamran kickstarted his tournament with an 88 in the very first game against Islamabad United, albeit in a losing cause. It was followed by a slump, but he came back to form in the business end of the tournament, hitting a century; the only one of this season in the second eliminator against Karachi Kings, before scoring an all important 40 in the final to end as the tournament's leading rungetter.
3. Kevin Pietersen
241 runs at 34.42, S/R 151.57
After a lean start to the tournament; his scores in the first 3 games were 3,0 & 0, KP hit back with a whirlwind 88* to chase down a 200 plus score against Lahore Qalandars against all the odds. That performance kickstarted his campaign, with his last 3 scores being 69, 40 & 41 all at high strike rates. However, much to Quetta's dismay, he did not travel to Lahore for the final, and that probably impacted them badly in that game.
4. Rilee Rossouw
255 runs at 42.50, S/R 123.18
Rossouw was a consistent performer for Quetta throughout their campaign; he started with a fighting fifty in Quetta's first game against the Qalandars and followed it up with a clinical 72* versus the Karachi Kings to chase down a daunting target. His form dipped after that but he chipped in with some handy contributions in every game and ended up with one of the highest batting averages in the tournament. Like KP, he too chose to skip the final in Lahore.
5. Sarfraz Ahmed [c]
161 runs at 26.83, S/R 125.78
Like last year, Sarfraz led the Gladiators to the final only to fall at the last hurdle. In the midst of KP, Rossouw & even Shehzad, his performances were often overshadowed, but he played some crucial knocks in the middle order for Quetta. His captaincy also shone once again as he also used his spinners to good effect throughout the tournament. Behind the stumps, he made a few mistakes, which is why Kamran Akmal takes the wicket keeping duties in this side.
6. Kieron Pollard
201 runs at 40.20, S/R 171
Pollard was instrumental in Karachi's campaign, his highlight performance came when be knocked out Lahore with two sixes off the last two balls in a must win game for Karachi, but he also played important cameos in other games as well. He also looked ominous in the second eliminator against Peshawar, but in the end, the task proved too hard for him to complete. He ended the tournament at an average of 40 with an incredible strike rate of 170.
7. Shadab Khan
66 runs at 16.50, 9 wickets at 19.11
Probably the find of the tournament, Shadab bamboozled batsmen with his googlies and excited fans and pundits alike. Coming into the tournament with some strong performances for Pakistan A, Shadab was one to keep an eye on in the tournament, and he lived up to the hype picking up 9 wickets at 19.11 in the tournament. When presented with the chance, he also showed his prowess with the bat, hitting quick runs at the end of the innings, and was also a livewire in the field. All in all, an exciting prospect who should play for Pakistan soon.
8. Sohail Khan
16 wickets at 15.00, E/R 7.61
His performance in the first edition paved his return into the test side,With his ability to swing the ball both ways, and bowl slower deliveries at the death, Sohail Khan ended up as the tournament's leading wicket taker which gives him a spot in this XI.
9. Usama Mir
12 wickets at 19.00, E/R 8.19
Another legspinner with an impressive tournament was Usama. Despite missing out Karachi's first few games, Usama ended up as Karachi's second highest wicket taker. While Shadab relied on his googly to pick wickets, Usama used the legspinner to good effect. He often did get hit around but showed good resilience to come back every time he bowled a poor over. The highlight of his tournament was his last over vs Peshawar Zalmi against a rampaging Shahid Afridi, where he successfully defended 18 off the last over.
10. Rumman Raees
12 wickets at 13.50, E/R 13.50
Rumman is pretty much one of those 'modern' T20 bowlers with a large variety of slower balls which are exceedingly hard to get away. Rumman played an important role in Islamabad's campaign as he was hard to get away in the middle overs and in the death. He ended the tournament with 12 wickets at 13.50 and should have earned a spot for the T20s in West Indies
11. Mohammad Sami
13 wickets at 14.61, E/R 18.00
While Rumman bamboozled opposition batsmen with slower deliveries, Sami breathed pace and fire and ended up as the tournament's second highest wicket taker. The highlight of his tournament was where he successfully defended 5 off 6 against Quetta.
Karachi Kings: 4
Islamabad United: 3
Quetta Gladiators: 3
Peshawar Zalmi: 1
Lahore Qalandars: 0
Unlucky to miss out:
Batsmen: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Jason Roy, Dwayne Smith & Dawid Malan
Shehzad had a lean start to the tournament but came back at the business end. His strongest performance came in the first playoff, where he scored a quickfire 71 in Quetta's one run victory over Peshawar. He ended the tournament with 242 runs in 9 innings at 26.88 and a S/R of 132.
On the other hand, Fakhar started off well but couldn't end what he had begun. He looked to be positive from the get go, but often got out slogging in the process. Still, he looked comfortable against both pace and spin and did have some impressive performances like his 56 vs Karachi Kings, and has probably earned a spot into the national team. It should be interesting to see how he goes if he is provided with the chance.
Smith was also in the contention for the leading run scorer of the tournament for a long time, although his strike rate wasn't all that impressive, while Roy made 173 runs at 43.25 at a strike rate of 150 in just 5 games. Had he played the whole tournament and continued with similar performances, he would have been one of the first names to make the team. Similarly Malan did well to make 175 runs in a short span of only 6 games.
Hard hitters: Shane Watson & Shahid Afridi
Watson played a different role for Islamabad this season, batting in the lower order rather than opening the innings and played some powerful knocks down the order; his hitting skills were instrumental in setting up victories against Peshawar Zalmi in both of Islamabad's encounters with them. He also picked up wickets regularly, although he often got tonked in the death overs; as can be seen by his economy rate of 9 in the tournament. His allround performances meant that Islamabad didn't miss the services of the banned Andre Russell too much. He just misses out making the team at the expense of the explosive Kieron Pollard.
On the other hand, Afridi turned the clock around with some hard hits of his own, however he only picked 2 wickets across the tournament which means he narrowly misses out selection in this team
Pacers: Hasan Ali & Wahab Riaz
Both Peshawar Zalmi pacers were brilliant in their own accord, however the likes of Sami, Rumman and Sohail eke them out in this XI.
For the XI of the first season, please click here.
Cricistan's PSL II Team of the Tournament
Cricistan's PSL II Team of the Tournament