Peshawar Zalmi PSL 7 Preview: Will This Be Their Year Again?

Tom Kohler-Cadmore and Kamran Akmal of Peshawar Zalmi.
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Peshawar Zalmi have been one of the most consistent teams in the history of PSL yet, they have *just* one trophy so far – Top of the group stage in PSL 1, champions in PSL 2, runners-up in PSL 3, 4, and 6. Perhaps their poorest display was in PSL 5, where they finished fourth and were knocked out in their first round of the playoffs. They will be once again eyeing the silverware this time around and have assembled a good squad for PSL 7.

Peshawar Zalmi PSL 7 Preview

Squad Composition

Ahead of the draft for PSL 7, Peshawar Zalmi made one foray into the trading arena, obtaining Hussain Talat from Islamabad United in exchange for a Silver pick. Their retentions were among the strongest on paper: Wahab Riaz, Liam Livingstone, Shoaib Malik, Rutherford, Haider Ali, Saqib Mahmood, Hussain Talat, and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.

Strengths

Strong batting against Spin – Last season, Peshawar Zalmi were the standout batting side against the slower bowlers as well, particularly in the UAE leg, where they dominated the middle overs unlike anyone else (10 RPO – next best Islamabad United 8.9 RPO) With a batting order that once again includes the likes of Akmal, Ali, Malik, and Livingstone, Peshawar Zalmi have an incredibly strong batting line-up against spin.

Fast Bowling depth – Riaz will lead the pace attack, while Mahmood will play an important role with the new ball when available. Their three silver picks – Salman Irshad, Arshad Iqbal, and Sameen Gul – bring different strengths to the table, with Sameen a good powerplay bowler and Arshad a middle-overs specialist. Sirajuddin is an exciting emerging fast-bowler, while Mohammad Umar provides a backup option in that department. English pacer Pat Brown offers a point of difference, while Sohail Khan has plenty of experience on his side.

Weaknesses

Death Bowling – Riaz struggles at the back-end of the innings. While he bowled well with the new ball last season, the one-time premier T20 death bowler went at 12+ RPO in the death overs in PSL 6. While Irshad has a good yorker, he has gone at 12+ RPO at the death in the few T20s he’s played in the last couple of years. Pat Brown had some good displays at the death in the past, but the Englishman has also conceded 12+ RPO at the death since 2020.

Form of  Kamran Akmal – Kamran is the one played in the Peshawar Zalmi line-up who has shown signs of slowing down, which resulted in a category demotion and a withdrawal from the PSL before he was convinced to continue. He is currently in his 40s and has not played much cricket in the past 6 months and along with opening the batting, he will don the gloves which means there is a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Peshawar Zalmi’s performance looks likely to depend heavily on how he fares this season.

Likely Playing XI

  1. Hazratullah Zazai (O)
  2. Kamran Akmal (wk)
  3. Haider Ali
  4. Shoaib Malik
  5. Liam Livingstone (O)
  6. Sherfane Rutherford (O)
  7. Hussain Talat
  8. Wahab Riaz (c)
  9. Usman Qadir
  10. Sirajuddin (E)
  11. Saqib Mahmood (O)

Prediction – Playoffs