PSL 2020 Qualifier: The Pakistan Super League (PSL 2020) is all set to get underway again following several month-long COVID-enforced breaks.
Multan Sultans will be clashing paths with Karachi Kings in the PSL 2020 Qualifier today, and the winner will seal a berth in the PSL 2020 final.
Multan Sultans topped the PSL 2020 Points Table and were exceptional throughout the entirety of the round-robin stage.
The Shan Masood-led side were deemed favorites to lift the silverware, before the playoffs were deferred in March.
The Sultans ran through their opponents in a majority of the matches and their data-centered approach towards decision-making was lauded in cricketing circles.
Among the four franchises that are involved in the playoffs set-up, the Multan Sultans have copped the most severe impact of COVID-enforced travel restrictions, as well as the international commitments that players are supposed to fulfill in the ongoing season.
The Sultans brought in initial replacements through James Vince and Mahmudullah for their two spin-bowling all-rounders, Moeen Ali and Fabian Allen.
However, both replacement players have unfortunately contracted COVID-19 and will not be featuring in the PSL playoffs.
Joe Denly and Brendan Taylor have now been slotted into the Sultans’ squad almost as an emergency measure.
Their skipper Shan Masood is currently Sultans’ top-scorer in the tournament, and will be ably supported by Rilee Rossouw at No 2. Their experienced, star-studded bowling line-up has been exceptional with the likes of Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir amongst their highest wicket-takers.
Multan Sultans also have Zeeshan Ashraf and Khushdil Shah in the mix, both of whom impressed during the recently-concluded National T20 Cup.
Karachi Kings, on the contrary, were ranked second as far as the PSL 2020 Points Table is concerned. Their PSL 2020 campaign has been marred with immense grief following the passing of their head coach, Dean Jones.
In his absence, Wasim Akram will be acting as an interim coach of a team that has been deemed by many as the best side on paper in PSL 2020.
PSL 2020 Qualifier 1 expected Playing XIs
Multan Sultans: Adam Lyth, Shan Masood (C), Rilee Rossouw, Zeeshan Ashraf (WK), Ravi Bopara, Khushdil Shah, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Ilyas/Usman Qadir, Imran Tahir, Mohammad Irfan
Karachi Kings: Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Alex Hales, Cameron Delport, Chadwick Walton (WK), Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim (C), Wayne Parnell, Mohammad Amir, Arshad Iqbal/Umer Khan, Umaid Asif.
Qualifier 1 time: Match begins at 3.30 PM IST.
TV channel: Eurosport
PSL 2020 pitch and weather report: The weather is expected to remain dry and mild for the entirety of the game with the temperatures to fluctuate around 30 degrees Celsius.