PSL 2023: Karachi Kings & Peshawar Zalmi Season Previews

PSL 2023: Karachi Kings & Peshawar Zalmi Season Previews

Karachi Kings PSL 2023 Preview

The Karachi Kings begin their 2023 PSL season at home to Peshawar Zalmi on 14 February. Karachi’s National Stadium is one of the four venues of PSL 8 and hosts four of the Kings’ opening five games.

Negotiating the loss of Babar Azam is the biggest challenge at hand for the Karachi side in PSL 8.

They will be hoping to make the most of the early home advantage to avoid a repeat of last season’s last-place finish.

How will the Kings line up?

Karachi Kings possible playing XI for PSL 2023
Karachi Kings possible playing XI

Negotiating the loss of the PSL’s all-time top scorer Babar Azam to Peshawar Zalmi – depriving the Kings of leadership and world-class batting, a double whammy – is the biggest challenge at hand for the Karachi side in PSL 8.

With Babar gone, much depends on England’s James Vince to set the pace up front. He had a successful season for the Sydney Sixers in BBL 12, accumulating 263 runs at 37 and striking at 128. The captaincy void, meanwhile, is filled by all-rounder Imad Wasim.

Coming the other way from Zalmi is the seasoned Shoaib Malik, now a veteran of over 500 T20 games. Haider Ali has also made the switch from Peshawar to Karachi.

Malik’s fellow quadragenarian Imran Tahir too brings a wealth of T20 experience to his duties as the Kings’ lead spinner.

Injury prevented Mohammad Amir from featuring at all in PSL 7 and the Kings will be glad of his availability this time.

Also read: Multan Sultans & Lahore Qalandars PSL 2023 Previews

Overseas players for the Kings

Along with Vince, the headline acquisition is Australia’s Andrew Tye, who finished joint-second for wickets in BBL 12 with 26 scalps, helping the Perth Scorchers to their fifth title.

Tye is one of the world’s leading T20 bowlers. Better fortunes for the Kings in PSL 8 largely depend on his form and fitness.

Karachi have another significant Australian recruit in wicketkeeper Matthew Wade.

The Hobart Hurricanes captain finished with 307 runs in BBL 12, behind only Tim David at the club.

This season, however, the Kings’ most important batter may well be Sharjeel Khan.

Tabraiz Shamsi has some decent form behind him, having taken eight wickets at an economy of 7.17 in the inaugural SA20.

The left arm wrist spinner is another key piece of the puzzle in what looks to be a spin-heavy attack at the Kings, although he’s only partially available for PSL 8. Karachi have Faisal Akram lined up as a replacement.

Visit our friends at for live cricket scores from all major Twenty20 leagues including the Indian Premier League, Big Bash League, T20 Blast, Pakistan Super League, NZ Super Smash, SA20, and more!

How did the Kings go last season?

Karachi Kings in PSL 7 2022
Karachi Kings in PSL 7

The Karachi Kings’ form was truly wretched in 2022. They finished bottom with just one win in their ten league games.

Their only win came against eventual champions Lahore Qalandars. Mir Hamza was their match winner that day with 4-27.

Top performers for the Kings in PSL 7

No Kings bowler reached double figures for wickets last season. Chris Jordan was the leading wicket taker in 2022 with nine scalps.

Mir Hamza, for his part, finished the season with eight wickets while Imad Wasim bagged six.

The new skipper was arguably more important with the bat, however. He struck at 142 for his 141 runs in PSL 7, the fourth highest for the Kings last year.

Babar Azam was the top scorer with 343 runs. This season, however, the Kings’ most important batter may well be Sharjeel Khan. His tally of 231 runs in PSL 7 was second only to Babar.

More importantly, those runs came at comparatively brisk 130; three of the other top five scorers for the Kings, including Babar, struck at under 120.

Also read: One Player to Watch from Each Women’s T20 World Cup Team

Peshawar Zalmi PSL 2023 Preview

Unlike the Lahore Qalandars, Multan Sultans, and their first opponents Karachi Kings, Peshawar Zalmi play no games at their home city in PSL 2023.

