The 2019 season of Pakistan Super League had an added significance because of the World Cup later this year, with a number of fringe-players trying to win back the favour of national selectors. While the likes of Umar Akmal, Ahmad Shehzad and Wahab Riaz from that list came good, some brilliant young players also emerged to the fore to stake their claims for the national side. Here’s Cricingif’s team of the season:
Shane Watson (overseas)
The highest run-getter of the season and player of the tournament, Shane Watson, was hands-down the most valuable player for Quetta Gladiators. He amassed 430 runs at an average of 43 with a strike-rate of 143.81 in PSL 2019.
Kamran Akmal (wk)
Kamran Akmal, the leading run scorer in the PSL with 1286 runs, had a rough start to the 2019 PSL season but kicked off towards the business end, scoring three brilliant fifties and was the most important batsman going into the playoffs. He could only manage 21 in the final but scored 357 runs at a strike-rate of 137.8 overall. He also had nine dismissals with the gloves.
Colin Ingram (overseas)
Karachi middle-order rock Colin Ingram scored 344 runs at a blistering strike-rate of 164.59 in the 2019 season. He finished fourth on the run-charts. His 59-ball 127 - the first century in the PSL by an overseas player - gave a major boost to the Karachi’s season and kept his side among the top four teams.
AB de Villiers (overseas) (captain)
The Lahore Qalandars marquee signing played only seven games in the UAE and missed the Pakistan leg due to a back injury, he made a significant contribution to Qalandars’ frail middle-order in the absence of Mohammad Hafeez. His main standout performance came against Multan Sultans as his 29-ball 52 helped Lahore chase down a massive target of 201 in Sharjah. Overall, he scored 218 runs at an average of 54.50 and a strike-rate of 128.99.
After having a tough season with Lahore Qalandars in the last PSL, Umar Akmal looked a completely different player in Quetta’s jersey. He scored 277 runs at an average of 34.62 and his blistering 76 off 50 balls powered Quetta to win against Peshawar Zalmi. His decent form in the tournament has also earned him a recall in Pakistan’s ODI squad to face Australia.
Also Read - PSL 2019: Finds of the tournament
Tough competition between him and Umar Akmal but a superior strike-rate of 182.46 for his 281 runs in 2019 campaign makes him a better choice. The season was especially important for him after a streak of ordinary performances with the national team, and the World Cup on the horizon.
Kieron Pollard (overseas)
Kieron Pollard had his best PSL season so far with 284 runs at an average of 28.4 and a stunning strike-rate of 173, including two half-centuries. He played a number of important knocks throughout Peshawar Zalmi’s campaign. He also took five wickets at an economy rate of 7.89.
The joint-highest wicket-taker of 2018 season was again in a superb form this season with the ball. Faheem took 21 wickets, three more than the last season, the second-highest wicket tally behind Peshawar’s Hasan Ali (25). His best bowling performance came against Lahore Qalandars in Karachi when he took 6 for 19 on a day when every other bowler from both sides went for plenty. He also scored 121 runs at a strike-rate of 159.25.
Wahab was another fringe player trying to stake his claim for international return, and possibly the World Cup squad. While his international appearances have produced mixed results, he has remained an enforcer in the Zalmi side since the first season. He took 17 wickets this season, third on the wicket-takers list behind Faheem And Hasan Ali. Wahab is also the all-time leading wicket-taker in PSL with 65 scalps at an average of 17.38.
Since his introduction in the first PSL season in 2016, Hasan Ali has only grown in stature. He topped the wicket-taking charts with 25 scalps this season with a stunning average of 13.64, including three four-
Umer Khan (emerging)
While almost every team brought young pace sensations to the fore, Karachi Kings introduced the talent of Umer Khan. He took 15 wickets at an average of 16.13 with an impressive economy rate of 7.11. His wickets tally included Shane Watson (twice), AB de Villiers, Luke Ronchi, Shoaib Malik, Rilee Rossouw, Umar Akmal and many other top batsmen, and deservedly won the emerging player of the year award.
Sandeep Lamichhane (12th man)
The young spin sensation from Nepal has become an automatic first-team addition since he came to the fore approximately a year ago. Lamichhane finished with 11 wickets in seven games at an average of 17.18 and was one of the positives of Qalandars’ shambolic campaign.