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Multan Sultans bank on Mohammad Rizwan for maiden HBL PSL title

Multan Sultans participated in their first HBL PSL in 2018

Multan Sultans bank on Mohammad Rizwan for maiden HBL PSL title PHOTO COURTESY: PSL

Multan Sultans is the franchise that represents the city of Multan located in the Southern part of Punjab. It was created in 2017 and included in the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL) as the sixth team.

The Multan Sultans franchise is owned by Janoobi Cricket (Pvt.) Limited since 2019 after successfully bidding for the ownership rights of the franchise.

Multan Sultans participated in their first HBL PSL in 2018 but could not create an instant impact on the tournament, finishing at the number five spot above the Lahore Qalandars franchise. The HBL PSL 2019 ended in the exact same fashion as Multan Sultans found themselves at the fifth spot once more above Lahore Qalandars.

The franchise however came roaring back in the fifth edition of the HBL PSL in 2020 finishing at the top of the table before failing to make it to the final. Their dominance in the first round in the HBL PSL 2020 however is a strong indicator that the franchise is on its way up in the tournament’s hierarchy.

Multan Sultans is currently being led by Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan for the sixth edition of the HBL PSL, who replaced former captain Shan Masood, while Zimbabwe’s former cricketer Andy Flower occupies the head coach position for the team.

Multan Sultans prides itself on taking a stat-based approach to decision-making which has seen the team rise towards better performances in recent times.

Captain

Pakistan’s wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan was announced as the captain for the Multan Sultans franchise for the HBL PSL season six, replacing opener Shan Masood in the role who had led the franchise through a very dominant phase during the HBL PSL 5.

Rizwan has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the world of cricket. Once seen as an athletic wicketkeeper who could bat a bit, the energetic cricketer has turned things around with extraordinary performances in both Test cricket and Twenty20 Internationals for the national side that included a stunning match-winning hundred against South Africa at home.

The 28-year-old has represented Pakistan in 29 T20Is scoring 510 runs at an average of 31.87 at a strike rate of 120.56. His career statistics however do not do justice to the form that the wicketkeeper finds himself in coming into the HBL PSL.

Rizwan’s batting prowess in all formats of the game has been a revelation for a Pakistan side that has been starved for reliable batsmen that can deliver in any situation. Multan Sultans will benefit greatly from Rizwan’s meteoric rise and could potentially replicate their dominant performance in the last edition of the HBL PSL’s first round in the upcoming tournament.

Players to watch out for:

Shahid Afridi

Pakistan’s legendary former all-rounder Shahid Afridi might have retired from international cricket, but his impact on any game he plays is crystal clear. The flamboyant superstar of Pakistan cricket carries his proud legacy into every game along with a reputation of being a match-winner from seemingly impossible positions.

The 43-year-old brings a wealth of experience to the Multan Sultans franchise. Afridi represented Pakistan in 99 T20Is scoring 1416 runs at a strike rate of 150 along with 98 wickets at an economy rate of 6.63.

The all-rounder’s age has not stopped him from delivering his trademark leg-spin that has bamboozled many legends of the game. His fielding and batting remain on par with some of the younger talents in the league as well which makes him a vital asset for the Multan Sultans’ franchise.

Imran Tahir

South Africa’s Imran Tahir is a superstar in the world of T20 cricket with his famous energetic wicket-taking celebrations being the highlight of any match he plays in.

The leg-spinner, much like Afridi, has a wealth of experience which becomes a crucial element in high-intensity encounters.

The 41-year-old has featured in 38 T20Is for the Proteas side picking up 63 wickets at an economy rate of 6.73.

Tahir’s magnetic energy boosts the morale of his side and he possesses an uncanny skill of changing the entire match in a couple of overs if he can get it right. Tahir’s energy, his experience, and his ability to turn the tide of any game make him a crucial member of the Multan Sultan’s dugout.

Fixtures (PST)

Feb 21: v Islamabad United (Karachi, 7:00pm)

Feb 23: v Peshawar Zalmi (Karachi, 7:00pm)

Feb 26: v Lahore Qalandars (Karachi, 3:00pm)

Feb 27: v Karachi Kings (Karachi, 2:00pm)

Mar 03: v Quetta Gladiators (Karachi, 7:00pm)

Mar 05: v Karachi Kings (Karachi, 7:00pm)

Mar 07: v Quetta Gladiators (Karachi, 2:00pm)

Mar 12: v Peshawar Zalmi (Lahore, 3:00pm)

Mar 13: v Islamabad United (Lahore, 7:00pm)

Mar 16: v Lahore Qalandars (Lahore, 7:00pm)

Multans Sultans squad:

Shan Masood (C), Shahid Afridi, Chris Lynn, Imran Tahir, Carlos Brathwaite, Mohammad Rizwan, Rilee Rossouw, Sohail Tanvir, Khushdil Shah, James Vince, Adam Lyth, Imran Khan Sr., Mohammad Umar, Shahnawaz Dhani, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohaibullah, Sohail Khan, Usman Qadir.