Debutants Multan Sultans will take on holders Peshawar Zalmi in the opening match of Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2018 edition at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Thursday, February 22.
Zalmi, led by World T20-winning West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy, will look to get their title defense off to a good start, unlike last year where they lost their opener to Islamabad United.
The Peshawar-based franchise have let go off some of their key players from the last season, including superstar Shahid Afridi and England captain Eoin Morgan. Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib al Hasan will also miss the tournament due to injury.
However, they still have a strong core group, consisting the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Wahab Riaz, Kamran Akmal and Chris Jordan. The addition of West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo comes as a big boost to the team.
"We will try and defend our title when we get to Karachi [proposed venue for final]. They are all coming for my title. I hope my team is still in the running when we get to Karachi," Sammy said during the trophy unveiling ceremony in Dubai on Tuesday (February 20), as quoted by Khaleej Times.
Newbies Sultans look strong on paper
Meanwhile, newbies Sultans will be led by Pakistan all-rounder Shoaib Malik. They have a strong support staff with former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody as the head coach and Pakistan great Wasim Akram as bowling coach.
Apart from Malik, the Sultans picked Kieron Pollard, Kumar Sangakkara, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Sohaib Maqsood, Irfan Khan and Kashif Bhatti as their pre-draft players.
PSL's top-scorer Ahmed Shehzad will be expected to lead the team from the front with the bat. West Indies' Darren Bravo is also a solid addition to the Sultans' batting unit.
On the other hand, Sultans' will rely on South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir to do the trick for them with the ball.
When does the match start and how to watch it live
The opening match of PSL 2018 between Zalmi and Sultans 5pm GMT, 9pm local, 10:30pm IST.
Live streaming and TV coverage
- Worldwide live stream: cricketgateway.com
- India: TV: DSport; Live stream: DSport on Jio TV, Airtel TV; cricketgateway.com
- Pakistan: PTV Sports
- UK: Sky Sports Channel 792 (Prime TV)
- US: Willow TV
Peshawar Zalmi: Darren Sammy (c), Tamim Iqbal, Kamran Akmal, Andre Fletcher, Riki Wessels, Hammad Azam, Haris Sohail, Dwayne Bravo, Khushdil Shah, Umaid Asif, Saad Nasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Sabbir Rahman, Liam Dawson, Sameen Gul, Hasan Ali, Chris Jordan, Mohammad Asghar, Wahab Riaz.
Multan Sultans: Shoaib Malik (c), Ahmed Shehzad, Darren Bravo, Abdullah Shafique, Saif Badar, Nicholas Pooran, Kumar Sangakkara, Sohaib Maqsood, Kashif Bhatti, Shan Masood, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Abbas , Umar Siddiq, Ross Whiteley, Imran Tahir, Junaid Khan, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul, Hardus Viljoen.