PSL 2017 Best XI: Team of the tournament
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After 24 eventful and thrilling matches, the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 2017) finally came to a fitting end with the finals held at Lahore. The finals marked the return of cricket of international sorts make way to Pakistani soil yet again. The Brendon McCullum-led side Lahore Qalandars were the only unlucky franchise to have missed out on the playoffs berth. But truth be told, they played good cricket in the tournament too. Such is the format that a point or two could eventually see a team ousted from the league.
Talking about the performances, the Peshawar Zalmi emerged as the team to beat in the tournament. Some splendid all-round show saw them finish at the top of the points table and later capping of the title too. The team that saw a massive upsurge towards the end to have the tables turned was Karachi Kings. They needed to win 3 of their last four matches to qualify and they did it in style. Despite a certain Chris Gayle in the lineup, it was the young blood like Babar Azam that came to the fore as the heroe of the tournament.
Azam emerged as just one of the top performers of the league stages. The Kings upset the defending champions Islamabad United in the 2nd Qualifying finals to make it to the 3rd Qualifying finals. They met the spirited Zalmis, who were hurt by Quetta Gladiators in the 1st Qualifying finals. Peshawar beat Karachi to set up a revenge date with the Gladiators in the finals and eventually managed to lift the coveted silverware too. All in all, it was a tournament full of surprise performances.
Here we pick the PSL best XI based on the herculean showdown by the players:
Kamran Akmal – Peshawar Zalmi
Kamran Akmal had a point to prove as he came into the second edition of the PSL. He has been an out of favour candidate for the national side and has been toiling hard on the domestic front to get back in the scheme of things for national selection. He probably has served his case decently enough in this edition of the PSL.
In the 8 league matches that he played for the Peshawar Zalmi, Akmal had 208 runs to his name with a strike rate of 123.07. After having started poorly with a couple of ducks, he gradually picked pace and finished with two fifties to his name in the league matches.
In the 2nd Qualifying final against the Karachi Kings, he blasted the first and only PSL ton of the season to power his side to the finals. He finished as the leading run-getter of the tournament with 353 runs to his name in 11 matches at an average of 32.09 and 16 sixes – the most by any player this season.