MULTAN             -          Multan Sultans and Peshawar Zalmi will play each other for the first time in the eighth match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020. It will also be the first time Multan gets to host a team on their home ground, as the match will be the first to be held in the Multan Cricket Stadium.

Both the teams have played each other four times in the past with both sharing two wins over each other. This makes them evenly matched, and even though both teams have made significant changes to their squads for this year’s tournament, they have won one and lost one match so far. The Sultans will once again rely on James Vince and Rilee Rossouw at the top to provide them with a good start in front of a home crowd so they can push for a big total. Shahid Afridi will have to play a veteran’s knock to lift up his side late in the match as there are no benchmark scores on this ground yet.

Bilawal Bhatti could make his way into the team in place of Muhammad Irfan who has largely been ineffective in the first two matches for the Sultans. Bhatti could provide the team with some extra pace and contribute some runs down the other. However, Imran Tahir will once again be the pillar of the bowling department and we could watch him perform exceptionally well if the Sultans bowl first.

Peshawar Zalmi has been riding high on the back of Kamran Akmal’s brilliant form which he has carried into this season from the last one. He made a quickfire 43 while chasing Karachi Kings’ 201 but his team fell short in their first match. In the second match, he hit a century and carried his side to a comfortable win over Quetta Gladiators. His team will be looking to him once again in this match as they will try to get the maximum out of Akmal at the top in order to set or chase down big scores. Shoaib Malik will need to step up soon or face the axe, while Liam Livingstone will also have to play a major role in the middle of the order.

While Peshawar Zalmi’s bowling looks extremely strong on paper, especially due to some all-rounders in the team, they will need Hasan Ali and Rahat Ali to do much better to keep their team in the game and stop leaking too many runs.

Multan may seem like the favourites, especially since this will be their first match on home soil, it will be the Zalmi’s who will walk into this match as the favourites due to their experience and the form Kamran Akmal and Wahab Riaz are in.

The Multan Cricket Stadium boasts to be one of the largest cricket stadiums in the country with a capacity of 24,800 spectators while National Stadium Karachi and Gaddafi Stadium Lahore can host 23,000 and 22,000 spectators, respectively. Grass has been re-laid at the stadium, which gives it a lush-green look and distinguishes it from its peers in the country.

One of the conspicuous features of the stadium is a closer view of the players for the fans due to lesser distance between the seats and the playing area. Fully furnished media boxes have been installed at the new-look stadium to facilitate the media persons and the broadcasters with state-of-the-art facilities.