While the cricketing world was sent into a complete freezer as the world shook hands with the pandemic, there was every reason for fans to feel gutted about. However, the dark clouds are shying away at a steadier pace. Adding meaning to their smile, the cricket fanatics experienced the much-awaited 13th season of the Indian premier league after a hiatus of 5 long months of late.
Mumbai Indians ruled the roost as the Rohit Sharma-led outfit outsmarted all other heavyweights only to land on the podium at the end of the season. Much to the Mumbai supporters’ cheers, the star-studded side added the fifth trophy in their glorious cabinet.
As soon as the tournament came to the business end, another T20 extravaganza got into the groove as the Pakistan Super league playoffs hit the floors which were abruptly postponed owing to the pandemic earlier in the year. Eventually, Karachi Kings led by Imad Wasim bagged the champions tag at the end of the truncated cash-rich league.
On that note, this article attempts to paint a picture wherein the powerful PSL Dream Team 2020 lock horns against the ruthless Mumbai-based outfit. Let us analyze the players who can seamlessly fit into the elite squad on the back of their impeccable performance in the recently concluded cricketing contest.
Here’s the best PSL 2020 XI that can defeat Mumbai Indians title-winning team
1. Fakhar Zaman
The premier Pakistani batsman Fakhar Zaman broke into the limelight for his extraordinary performance with the willow against India in the ICC Champions Trophy final back in 2017. He amassed a scintillating century playing the decisive role in taking the Men-in-green across the winning mark.
Subsequently, the 30-year-old opener became a known face in the Pakistan Super League. Having played for various teams, the lethal top-order decimator plied his trade for Lahore Qalandars in the 5th edition of the PSL. He features as a dashing opener in the dream team.
Out of the 12 outings, Zaman mustered 325 runs at a stunning strike-rate of 129. Laced up with 36 fours and 10 sixes, he scored at an average of 27. Hence, it will be exciting to witness Fakhar padding up strongly only to take on the lethal bowling unit of the five-time champions.
2. Babar Azam
The Pakistan all-format skipper Babar Azam has been a shining light for the national team. Compared with the present towering cricketers in the likes of Virat Kohli and Steve Smith, the classic batsman has been in incredible form of late. Donning the jersey for Karachi Kings, the cricketing dynamo notched 473 runs in 12 matches at a strike rate of 124.14.
The prolific match-winner came out all guns blazing in the final scoring 63* against Lahore Qalandars helping the team to cross the line of triumph. Also, he received the Player of the tournament for his outstanding stint throughout the season. He was awarded the player of the match in the grand final as well.
Under the captainship of Imad Wasim, Babar along with his compatriots cruised the team into the finals. Hence, the confident outfit handed Lahore Qalandars a comprehensive defeat but it stands upright that Babar was a vital cog in the team’s machinery in the 5th edition.
Eventually, he will open alongside Fakhar as he would face the bowling biggies in the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. It will be a treat to watch for the evergreen fans as the heated face-off would unfold on the cricketing turf.
3. Mohammad Hafeez
Bringing in a pool of experience along with himself, Mohammad Hafeez boasts a top-class skill that helps him to ignite the spark of brilliance on the 22 yards. In the recent trot, he has lit up the scoring charts racking 312 runs in the 12 innings for the Lahore side. Talking about his strike rate and average, Hafeez has whacked at 129 and 39 respectively.
The 40-year-old still remains the talk-of-the-town thanks to his spectacular willow work. Although he could not play to his perfection in the final showdown only managing to score two runs, it is a no-brainer that Hafeez can weather the bowling storm on his day single-handedly.
Therefore, he finds his name in the elite list of professionals as a one-down batsman. He can provide the right balance to the top-order batting unit which can help the team in the overall scheme of things.
4. Luke Ronchi (WK)
New Zealand based wicketkeeper-batsman possesses an ability to charge up the crease and despatch the balls to every corner of the field. In PSL 2020, the heavyweight plied his trade for Islamabad United. Ranking 9th in the highest-run getters list, he bags the spot for scoring 266 runs in 8 matches at an impressive strike rate of 156.
He smashed 2 fifties for his team which helped him to gain confidence as he was playing after a long gap of apparent eight months. The power-hitter can snatch matches from the jaws of defeat, Eventually, he makes it into the top 11 for his remarkable performance on every front.
He will don the 4th position which can add an extra ounce of weightage to the middle-order department in the dream team. Moreover, his fabulous glovework behind the stumps can be a match-turner at any given point.
5. Imad Wasim (C)
The England-born Pakistani premium bowling all-rounder Imad Wasim has added many feathers of adulation in his cap. Of late, he is apparently in cloud 9 after having a successful season in the PSL. Under his leadership, Karachi Kings have been crowned the champions of PSL 2020.
Leading the team by example, Imad smashed 50 in the team’s opening match against Peshawar ensuring that kings start-off the season on a high note. The middle-order batsman mustered 158 runs in 11 appearances at a strike rate of 133.
