PSL 2019: Multan Sultans bank on Shahid Afridi's return for Peshawar Zalmi clash

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Shahid Afrid. Image: @thePSLt20/Twitter

Both Multan Sultans and Peshawar Zalmi will look to get back to winning ways when the two teams clash in the 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL) at Sharjah on Sunday.

Multan Sultans are feeling the heat after playing four matches in the competition which have yielded just the solitary win. Shoaib Malik and his men come into the clash against Peshawar on the back of two consecutive losses and will be desperate to overturn their fortunes.

Having put up 200 runs on the board in their last clash against Lahore Qalandar, Multan seemed headed for a victory before their hopes were crushed by a last-ball six by David Wiese.

Up top, the Sultans have an in-form James Vince who struck 84 off just 41 balls against Lahore while opener Umar Siddiq impressed too with a maiden PSL half-century. However, concerns remain in the middle-order where star all-rounder Andre Russell has struggled to justify his inclusion.

Russells has picked up just the one wicket in four appearances while his highest score with the bat remains a paltry 18. While Russell will be under pressure to step it up, Multan will need more contributions with the bat from their array of all-rounders including Malik, Shahid Afridi and Dan Christian.

With the ball, the Sultans have been off-colour in the last two matches and they will look towards their senior stars to arrest this decline.

Peshawar, on the other hand, seemed to be on an upward trajectory after back-to-back comprehensive victories over Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings but they were brought crashing down to earth again with a 12-run defeat at the hands of Islamabad United.

Zalmi have been excellent with the ball in their four games with two of their pacers currently finding a place among the top three wicket-takers in the competition. Hasan Ali has been the best bowler on display in the 2019 PSL by some distance with the Pakistan pacer leading the charts with 11 wickets while Wahab Riaz is in third spot with seven scalps.

It is with the bat though that Peshawar have been found wanting and where their primary concerns lie. No Peshawar player features in the top-10 run-scorers in the competition so far with the 90 runs scored by Umar Amin being the highest contribution.

While the likes of Kamran Akmal, Dawid Malan and Imam-Ul-Haq will need to take more responsibility with the bat, Peshawar will be delighted to have Kieron Pollard back in form. After a horrendous start to his campaign, the West Indies all-rounder bounced back with a 22-ball 51 in the loss to Islamabad and his form should augur well for the side’s chances going forward.

TEAM NEWS

Multan Sultans have confirmed that veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi was left out of the playing XI against Islamabad United due to a precaution. The former Pakistan international is expected to return to the line-up for the clash against Peshawar.

LIKELY XIs

Multan Sultans: Umar Siddiq (wk), James Vince, Shoaib Malik (c), Andre Russell, Laurie Evans, Dan Chrsitian, Shahid Afridi, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Irfan Jr, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan

Peshawar Zalmi: Kamran Akmal (wk), Imam-ul-Haq, Dawid Malan, Umar Amin, Liam Dawson, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy (c), Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, Umaid Asif, Sameen Gul

Match starts at 15:30 UAE time

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