Pakistan Super League 2020: 5 bowlers to watch out for
While Dale Steyn and Chris Jordan are two of the most sought after franchise bowlers, the PSL will also showcase its pace-bowling spectrum ranging from Wahab Riaz on one end to Naseem Shah on the other.
Wahab Riaz (Peshawar Zalmi)
Wahab Riaz has been the most impactful bowler throughout the journey of the Pakistan Super League. He has represented Peshawar Zalmi in all the seasons till now and has done a great job for the team, picking up 65 wickets from 45 matches at an average of 17.38 and a laudable economy of 6.76.
The seasoned pacer finished as the third-highest wicket-taker in the last season of the league with 17 wickets from 13 matches at an average of under 20. At a time when 180 runs have become par for the course, he has been exceptional with his economy rate and has conceded runs at less than 7 RPO in the last season. Riaz will remain a vital cog in the team's plans this year as well.
Dale Steyn (Islamabad United)
One of the greatest bowlers of our times, Dale Steyn will be participating in this edition of the PSL. The veteran pacer is already excited to make his PSL debut for Islamabad United and posted a video message on twitter:
“Hello everybody in Pakistan. Just a quick message to say that I am super excited to come over and join Islamabad United. Come and watch us play, really looking forward to it and I’ll see you guys at the games. Cheers!”
Steyn has had a frustrating few years with one injury following another. The most heartbreaking of all saw him miss this year's ODI World Cup. That led him to retire from Test cricket, ending as the highest wicket-taker for South Africa in the format.
However, on comeback, he picked up the second most wickets in the Mzansi Super League 2019 with 15 wickets from 8 matches at an average of 15.13, an economy of 7.09 and best match figures of 3-10.
With 62 wickets in 45 games for the Proteas, Steyn recently became the highest wicket-taker for South Africa in T20Is in the first game of the three-match T20I series against England, surpassing Imran Tahir who has 61 wickets in 35 games.
Shaheen Shah Afridi (Lahore Qalandars)
Shaheen Shah Afridi is one of the only six bowlers to have picked up a 5-wicket haul in the Pakistan Super League. His figures of 5/4 against Multan Sultans in Dubai in 2018 are one of the best figures ever recorded in the league.
Afridi did a fine job for Lahore Qalandars in the last edition with 10 wickets from 8 matches, including best match figures of 3/17 but one feels that since the ODI World Cup, he has really come of age. Afridi looked the team's best bowler in the tournament and also snaffled the best figures of the WC with his six-wicket haul against Bangladesh.
The teenager has since looked in great rhythm in the series against Australia and then in the home Test matches. Afridi can crank up his pace when needed. His ability to pitch the ball up and control the swing are his biggest weapons
Chris Jordan (Karachi Kings)
Chris Jordan has picked up 16 wickets in 13 PSL matches, all for Peshawar Zalmi. He could feature in only two matches for the team in the last edition and ended with best match figures of 3/26.
The 32-year-old has almost always featured for the England T20I team in the last 30 matches played since the 2016 T20 World Cup. With 4 wickets in the 3 T20Is against South Africa and 7 wickets from 4 games, the second-highest in the five-match series against New Zealand, Jordan has now picked up 58 wickets from 46 T20Is at a bowling average of under 25.
He can also score some useful runs lower down the order. It was his 6, 2, 4 off the last three deliveries that took England to the super over and eventually to victory in the last T20I of the series against the Black Caps.
Naseem Shah (Quetta Gladiators)
With Mohammad Hasnain and Keemo Paul, Quetta Gladiators are sitting on a mine of great pace bowlers, but it is Naseem Shah who has peaked excitement. After making a mark in the under-19 circuit, Shah has almost seamlessly grown into international cricket.
From just four Test matches, he has already picked up 13 wickets including a hat-trick and a 4-wicket haul and 5-wicket haul in consecutive Tests against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
With the ability to bowl over 150 kph, the 17-year-old promises to dazzle a few during the PSL. It will be particularly exciting to see him bowl in tandem with Hasnain.
©Cricket World 2020