Rawalpindi to host 11 matches, Karachi, and Lahore to stage nine matches each, while Multan will host five matches
As the Pakistan Super League (PSL) becomes bigger with each passing year, the 8th edition of the league is set to debut 21 foreign internationals and 15 local players.
After the kick-off of the series in Quetta's exhibition match on February 5, matches will be played in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi between February 13 to March 19.
The largest number of matches in this edition is scheduled to be played in Rawalpindi, where 11 matches will be staged. Karachi and Lahore will stage nine matches each, while Multan will host five matches.
The 21 internationals to appear in PSL for the first time in this edition include Adil Rashid, Akeal Hosein, Izharulhaq Naveed, Josh Little for Multan Sultans; Andrew Tye, James Fuller, Matthew Wade, Tabraiz Shamsi for Karachi Kings; Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jimmy Neesham, Richard Gleeson for Peshawar Zalmi; Dwaine Pretorius, Naveen-ul-Haq, Nuwan Thushara, Odean Smith, Wanindu Hasaranga Quetta Gladiators; Kusal Mendis and Shane Dadswell for Lahore Qalandars; and Fazalhaq Farooqi, Gus Atkinson, Tom Curran for Islamabad United.
In addition to the foreigners, the local lads aiming to make a big impression in their debut event are: Aamer Jamal (Peshawar Zalmi), Ahsan Bhatti (Lahore Qalandars), Aimal Khan (Quetta Gladiators), Arafat Minhas (Multan Sultans), Haseebullah (Peshawar Zalmi), Hassan Nawaz (Islamabad United), Irfan Khan Niazi (Karachi Kings), Mirza Tahir Baig (Lahore Qalandars), Mohammad ‘Karnal’ Zahid (Quetta Gladiators), Mohammad Sarwar Afridi (Multan Sultans), Omair Bin Yousuf (Quetta Gladiators), Saud Shakeel (Quetta Gladiators), Shawaiz Irfan (Lahore Qalandars), Sufyan Muqeem (Peshawar Zalmi) and Tayyab Tahir (Karachi Kings).
In the PSL 8, Lahore Qalandars will aim to become the first side to win back-to-back titles, while Islamabad United will eye to become the first team to win three titles since the event started in 2016.
In the seven years of PSL, Babar Azam is the leading run-getter with 2,413 runs in 68 matches but is yet to notch up his maiden century. Kamran Akmal, who will miss the event, is the second leading run-getter with 1,972 runs in 75 and is the holder of most centuries — three. Explosive opener Sharjeel Khan has smashed two centuries, while Fakhar Zaman, Rilee Rossouw, Cameron Delport, Colin Ingram, Chris Lynn, Usman Khawaja, Harry Brook and Jason Roy have stroked a century each.
Wahab Riaz of Peshawar Zalmi is the only bowler who has broken the 100-wicket barrier in the PSL. He has taken 103 wickets in 77 matches and is followed by Hasan Ali (81), Shaheen Shah Afridi (70) and Shadab Khan (65).
In the absence of Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan of Multan Sultans will aim to become the most successful wicketkeeper in PSL. Rizwan (60 dismissals) trails Kamran by two dismissals, while Sarfaraz Ahmed is third on 43 dismissals.