PSL 8 Preview: Multan Sultans’ Strengths, Weaknesses and X-Factor

Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) newest team, Multan Sultans, has quickly established itself as one of the most consistent sides in the tournament. Multan entered the tournament in the third edition and they have gone on to play in two PSL finals while emerging as champions in the seventh edition.

Last season, Multan came close to becoming the first team in PSL history to defend their title but ultimately lost the final to Lahore Qalandars. They will be determined to go one step further this time and lift their second title, becoming only the second team in the competition’s history to win the title on multiple occasions.

Multan Sultans seem prepared for the challenge of PSL 8 and they have added extra quality to their already well-balanced side. South African superstar, David Miller is potentially the pick of the season, while they have also picked the likes of Josh Little and Akeal Hosein. England’s World Cup-winning spinner, Adil Rashid was also picked in the supplementary category in the PSL 2023 draft.

PSL 8 Squad

Multan will be led by Mohammad Rizwan in PSL 8 with the likes of Shan Masood, Rilee Rossouw, Khushdil Shah, Shahnawaz Dahani, and Tim David forming a solid core of the squad. The inclusion of David Miller and Akeal Hosein has added extra quality to an already settled squad.

Here is the 18-man squad:

Mohammad Rizwan (c) David Miller Josh Little Shan Masood Rilee Rossouw Khushdil Shah
Akeal Hosein Tim David Shahnawaz Dahani Usman Khan Usama Mir Sameen Gul
Mohammad Sarwar Anwar Ali Ihsanullah Abbas Afridi Arafat Minhas Adil Rashid

Previous PSL Finishes

Multan Sultans joined the league in the third edition and soon established themselves as one of the most exciting teams in the tournament. After a tough first two years in the league, they found their feet and became one of the most consistent sides in the league. Multan won their first PSL title in PSL 6 and followed up by qualifying for the final of PSL 7, which they lost to Lahore Qalandars.

Here is how they have performed throughout PSL:

PSL Edition Year Position finished
1 2016 Did not exist
2 2017 Did not exist
3 2018 5th
4 2019 5th
5 2020 3rd
6 2021 Champions
7 2022 Runner-up

Strengths

Solid Top order

The top order of Multan Sultans was one of the major reasons for their success in PSL 6 and 7. Their consistent performances at the top laid the foundation for the rest of the side, which enabled them to score big on numerous occasions. Multan crossed the 200-run mark four times in PSL 7.

The top three of Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, and Rilee Rossouw contributed 1,299 runs in the previous season, which was 62% of the total runs Multan scored in the tournament. All three batters have been in sensational form in 2022 with both Shan Masood and Rilee Rossouw making their way back to their national teams after a string of marvelous performances in the shortest format of the game.

Here’s the overall T20 record of Multan’s top order:

Player Innings Runs Average Strike Rate
Mohammad Rizwan 184 5,937 42.71 125.43
Shan Masood 132 3,391 27.79 125.68
Rilee Rossouw 268 7,025 30.67 142.87

Explosive Middle-Order

Multan’s well-balanced batting unit includes a solid top three along with an explosive middle order, containing hard hitters such as David Miller, Tim David, and Khushdil Shah.

All three batters have a reputation for hitting big in T20 cricket. While David and Khushdil have been a part of Multan over the years, David Miller’s induction has provided the team with extra quality in the middle. Miller is regarded as one of the finest finishers in T20 cricket and Multan will be hopeful that he brings his best to the side.

The combination of taking your time early on and hitting big through the middle overs and the backend of the innings will be a game-changer for Multan in PSL 8.

Here is the overall T20 batting record of Multan’s middle order:

Player Innings Runs Average Strike Rate
David Miller 373 9,004 36.45 139.10
Tim David 138 3,169 31.69 163.09
Khushdil Shah 108 2,181 27.60 133.80

Weaknesses

Less Than Stellar Bowling Unit

Multan have been renowned for getting out the best from their bowling attack. While they may not have possessed the superstar quality bowlers, they still managed to find a way to trouble the opposition batting unit. This time around, it is no different.

Multan’s pace attack of Shahnawaz Dahani, Josh Little, Abbas Afridi, Sameen Gul, Ihsanullah, and Anwar Ali is probably one of the weaker pace attacks in PSL 8. They do possess some quality spinners such as Akeal Hosein, Usama Mir, and Adil Rashid, but it pales in comparison to their previous spin attacks.

The Multan management will be hoping for Mohammad Rizwan to utilize his resources usefully and work it out on the field.

Player Matches Wickets Average Economy Rate
Shahnawaz Dahani 40 54 21.24 8.60
Josh Little 82 105 20.46 7.34
Akeal Hosein 98 83 24.04 6.49
Usama Mir 66 54 29.94 7.76
Sameen Gul 43 47 26.02 8.12
Abbas Afridi 12 10 31.00 9.11
Ihsanullah 8 8 19.87 6.76
Adil Rashid 250 278 23.34 7.52

Bench Strength

Another problem for Multan is the drop in quality at their bench. The likes of Mohammad Sarwar, Arafat Minhas, Ihsanullah, and Usman Khan are inexperienced at the top level and do not possess the same quality as the players in their starting XI. The experience of Anwar Ali may come in handy during some point in the tournament, but he too is not the same Anwar Ali of old.

Multan will be hoping that all of their star players stay fit and available throughout the tournament and help them qualify for the playoffs of PSL 8. In case they do have some problems with their starting players, their replacements may not be as good enough as expected.

X-Factor

Australia’s Tim David is a dream player for any T20 franchise. David has the ability to hit huge maximums and also contribute with the ball in hand. He was the star of the show for Multan in PSL 6 and his form in the upcoming edition will be crucial for Multan.

David has made a name for himself as a T20 specialist and Multan’s trust to pick him up in PSL 6 has led him to be picked in an IPL franchise and ultimately the Australian national side.

The Singapore-born cricketer has been sensational in the PSL for the past three years. David has scored 458 runs at an average of 41.63 and an exceptional strike rate of 182.47 in the 17 innings he has played in the tournament. David’s contribution in PSL 8 will be pivotal for Multan’s chances in the tournament.


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