Pakistan Super League 2020: 5 batsmen to watch out for
While international imports Jason Roy, Chris Lynn, Dawid Malan and Shane Watson are all set to dazzle the Pakistani crowd, PSL 5 will also bring an opportunity for the likes of Akmal brothers to stake claim for a T20 World Cup spot.
Babar Azam (Karachi Kings)
Babar Azam is the shiniest pearl in Pakistan cricket at the moment . Named the country's white-ball captain after the last year's World Cup early exit, Azam has shown that orthodox cricket can also help earn rewards in the 20-over format.
Azam may not be the most flamboyant batsman with a career PSL strike rate of a tick over 115, but he ensures solidity. The stylish batsman has piled up over 1000 runs from 35 matches at an average of 32.59, including nine half-centuries across seasons. This is the joint-highest figure in the tournament alongside Shane Watson and Ahmed Shehzad.
After finishing as the leading run-scorer for Karachi Kings in 2017 and 2018, Azam was their second-highest run -scorer last year. The right-hander added 335 runs from 11 innings with three half-centuries and would be looking to continue his fine from this season as well.
Kamran Akmal (Peshawar Zalmi)
The fact that Kamran Akmal debuted for Pakistan at an age of just 20, back in 2002, it seems that he has been playing forever. However, he is is still 38 years old and a good PSL season will put him in contention for a spot in the international side for the upcoming T20 World Cup.
The senior Akmal has hit a purple patch and has been churning out runs in domestic cricket of late. In fact, he is the all-time highest run-scorer in the tournament with 1286 runs off 47 matches at an average of almost 30 and an impressive strike rate of 135.
The wicketkeeper-batsman has also scored two centuries and nine half-centuries to go along with his 39 dismissals behind the wickets. Akmal was part of the title-winning Peshawar Zalmi team in 2017.
Shane Watson (Quetta Gladiators)
Just behind Kamran Akmal, Shane Watson is the second most prolific run-scorer in the Pakistan Super League. Watson has piled up 1114 runs from 37 matches at an average of close to 35 and a strike rate of 135 +. He also has 7 half-centuries to his name.
When the Quetta Gladiators won the title last year, Watson blasted 440 runs and clubbed boundaries with disdain. His 43-ball 73-run knock in the Qualifier, his fourth half-century of the season, particularly stood out.
The Australian ended as the top run-getter last season and batted with a strike rate of almost 145, scoring the best of 91.
Shoaib Malik (Peshawar Zalmi)
Just when the cricketing fraternity considers Shoaib Malik to be done and dusted, he dusts the dirt off his pants and comes right back into the thick of things. Having retired from the 50-over format after the 2019 World Cup, Malik was recalled in the Pakistani T20I side for the three-match series against Bangladesh and showed his utility right away with a couple of match-winning knocks.
Malik was in the runs in the last edition of the PSL as well, scoring 266 runs at an average of almost 45, including two half-centuries. He is one of the highest run-scorers in the league.
Having represented Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans, Malik has scored 849 runs from a total of 39 PSL games at an average of 30 and will be a vital cog in the Peshawar Zalmi outfit this season.
Dawid Malan (Islamabad United)
David Malan has played some decent knocks for Peshawar Zalmi over the years. He has compiled a total of 377 runs from 16 innings at a decent average of 26.92.
However, the batsman would like to improve upon his strike rate of 112.20. That though, is an area which he has already come a long way in. Malan struck at over 145 in the recently-concluded Bangladesh Premier League and ended as one of the top five run-scorers.
The England player also struck an explosive century in a T20I against New Zealand and would look to replicate his feat in this edition of the PSL.
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