With the fifth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL) on the doorstep, the cricketing fraternity is getting ready for another roller-coaster ride. More importantly, once again the Pakistan cricket fans will be able to witness the high-octane action in front of their eyes. Besides, it is also an important tournament for the players to sharpen their T20 skills in a year where T20 cricket is the top priority in the international circuit.
One of the most difficult facets of T20 cricket is hitting boundaries in the final phase of the innings where experienced bowlers try to restrict the batsmen with their bag of tricks. That’s why the franchises always eye for quality finishers in the auctions. Even in the PSL 2020, most of the teams have players who can change the course of the game with their finishing skills.
Here is the list of 5 finishers to watch out for in PSL 2020 :
1. Imad Wasim
Last year, the Karachi Kings lost Eliminator 1 in front of their home crowd as the Imad Wasim-led side failed to hold their nerves at a crunch situation. It can be proved from their batting performance as they managed 15 runs in their last 4 overs. In simple terms, the team lacked finishing touches from their famed batting unit. That’s why it is up Imad Wasim this time provide them with game-changing knocks down the order.
The southpaw has been in good form with his all-round skills. In particular, his batting has improved leaps and bounds and it is evident from his 2019 ODI numbers. He gathered 472 runs at an average of 47 while mostly batting at No.7. And that too with a strike rate of 131 which shows his emergence as Pakistan’s new finisher in limited-overs cricket.
Wasim has all the shots in the book including the unorthodox ones. His clean bat swing and composed temperament make him a dangerous customer in the final phase of the innings. So now, he will be looking to continue his momentum in the 5th edition of PSL. The skipper will have to complement their top-order consisting of Babar Azam and Alex Hales with his range hitting if the team has to end their title drought.
2. Kieron Pollard
It might be extremely disappointing for the Peshawar team after losing back to back finals in their last two seasons. Especially in the 2019 final where their batting unit choked at the most inappropriate time. Even the most established T20 cricketer of the side, Kieron Pollard couldn’t handle the pressure and eventually, the team suffered a humiliating loss. Hence now, the West Indies star will be itching to prove a point in the upcoming season of PSL.
Pollard has been one of the pioneers of T20 cricket and his record of 499 T20s is testimony to the fact. In that, he has accumulated over 6500 runs and 250 wickets which shows his impact in this format of the game. Moreover, he has played for more than 15 T20 franchises. So, it will not be wrong to say that he has gained more popularity in other countries rather than his own country.
As far as his recent form is concerned, he has scored more than 300 runs in his last 10 T20I outings. His biggest strength is his ability to clear the boundaries at will. On his day, he can tear apart any bowling attack with ease. That’s why he is also 2nd in the list of players with the highest strike-rates in PSL with 166 being the exact number. Hence, the Peshawar side will be expecting more fireworks in the coming weeks.
3. Asif Ali
One of the players who has hugely benefitted from the emergence of PSL is Asif Ali. Particularly his performances in the 2018 edition made him an overnight sensation in the cricketing fraternity. Besides it also earned him a ticket to the Pakistan dressing room. From there on the right-hander became an important part of the country’s white-ball plans.
He was also a member of Pakistan’s 2019 World Cup squad. Although Ali has not achieved immediate success in the international circuit he has shown the glimpses of his talent. Last year he struck a couple of memorable half-centuries in the ODI series against England. Those knocks showcased his hitting capabilities as he belted a quality English bowling unit effortlessly.
Interestingly Ali has already played over 150 T20s in which he has gathered close to 3000 runs. What’s more impressive is his strike rate of 150 which clearly indicates that he is a certified finisher. That’s why the 2-time PSL champions, Islamabad United will be again counting on his range hitting in the 5th edition of the tournament. Moreover, it is a golden opportunity for Ali to regain his place in the national side by putting up consistent performances.
4. Ravi Bopara
The team from Multan will need to put up a better show if they have to maintain their fanbase in the coming times. For that to happen some of their senior players have to step up their game. One being England’s Ravi Bopara who has been drafted to the side for strengthening their batting department.
The former English middle-order batsman has been one of the most under-rated white-ball talents. In his decade long career, he has represented the Three Lions in more than 130 games across formats. To go with it he has also played 350 T20s around the globe in which he has scored 7000 runs at an average of 28.
Though Bopara started his career as a batsman who relied on his timing to score runs, he later developed his power game with the evolution of T20s. His lower-order contributions played a crucial role in Essex Eagles winning the T20 Vitality Blast. His trike rate of 162 was amongst the best in the tournament.
Thereafter, he also played the role of a finisher for the Rajshahi Royals in the recently concluded BPL. So now it will not be a surprise the Multan team trusts him with his finishing skills in the 2020 PSL.
5. Mohammad Nawaz
The defending champions Quetta Gladiators have an elusive batting order consisting of proven match-winners like Jason Roy, Umar Akmal, and Ahmed Shehzad. Even the bowling attack is full of firepower owing to the presence of talents like Naseem Shah and Mohammad Hasnain. In all the Sarfaraz Ahmed-led side looks a balanced team.
However, having a close look at their team one can easily point out that they lack a quality finisher in their squad. Though it is a worrying sign it is a window of opportunity for someone like Mohammad Nawaz to display his multi-dimensional skillset. The all-rounder has been enhancing his batting credentials. Especially in the last six months, his power game has helped the franchise teams secure memorable wins.
The most notable one being the unbeaten 41 in the BPL final where he batted with a strike rate of 205. Before that, he also played a couple of match-winning cameos in the Mzansi Super League. In short, now Nawaz has become a dependable lower-order batsman who can make valuable contributions in crunch situations. Moreover, his new-found finishing skills will definitely benefit the Gladiators in the long run.