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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Ronchi an irresistible force, Sammy a class act, Afridi appears ageless: PSL 3 team of the tournament

As the third edition of the Pakistan Super League is consigned to history, Paul Radley picks his best XI of the tournament

Luke Ronchi led from the front to guide Islamabad United to the PSL 3 title. Asif Hassan / AFP
Luke Ronchi led from the front to guide Islamabad United to the PSL 3 title. Asif Hassan / AFP

Islamabad United clinched their second HBL Pakistan Super league title when they beat the outgoing champions Peshawar Zalmi by three wickets in Sunday’s final in Karachi.

Luke Ronchi was the standout figure in their success, but they were well represented throughout the tournament by other key figures, too. Here is an XI of players who starred in PSL 3.

1 Kamran Akmal (Peshawar Zalmi)

The leading run-scorer in PSL history dragged his side through to a second successive final with three blistering half-centuries in the space of four must-win matches. Second only to Luke Ronchi for batting influence.

2 Luke Ronchi (Islamabad United)

The tournament’s irresistible force. The stats are telling: he had the most runs, the highest strike-rate of anyone who spent a significant amount of time at the crease, and four match-deciding half-centuries at the business end of the event.

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3 Babar Azam (Karachi Kings)

Another productive harvest in PSL 3 moved him to second in the run-scoring charts for the three-year history of the competition, behind Kamran Akmal. And the runs came at a faster rate this time, too.

4 Shane Watson (Quetta Gladiators)

No overseas player has managed more runs in the PSL than Watson. The 319 runs he managed in his first season for Quetta took his aggregate for the past three seasons to 684 in 25 matches.

Shahid Afridi proved his worth in his first season for the Karachi King . Satish Kumar for The National
Shahid Afridi proved his worth in his first season for the Karachi King . Satish Kumar for The National

5 Shahid Afridi (Karachi Kings)

It is often speculated that Afridi is older than the 38 years he is officially credited as being. In actual fact he is ageless. He must be, given his wicket-haul, economy, and even fielding athleticism in his first tournament with Karachi.

6 Darren Sammy (Peshawar Zalmi)

The only player that spent any appreciable amount of time at the crease to manage a better strike-rate than Ronchi. And that on one leg for most of the time. Then there is his peerless leadership. A class act.

7 Sunil Narine (Lahore Qalandars)

It beggars belief Lahore have managed to finish last in every PSL to date, despite having Brendon McCullum as captain and Narine leading their attack. His economy rate was six per over. Remarkable, in a failing team.

8 Samit Patel (Islamabad United)

A revelation taking the new-ball for the champions. The English left-arm spinner took 13 wickets and kept an economy rate under seven, while mostly bowling in power plays. Two early wickets set up the final win.

Darren Sammy enjoyed another good season for Peshawar Zalmi. Asif Hassan / AFP
Darren Sammy enjoyed another good season for Peshawar Zalmi. Asif Hassan / AFP

9 Mohammed Nawaz (Quetta Gladiators)

OK, so the pitches are generally slow in UAE, and were particularly conducive to spin this time around. But to keep an economy rate of a meagre 5.44 in 36 overs of T20 cricket is a stunning feat.

10 Faheem Ashraf (Islamabad United)

Tied with Wahab Riaz as the leading wicket-taker in PSL 3, with 18 victims. Faheem’s excellence meant Islamabad hardly noticed the absence of injured Rumman Raees. And he hit the winning six in the final, too.

11 Wahab Riaz (Peshawar Zalmi)

There is clear daylight between the left-arm fast-bowler and the rest at the top of PSL’s all-time wicket-taking charts. The 18 he managed this season mean he is now 11 ahead of Mohammed Sami at the top of the list.

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