Several highly-ranked T20 stars have been at their best in the PSL 7 while some emerging and experienced talent have stepped up. Here are seven players to watch out for during the playoffs.
The Pakistan Super League playoffs are set to start after Multan Sultans topped the table with a record nine wins from 10 group stage matches.
The defending champions will be led by their star batter and captain Mohammad Rizwan against Lahore Qalanders and an in-form Shaheen Shah Afridi in the Qualifier.
The Qalanders will hope to get a boost from having home ground advantage in this clash to decide which team takes the direct route to the Final.
Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United will face-off in the first Eliminator with the winner to keep their PSL 7 hopes alive.
Peshawar only missed out on a top-two finish due to their lowly net run rate, while Islamabad United enter the playoffs with a losing group stage record and will be missing their top-scorer Englishman Alex Hales as well as Ireland's Paul Stirling.
As the PSL 7 moves into the playoffs we look at some of the highly-ranked players in the MRF Tyres ICC T20I Rankings that have lived up to their lofty standards, and others that have outperformed their ranking.
Mohammad Rizwan (Multan Sultans)
ICC T20I Ranking: #2 for batters
PSL 7 runs: 479 runs (#2 in the group stage), average 68.42, strike-rate 130.16
One of the premier T20 batters in the world has lived up to his top-billing with six half-centuries in 10 innings while also leading his team to an ominous record heading into the playoffs.
Rizwan has been well-supported by Shan Masood, who scored the third-most runs in the group stage with 457.
Fakhar Zaman (Lahore Qalandars)
ICC T20I Ranking: #37 for batters
PSL 7 runs: 521 runs (#1 in the group stage), average 52.1, strike-rate 157.4
The opening batter has been the standout performer of the tournament so far, matching Rizwan’s six half-centuries while also being one of only three PSL 7 players to hit a ton.
With Lahore well-stocked for bowling talent but looking a little thin in their batting line-up, the in-form left-hander might need to continue with his incredible consistency for the Qalanders to claim their first PSL title.
Hazratullah Zazai (Peshawar Zalmi)
ICC T20I Ranking: #15 for batters
PSL 7 runs: 170 runs (#22 in the group stage), average 24.28, strike-rate 125
One of the highest-ranked T20I batters left in the tournament, Afghanistan’s emerging star disappointed with only one half-century from seven innings.
The 23-year-old will need to improve on his group stage displays and offer better support to the likes of Shoaib Malik (346 runs) if Peshawar are to progress past the first Eliminator.
Shadab Khan (Islamabad United)
ICC T20I Ranking: #9 for bowlers
PSL 7 wickets / runs: 17 wickets (#1 in the group stage), average 8.52, economy 6.04; 232 runs (#12 in the group stage), average 38.66, strike-rate 165.71
The 23-year-old has starred as expected with the ball and somewhat surprised with the bat, taking the most wickets in the tournament so far and adding useful runs at a healthy strike-rate.
The all-rounder might not be available for the playoffs which would leave Islamabad relying more on Azam Khan (228 runs) and needing Rahmanullah Gurbaz (139 runs) to live up to his ICC T20I ranking of 22.
Imran Tahir (Multan Sultans)
ICC T20I Ranking: Outside top 100 bowlers
PSL 7 wickets: 16 wickets (#2 in the group stage), average 15.43, economy 6.33
The veteran wrist-spinner has turned back the clock to be the most dangerous bowler for the outstanding team so far, with Khushdil Shah (15 wickets) and Shahnawaz Dahani (13 wickets) also performing well.
Tahir’s efforts include three hauls of three wickets, and the 42-year-old enters the playoffs after taking 2/8 against Islamabad in the final group match.
Zaman Khan (Lahore Qalandars)
ICC T20I Ranking: Outside top 100 bowlers
PSL 7 wickets: 14 wickets (#5 in the group stage), average 21.07, economy 8.23
The 20-year-old right-arm quick has been one of the finds of the tournament and particularly impressed when taking 4/16 against Karachi Kings. He also has a couple of three-wicket hauls.
With Shaheen Shah Afridi (15 wickets, ICC T20I ranking #11 bowler) coming in from the other end, the Qalanders have the strike force to contend even if Rashid Khan (13 wickets, ICC T20I ranking #6 bowler) will miss the playoffs.
Hasan Ali (Islamabad United)
ICC T20I Ranking: #61 for bowlers
PSL 7 wickets: 6 wickets (#25 in the group stage), average 50.16, economy 11.28
The medium-pacer is built for T20s with his consistent line mixed with a blend of variations, but his displays in this tournament have not always hit his usual high-standard.
The 27-year-old has gone for 43 runs or more in five of his seven matches to have a concerning economy-rate of 11.28 while only picking up six wickets.
Pakistan Super League
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PSL playoffs fixtures
The Pakistan Super League playoffs and final are LIVE and on-demand on ICC.tv (dates based on local time in Lahore):
23 February: Qualifier - Multan Sultans v Lahore Qalandars
24 February: Eliminator 1 - Peshawar Zalmi v Islamabad United
25 February: Eliminator 2 - Lahore Qalandars v Eliminator 1 Winner
27 February: Final - Multan Sultans v Eliminator 2 Winner
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