The Pakistan Super League 2023 is up and running with some top batters already showing early signs of good form to set the tone for the rest of the tournament by making vital contributions for their respective teams.
As many as seven players registered half-centuries in their first match itself to begin their campaign on a positive note.
The season flagged off with Lahore Qalandars squaring off against previous edition runners-up Multan Sultans on the opening day, where the defending champions won the encounter by a slender margin of one run.
Qalandars’ opener Fakhar Zaman, who finished as the top run-getter in 2022 (588 runs in 13 matches), picked up from where he left off with a fine 66 off 42 balls to propel his team to a challenging total of 175/6.
5️⃣0️⃣ up 🙌— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) February 13, 2023
Leading run-getter of the last season @FakharZamanLive begins #HBLPSL8 with a bang!#SabSitarayHumaray | #MSvLQ pic.twitter.com/LbOfH9lxn3
Thanks to his fiery knock, Zaman became only the second cricketer to cross the 2000-run mark in the competition’s history.
With his outstanding 66 today, @FakharZamanLive becomes only the second player after Babar Azam to complete 2️⃣0️⃣0️⃣0️⃣ runs in HBL PSL 👏#HBLPSL8 | #SabSitarayHumaray | #MSvLQ pic.twitter.com/1s6HqERbtc— PakistanSuperLeague (@thePSLt20) February 13, 2023
In reply, Sultans’ captain Mohammad Rizwan’s attacking 50-ball 75 proved to be inadequate as his team fell short by a solitary run.
The second fixture of the season was yet another close contest where Peshawar Zalmi got the better of Karachi Kings by two runs.
The PSL all-time leading run-scorer Babar Azam and Tom Kohler-Cadmore scored fifties to power Peshawar Zalmi to 199/5, which the bowlers managed to defend despite Shoaib Malik (52 off 34) and Imad Wasim (80 off 47) getting Karachi Kings within touching distance of a stunning victory.
Elsewhere, Multan Sultans batter Rilee Rossouw is also in the fray to bag the Green Cap at the end of the season.
The South African power-hitter, who comes with a proven reputation for consistent performances in T20 leagues across the globe, showcased his skills with a fantastic fifty against Quetta Gladiators on February 15 to help Multan Sultans pocket their first points in the PSL 2023 standings.
Among the other home stars, Shan Masood and Mirza Baig are players to watch out for. While the former has played more than 50 international matches for Pakistan, youngster Mirza Baig is yet to make a debut for the national side and will be hoping to catch the eyes of the selectors with a string of handy knocks.
Most runs in Pakistan Super League 2023
|Mohammad Rizwan||Multan Sultans||11||516|
|Babar Azam||Peshawar Zalmi||9||416|
|Imad Wasim||Karachi Kings||10||404|
|Rilee Rossouw||Multan Sultans||10||401|
|Fakhar Zaman||Lahore Qalandars||11||384|
|Martin Guptill||Quetta Gladiators||9||310|
|Tom Kohler-Cadmore||Peshawar Zalmi||10||309|
|Saim Ayub||Peshawar Zalmi||10||309|
|Colin Munro||Islamabad United||10||294|
|Azam Khan||Islamabad United||9||280|
Photo credit: Alamy