Babar Azam, Imad and Naseem sparkle in 2023-24 PSL season

Sports Saturday 23/March/2024 18:00 PM
By: Times News Service
Babar Azam, Imad and Naseem sparkle in 2023-24 PSL season

An exciting Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2023-24 season concluded on March 18 with Islamabad United lifting the trophy for the third time in a thrilling final against Multan Sultans.

Islamabad United’s Hunain Shah hit a four off the final ball of the match to give Islamabad a two-wicket win, and inflict Sultans’ third straight final defeat. Sultans were on the receiving end of an even closer result in the 2023 edition, where Lahore Qalandars beat them in the final by just one run.
Here is a look back at the best 11 players from the season.

1. Saim Ayub (Peshawar Zalmi)
345 runs, 31.35 ave, 157.53 SR, two fifties, eight wickets, economy 7.45
The 21-year-old Ayub’s season was about as complete as it can get. He teamed up with Babar Azam for the most formidable opening combination of the season. He added another potent layer to his formidable T20 repertoire, sometimes sending down a few tidy overs in the powerplay. He also picked up valuable top-order scalps.

2. Babar Azam (Zalmi)
569 runs, 56.90 ave, 142.60 SR, five fifties, one hundred
Babar dominated the runs charts once more, topping that list for the third time in the last five seasons. The Zalmi captain’s highest run tally also came with the highest strike rate.

3. Usman Khan (wk, Multan Sultans)
430 runs, 107.50 average, 164.12 strike rate, two fifties, two hundreds Usman Khan was arguably the surprise of the tournament. He wasn’t in the starting XI of Multans at the beginning but ensured he was nailed on by the end with a breathtaking mix of devastation and accumulation. He would finish behind only Babar in the run charts but at nearly twice the average and a much superior strike rate. He hit two of the season’s four centuries and his runs in the final allowed Sultans to have a fighting total in the final.

4. Shadab Khan
(captain, Islamabad United)
305 runs, 30.50 ave, 142.52 SR, three fifties, 14 wickets, economy rate 8.54
Shadab Khan’s runs ensured his all-round combinations were effective. As Islamabad United captain, he came in at No. 4 in all but one match and demonstrated he was good enough to bat there. Three half-centuries and an impressive ability to attack spin after the field restrictions kept United moving. With the ball, he picked 14 wickets.

5. Rassie van der Dussen
(Lahore Qalandars)
364 runs, 72.80 ave, 154.89 SR, three fifties, one hundred
Rassie van der Dussen was near-invincible during the seven games he played with the Qalandars, making up for a misfiring top order with a dazzling array of shotmaking from lower down. The South African’s unbeaten 104 was one of the best innings of the season and left the campaign with a player-of-the-match award in Qalandars’ only win.

6. Iftikhar Ahmed (Sultans)

259 runs, 64.75 ave, 193.28 SR, one fifty, two wickets
With the highest strike rate of the season, Iftikhar Ahmed proved he is still at his best in T20s. Iftikhar certainly was an impact player, and all that’s best about him shone through in the final. He hit an unbeaten 20-ball 32 that kept them in the final before chipping in with his only two wickets of the season.

7. Imad Wasim (United)
12 wickets, economy rate 6.60, 126 runs, 21.00 ave, 128.57 SR, one fifty
The player of the final, Imad Wasim had a spectacular sensational all-round season. Imad was the bedrock to United’s flair with bat in hand too, none more so than an unbeaten 13-ball 30 that gave United a last-ball win to keep them alive in the group stages. He saved his best for the final, becoming the first bowler to take five-for in a PSL final, and hanging around with bat in when the winning runs were hit.

 8. Akeal Hosein
(Quetta Gladiators)
15 wickets, 20.53 ave, economy rate 7.70
Quetta Gladiators’ only entry in this list, West Indies’ Akeal Hosein provided reliability to his side’s bowling attack. The fifth-highest wicket-taker of the tournament, Hosein’s value lay in his ability to bowl at any stage of an innings. He finished with the second-lowest economy among spinners.

9. Usama Mir (Sultans)
24 wickets, 15.87 ave, economy rate 8.13
Usama Mir was the most prolific bowler of the tournament. No one else managed even 20 wickets, nor could anyone match his balls-per-wicket ratio of 11.7. He was also responsible for the tournament’s only six-wicket haul and went wicketless in just one of his 12 games.

10. David Willey (Sultans)
15 wickets, 20.40 ave, economy rate 7.46
David Willey’s economy was second only to Imad. The Englishman gave Sultans dependency at the top or the tail of their bowling innings, and his variations on slowing pitches made him near-unhittable at times. He was one of the pillars in Sultans’ impressive run to the final.

11. Naseem Shah (United)
15 wickets, 22.20 ave, economy rate 7.56
Naseem Shah made a successful return from a serious injury. Leading United’s attack, he bowled two of the seven maiden overs of the tournament. His nine-ball 17 in the final levelled the scores and teed up his younger brother Hunain to hit the winning runs.