Instead, they’ll visit three of the four PSL 2023 venues in their first five games.

He’s not alone either – it’s hitting all the way down.

Whether they can repeat their run to the Eliminator from last season – and potentially even more – could come down to how they grapple with rapidly changing conditions in the opening stretch.

How will Peshawar line up?

Peshawar Zalmi possible playing XI for PSL 8 2023
Peshawar Zalmi possible playing XI

The arrival of Babar Azam from Karachi Kings is a massive coup for Peshawar. He’s been immediately installed as captain and will be expected to score heavily at the top of the order.

Mohammad Haris was a bright spot for Pakistan at the T20 World Cup and his aggressive style will complement the new captain nicely.

He’s not alone either – it’s hitting all the way down. Sherfane Rutherford, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, and Rovman Powell constitute an incendiary middle order and will be key in replacing the departed Haider Ali and Shoaib Malik.

The experienced Wahab Riaz is the PSL’s all-time top wicket taker and is gearing up for another season in yellow as Peshawar’s pace spearhead.

Leg spinner Usman Qadir had some success in BBL 12 for the Sydney Thunder, collecting 10 wickets in 11 games at an economy of 8.42.

For Peshawar, Qadir will want to improve on last season’s performance. In PSL 7, he went at an exorbitant 10.13 runs an over.

Also read: Quetta Gladiators & Islamabad United PSL 2023 Previews

Overseas players for Peshawar

The main theme for the ‘yellow storm’ in PSL 8 is churn. In addition to the loss of several players from last season’s squad, a number of Peshawar’s overseas players in 2023 are only partially available.

How they negotiate this upheaval could decide the entire course of their season.

For key players Powell and Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Peshawar have Richard Gleeson and Peter Hatzoglou lined up as replacements.

Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, meanwhile, is available for the first couple of weeks before departing for international duties.

The limited availability of players might eventually decide team selection for them, but at the moment Peshawar have some real decisions to make.

Their sternest test in PSL 8 will be reversing their losing record against Multan Sultans (0-2) and Islamabad United (1-2) from last season.

The main judgement call concerns Tom Kohler-Cadmore, whose inclusion could tilt the balance of the side in another direction.

If Kohler-Cadmore is included, there are no overs to be had from him as they are from all-rounders Neesham and Shakib.

Plus, the relative flexibility of having Rutherford/Neesham/Powell/Rajapaksa in the line up would be traded for a more settled batting order.

How did Peshawar go last season?

Peshawar Zalmi in PSL 7 2022
Peshawar Zalmi in PSL 7

Peshawar finished level on points with runners-up Qalandars in the league phase of PSL 7. However, they were kept in third by a worse net run rate.

Their league finish was good enough to make the Eliminator, where they were knocked out by Islamabad United.

Peshawar did the double over both Quetta Gladiators and Karachi Kings last season. Against eventual champions Qalandars, they were 1-1.

But their sternest test in PSL 8 will be reversing their losing record against Multan Sultans (0-2) and Islamabad United (1-2) from last season.

There’s a good chance they’ll encounter those teams in a knockout game this year and will have to overcome them if they are to win the title.

Top performers for Peshawar in PSL 7

In 2022, Salman Irshad was far and away Peshawar’s most successful bowler with 15 wickets – six clear of next best Wahab Riaz.

Most impressively, he got those 15 scalps in just eight games, at a strike rate of 12.8.

Peshawar need him to fire again if they want to make the knockouts.

The overseas all-rounders in the squad are exciting with the bat but they have some big shoes to fill. Shoaib Malik topped the run charts for Peshawar last season with 401 runs. But incredibly, the next highest didn’t even reach 200.

He’s not the only loss. In fact, none of Peshawar’s four top scorers from 2022 are still with the side.

It’s a new look side, in short, completely refreshed and with a new captain. They are not short of talent, for sure. But Babar and co must deliver right away for Peshawar to have a chance at glory.


Header image: Nomi887/CC BY-SA 3.0/via Wikimedia Commons/

If you want to follow more of our PSL analysis or any of our other work at Wicky, please reach out via email or on social media.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Share on linkedin

Contact us

Book A Free Demo