PSL 2018 predictions: Sports journos put their clairvoyant caps on for the T20 spectacle

he who’s who of Pakistan’s sports industry tell Dawn.com who they think will be PSL 3’s biggest winners and losers.

With the Pakistan Super League PSL 2018 kicking off in just a few more days, Dawn.com decided to test the predictive abilities of some of the biggest names in the Pakistani sports journalists community.

Let’s see if their predictions for the big T20 spectacle turn out to be as good as their knowledge of the game.


Who are you rooting for?

Lahore Qalandars! Because Lahore is my hometown!

Who will actually win the PSL 2018, and why?

Tough one! It’s T20 and whoever plays better on the day wins but I would love for a Lahore versus Karachi final.

Who will finish last and why?

I don’t want to predict that — you just never know.

Who will score the most runs in the tournament?

Fakhar Zaman! He has been in great form of late.

Name your pick for the highest wicket-taker.

Shadab Khan!

Name one player who you think will surprise everyone.

Watch out for Jofra Archer!

Name one player who will be the biggest letdown.

I really can’t say. It’s unfair to take a name.


Who are you rooting for?

Lahore Qalandars! They are my favorite team for a variety of reasons, but what really connects me to them is their work for the development of cricket at the grass-root level. Qalandars’ player development programme to find hidden talent from remote areas is really commendable.

Who will actually win the PSL 2018, and why?

I would love to see Lahore Qalandars win the PSL. They finished at the bottom on both past occasions, but they were just unlucky and definitely deserved better. All the teams are equally strong this time so it is hard to predict a winner, but I foresee a Lahore vs Peshawar final.

Who will finish last and why?

I wouldn’t want to answer this one. All the six competing teams are my favourites, and ultimately Pakistan cricket will be the winner. So it doesn’t matter who finishes at the bottom.

Who will score the most runs in the tournament?

Fakhar Zaman.

Name your pick for the highest wicket-taker.

Mohammad Amir.

Name one player who you think will surprise everyone.

Lahore Qalandars’ Sohail Akhtar. He’s a hard-hitting batsman and definitely a player to keep an eye on.

Name one player who will be the biggest letdown.

I’m going to skip this one because naming anyone would mean draining the confidence of that player.


Who are you rooting for?

I’ll go with Quetta Gladiators.

Who will actually win the PSL 2018, and why?

I think it will be the Sarfraz Ahmed-led Quetta Gladiators, simply for their consistency and well-oiled combinations.

Who will finish last and why?

Going by the chaos in their rank and file at the moment, I am backing Karachi Kings to finish last.

Who will score the most runs in the tournament?

Keeping in view the UAE conditions, Babar Azam makes for a good candidate. Kevin Pietersen, too, could have another big tournament.

Name your pick for the highest wicket-taker.

I will back the ever-improving Shadab Khan to fetch most scalps.

Name one player who you think will surprise everyone.

I think it is Lahore Qalandar’s dashing skipper Brendon McCullum’s turn to set the turf on fire this time.

Name one player who will be the biggest letdown.

Easy… Umar Akmal! He has been a letdown throughout his career and is likely to maintain that (low) standard.


Who are you rooting for?

I’m rooting for Karachi Kings because I’m a Karachiite. Not a huge fan of the franchise and how they’ve gone about things, but it doesn’t really matter: the PSL is about supporting your home city!

Who will actually win the PSL 2018, and why?

Quetta! Finalists twice in a row, and they play T20 really interestingly in the sense they don’t have the best bowling line-ups, but they always, always pack a very powerful punch with their batting. Sarfraz is an excellent captain too, so there’s that.

Who will finish last and why?

Laughs Lahore, who else! L for last, L for Lahore.

Who will score the most runs in the tournament?

We haven’t really seen any real stars emerge in terms of batting. Generally, it’s been the same old Pakistani faces who’ve topped the charts and, what, a couple of outsiders? But I’d love to see somebody like Fakhar Zaman top the charts. A young Pakistani, essentially. Islamabad also has that…kia nam hai us ka (what’s his name) Sahibzada something. He’s an exciting prospect.

Name your pick for the highest wicket-taker.

Unsurprisingly, Shadab! He’s really improved leaps and bounds over the last year as has Hasan Ali. Generally, I have a feeling that you’ll see a local bowler top the charts.

Name one player who you think will surprise everyone.

The Under-19 captain Hassan Khan, who plays for Fata. He’s had an interesting U19 World Cup and is mature beyond his years. I have a feeling he might break out this time around.

Name one player who will be the biggest letdown.

You don’t want to wish anyone flopping or having a bad tournament, so I don’t know about that. But maybe one of the star signings: the likes of Brendon McCullum, Kevin Pietersen or Kieron Pollard. Perhaps you might see the veterans not do as well as they’re expected to because each one of them is such a huge name and you expect so much from them.


Who are you rooting for?

Being involved with the PSL as Media and Communication Manager, I have to stay neutral — but I started my PSL journey with Peshawar Zalmi, and I think, deep down, I will be rooting for them. However, I would also like to see my hometown franchise, Karachi Kings, play the final on March 25 at a packed National Stadium.

Who will actually win the PSL 2018, and why?

It’s never easy predicting a cricket tournament, especially a franchise league, since all teams are well balanced. I would like to choose my finalists as stated above: a Karachi vs Peshawar final should be a humdinger. Having said that, the rest of the teams are equally capable of winning the trophy.

Who will finish last and why?

Let’s hope it’s not the Lahore Qalandars once again. They have worked really hard and I hope they get the rewards this season.

Who will score the most runs in the tournament?

I would like to give you three names who I feel can make a big impact. They have big reputations already! Chris Lynn, Shoaib Malik and, watch out for this: Khurram Manzoor. You heard it here first.

Name your pick for the highest wicket-taker.

Can’t go with anyone other than Shadab Khan. I think he will have another great tournament with the ball. Yeah, he’s my pick.

Name one player who you think will surprise everyone.

I am really looking forward to seeing Sahibzada Farhan in action. He has emerged as a wonderful batting talent in recent domestic seasons. Let’s see how he deals with the high voltage PSL atmosphere. If I am allowed another pick, it would be Faheem Ashraf.

Name one player who will be the biggest letdown.

My job is to have a strong rapport with all the players, so I won’t want to predict a failure. If I can spin it a tad, I would be keeping a close eye on Kamran Akmal and Sohail Khan. Let’s see if they maintain the standard of their performances in 2017 or take a nosedive.


Who are you rooting for?

No one. No one at all!

Who will actually win the PSL 2018, and why?

Islamabad United, because of the number of all-rounders they have. Andre Russell, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf… just look at them! They also have two decent emerging players in the form of Sahibzada Farhan and Hussain Talat, plus the construct of their squad is such that they won’t be having many issues with the availability of the players. Others might!

Who will finish last and why?

Lahore Qalandars, because their strategy often does not make sense. They have a lot of power-hitters, but very few are capable of arresting a collapse.

Who will score the most runs in the tournament?

Tough to predict, but top-order batsmen such as Babar Azam and Ahmed Shehzad have a good chance here. They come in real early and know the conditions really well.

Name your pick for the highest wicket-taker.

Again, a tough call but I’d go with Wahab Riaz and maybe Hasan Ali (if he does not miss too many games).

Name one player who you think will surprise everyone.

I have a bad feeling about Umar Amin.

Name one player who will be the biggest letdown.

Brendon McCullum, maybe?

Do you agree with the predictions? Let us know in the comments section! You can also post predictions of your own. If you outdo the experts, we might give you a shout-out in our post-tournament wrap-up!