Follow the latest PSL live score, schedule, points table and stats here with us @ Sportskeeda. The third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will be played by six teams across four venues in the UAE and Pakistan. Reigning champions Peshawar Zalmi will be looking to become the first team to defend their crown under the leadership of two-time World T20-winning captain Darren Sammy. The biggest change heading into PSL 2018 is the addition of a new team Multan Sultans and a new venue in Karachi.
Defending champions Peshawar Zalmi; winners of the inaugural edition, Islamabad United; two-time runners-up Quetta Gladiators; Imad Wasim-led Karachi Kings; Lahore Qalandars and first-time participants, Multan Sultans will compete to claim PSL 2018.
Before the commencement of the main tournament, a highly anticipated opening ceremony has been scheduled for the same day as the first match, i.e., February 22. Performances from reputed names like American pop artist Jason Derulo and Pakistani celebrities Abida Parveen, Ali Zafar and Shehzad Roy launched the third instalment of the PSL.
The tournament kicked off with the first match between the Peshawar Zalmi and the Multan Sultans at Dubai. The other venues for the event aside from Dubai and Karachi are Sharjah and Lahore. Like the 2017 PSL, the PCB has allotted matches to their own country despite certain big names opting out of the only match in Pakistan last year – the final at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. England cricketers Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright and Tymal Mills had chosen not to travel to the terror-prone country, while West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell had stated his reluctancy to play there.
While a safe conducting of the final in 2017 may have been encouraging for the PCB, what further ignited hope for them to host as many as three matches in Pakistan this year was a short visit by a World XI side in 2017 to play three T20 internationals against Pakistan. The visitors included multiple big names from the international circuit, with their captain being South Africa's national skipper Faf du Plessis.
Other prominent cricketers to have travelled were Hashim Amla, Morne Morkel, Paul Collingwood and George Bailey et al. This year, two out of the three play-offs as well as the final – the latter match on March 25 – will be staged in Pakistan: the Eliminator 1 and the final have been awarded to Lahore, while the Eliminator 2 will be held in Karachi.
Two years ago, the event had started with only five teams and the same continued in 2017; but the third edition has Multan the newest addition. The first edition in 2016 was won by the Islamabad United side, which was led by former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, beating the Quetta Gladiators in the final, who were captained by the national wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. Islamabad ended up hunting down 175 in less than 19 overs with half-centuries from opener Dwayne Smith, 73, and former Australia wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, who smashed a quickfire 61* from 39 balls.
Come the following season, it was the Peshawar Zalmi who were the champions after beating the Quetta Gladiators in the final, thus making it two finals in a row which the Gladiators ended up losing. Darren Sammy led the Zalmi to their first title with Sarfraz ending up on the wrong side yet again, his side getting bowled out for as paltry a score as 90 while chasing 149. The damage with the ball had been done by all bowlers combined, with Mohammad Asghar bagging three and Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz ending with two wickets each.
This time around, the Zalmi have brought on board veteran Pakistan batsman Younis Khan, now retired from international cricket, as their batting coach.
One notable absentee from the 2018 event, however, will be the Australian big-hitter Chris Lynn, who was picked by the Lahore Qalandars as a “Platinum Round” pick, but continues his struggle with repeated injuries. The latest issue to have haunted him in the last year and thus to have ruled him out of the Pakistan Super League this time is a hurt shoulder, which he sustained while playing for Australia in the just-concluded maiden T20 tri-series final against New Zealand at Auckland. Lynn dived and reached out for the ball awkwardly, thus compounding both Australia's as well as his franchise's problems.
Though the injury was not serious enough for a surgery to be required, Lynn's participation even in the Indian Premier League (IPL), which starts as late as onApril 7, remains in doubt