The Pakistan Super League (PSL) is home to cricketing action of the highest quality and the fourth edition promises to be yet another fascinating extravaganza of captivating encounters. A total of six franchises will once again set out on a quest for glory as the battle between them intensifies. Islamabad United begin the tournament as defending champions and will be hoping to retain their title this time around as well. A tough competition awaits them, as all the PSL teams are stacked up with the perfect blend of international stars and local youth talent.
A resurgent Lahore Qalandars, a revamped Multan Sultans, a balanced Peshawar Zalmi squad, a tantalizing Quetta Gladiators lineup and the immensely popular Karachi Kings franchise – all strive to knock off Islamabad United from their perch and imprint their name in PSL history.
Taking a closer look at how the PSL points system operates, it resembles other T20 competitions around the world. As the tournament officially kicks off on February 14, it will be useful for fans to be cognizant of their team’s performance by keeping up-to-date with the points table.
All the 6 teams play each other twice through the group stage of the tournament. While this essentially resonates with the conventional home and away format, PSL matches will be conducted for a major part in UAE before moving to Karachi and Lahore for the final few games.
After the conclusion of this initial pool of matches, the top 4 teams will qualify for the next round of playoffs. Interestingly, Lahore Qalandars are yet to register a spot among the top 4 sides and have in fact always ended on their PSL campaign on the unwanted last position. Last year, Multan Sultans was the other team which failed to qualify for the playoffs.
The Pakistan Super League awards points to teams in light of the procedural rules set in place by the ICC. The victorious side receives two points while a loss incurs no addition to the points tally. In case of tied game, which the PSL has been witness to quite a few enthralling matches, the winner will be decided by a Super Over.
A point each is awarded to both teams in case of an abandonment of the match, which is a rare occurrence in PSL. Nevertheless, even in the dry deserts of UAE, the contest between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans in Sharjah last year was washed out without a single delivery bowled.
Although it seems uncomplicated that the top 4 teams progress to the next round, often a scenario develops whereby two or more franchises end up with the same number of points. In such a case, the teams are subject to different criteria which determines their ultimate fate in the tournament.
If teams are on equal points, the side with a higher number of wins gets through. If that too is identical, then the notorious net run rate comes into play. If this too is equal, then a lower bowling strike rate and subsequently head-to-head meetings play a role in deciding which team trumps the other in the rankings.
Such complications usually add more drama to the tournament as witnessed in the inaugural edition when Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings earned the same number of points but the latter went through in the playoffs because they had defeated Lahore in both outings in the league.
The playoffs of PSL 2019 are structured in a similar pattern as that of previous seasons. The top two teams have an advantage of getting two shots at making it to the final. The winner of the encounter between the top two teams automatically secures a berth in the final of Pakistan Super League.
The loser of this qualifier then takes on the winner of the eliminator between the third and fourth ranked teams. The triumphant side in the third match of the knockout stages then makes it to the final.
The excitement for the start of PSL is continuing to build with each passing moment. Fans cannot wait to witness the megastars of T20 cricket like AB de Villiers, Carlos Brathwaite and Colin Munro take center stage and create a sporting festivity.