With the leather in the hand, the 32-year-old has left no stones unturned bagging 7 crucial breakthroughs in 11 matches. Interestingly, Imad cements his position in the dream XI who can turn the tables on their side irrespective of the Mumbai pace quartet or batting troika in the form of Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan along Surya Kumar Yadav.
6. Samit Patel
The England-born player Samit Patel plied his trade for Lahore Qalandars in the recently-concluded tournament. The 35-year-old made his debut for England back in 2008. However, he lost his ground for his poor fitness. Eventually, he became a prime name in the T20 glamour and glitz contest.
In the 16th match of the high-octane competition, he displayed some fireworks as he scored 71 runs at a strike rate of 177. It was laced up with 9 fours and 2 out-of-the-park sixes.
Out of the 12 outings for the runners-up team, he garnered 10 wickets which itself is proof of what he is capable of. He additionally scored 188 runs with his willow. In order to boast a batting-deep team, Samit Patel sweeps in the dream XI squad as he can shoulder the responsibility and get the team out of trouble whenever required.
7. Shadab Khan
The all-rounder by professional Shadab Khan has been a promising cricketer for the Pakistan cricket team over the years. A prodigious swinger of the ball, burst onto cricket’s collective consciousness only during the 2016/17 PSL season.
His ability to take wickets while maintaining an excellent economy rate saw him talked up as that most frequent of phenomena: an exciting Pakistani prospect. Having donned the jersey for Islamabad United, he lived up to the billing as he castled 8 wickets with the ball and 253 with the willow.
Making the sound with his ferocious performance, it is expected that he can prove his mettle against the leading IPL team coming at the 7th position. Hence, Shadab can take up the tough challenge on his chin even if the top-order has crumbled down in the first quick spells.
8. Wahab Riaz
The Pakistani speedster Wahab Riaz became a talk-of-the-town after his brilliant heated face-off against the Aussie stalwart Shane Watson in the World Cup 2015. Although the Men-in-green lost the match comprehensively, Wahab won hearts for his ‘keep fighting’ spirit.
Over the years, the aggressive ace pacer has become a big name in the PSL. Recently, the 35-year-old went all guns out representing the one-time champions Peshawar Zalmi. He plucked 11 wickets in the 10 matches. Supporting by the likes of Hassan Ali and Rahat Ali, the left-arm pacer made a forceful impact for his side.
Subsequently, he gets rewarded for his exceptional performance in the ongoing trot. For his quickfire cameos and his decimating bowling figures, Wahab features in the Dream XI squad of the 5th PSL season.
9. Imran Tahir
The South-African spinner Imran Tahir cannot be ignored when it comes to franchise cricket. Spearheading the spinning unit, the 41-year-old veteran played for Multan Sultans in the PSL 2020 season. Interestingly, the leg-spinner has Pakistani roots which makes him a special player in the eyes of the Pakistani fans.
Deceiving the world-class batsmen with sheer ease and comfort, Tahir is just a ball away from making an impact on the team in any given match. He scalped 11 important wickets in 10 matches giving him an edge over other tweakers.
Given his recent stint on the 22 yards, he gets into the list of high-profile teams that boast various arsenals. Interestingly, Tahir plies his trade for IPL franchise CSK as well and he will get to know more about the opposition.
10. Sohail Tanvir
The left-arm pacer Sohail Tanvir has remained in the limelight for over a decade. Debuting for Pakistan in 2007 against India, he has decided to walk the extra mile to etch his team with the glory. The 35-year-old served his cricketing duty for Multan Sultans in PSL 2020.
Living up to his standards, he picked up 14 wickets with his sheer in-swinging deliveries. He bowled at a stunning economy of 7.54. To his credit, Sohail expresses his knack to be the best in the business every time he steps on the cricketing turf. In the match against Peshawar Zalmi, the unorthodox speedster jolted the opposition snatching 4 wickets.
In a bid to get the early breakthroughs from a lethal Mumbai batting line up, Tanvir makes it into the Dream XI squad as the leader of the fast-bowling unit. It goes without saying that the likes of Rohit Sharma and De Kock will find him precarious to deal with his extra-paced deliveries.
11. Shaheen Shah Afridi
The ruthless bowler Shaheen Shah is known for ripping apart the battling line up from the word go. In the 5th edition of the PSL, he plied his trade for Lahore Qalandars under the stewardship of Sohail Akhtar
He burst into the nation’s consciousness with 8 for 39 on Quaid-e-Azam Trophy debut, the best-ever figures by a debutant in the competition. Later, he was picked for the PSL, where figures of five wickets for four runs in a group game for Lahore Qalandars won him a place in the T20I squad against the West Indies.
Lending weight to the argument is his emboldened statistics. He grabbed 17 wickets in 12 matches in PSL 2020. Sending shivers to the spines of the opposition heavyweights, Afridi flaunts an aggressive action which is followed by extreme pace and swing.
For his brilliant rendition with the ball, he etches his name in the team of the bests alongside the likes of Tanvir and Wahab Riaz. Eventually, fans must be thrilled to watch out Afridi charging up with fire only to uproot the stumps to its core