It would not be wrong to say that the ongoing edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is coming across as the best season of the history of the tournament. The reason for all this excitement is that despite entering into the business end of the competition, none of the 6 teams are out of the highly admired T20 tournament. Multan Sultans, after failing to qualify for the play-offs of last two seasons of PSL, became the first unit to make it to the next stage. However, the race is spicing up for the remaining 3 spots of the play-offs. Interestingly, Lahore was seemed done and dusted before causing a major turn around and wreaking havoc on oppositions. As a result, their victories against defending champions Quetta Gladiators, arch-rivals Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi have set the PSL 2020 on fire.
Currently, Multan sits on the top of the table with 12 points. Karachi Kings have occupied the second spot containing 9 points followed by Peshawar with same number of points. Winning 4 of their 9 games, Lahore has so far managed to be in the top four teams of the competition. Having claimed 3 wins in 9 games, both Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators are in a dangerous position as even a win in their last fixture won’t guarantee a play-offs spot for them.
The tournament remains wide open with a plethora of permutations and combination. However, this text focuses on the most probable scenarios. Now, let us examine at the qualification scenarios for different teams.
Producing a sensational comeback by winning 4 of their last 5 contests, Lahore is the chief architect of all the excitement created on the points table of the 6-team event. Victories in the next games would ensure a play-offs berth for them without going into the details of other possible scenarios. However, a loss against Multan Sultans on Sunday would need Karachi to beat Quetta and Islamabad to help their arch-rivals. While Islamabad have their positive net run-rate as a major bonus, Lahore’s contest scheduled after the game between Islamabad and Karachi fixture would allow Qalandars to know what they exactly need to do to make it to the final four of the T20 extravaganza.
Having 4 important wins in the bag with a washed out game, Peshawar is in a relatively better position with 9 points. Their next contest is against the table toppers Multan Sultans and the yellow team will need a victory there to seal the deal with 11 points. If they lose, they would hope to see the defending champions as well as Islamabad losing their last fixture against Karachi Kings. Nevertheless, a victory of any of these teams can also make situation tough for them. If the aforementioned scenario doesn’t go in their favor, Peshawar would need Lahore to lose their next contest against Multan Sultans.
Clearly, Islamabad sits in a dangerous position as they only have won game left and that too against a quality side of Karachi Kings. Should the red team lose this game, that would be curtains for them as far as PSL 2020 is concerned. If they manage to defeat the blue team, they would require two teams among Lahore, Quetta and Karachi to lose their last fixture. Interestingly, Peshawar losing to Multan will also provide a massive advantage to Islamabad because of their impressive net run-rate.
Quetta had a contrasting journey compared to Lahore Qalandars as they lost their last 4 games to get installed in a state of bother. The game left against Karachi provides them a good opportunity to get to 9 points and stay in the race of the final four. If they win their last contest, a play-off berth wouldn’t be guaranteed as they it would also take a heavy defeat of Lahore against Multan or 2 major defeats of Karachi to boost Quetta’s net run-rate. The scenario stays the same in case of Peshawar and Islamabad’s defeat. All this would work only if the purple force manages a resounding victory to boost their shoddy net run-rate. With Quetta’s game against Multan getting washed out, the defending champions would need a to be at the top of their game to take down a quality side like Karachi Kings.
As a result of possessing 2 games in their bag and a point earned via a washed-out contest against Multan, the situation of Karachi isn’t bad at all. A victory in one of their next 2 games would not only earn them an entry in the play-offs, but that might allow them a top two finish on the points table of PSL 2020. In case Karachi loses their remaining fixtures to Islamabad and Quetta, they would be required to take the games right down to the wire to help their net run-rate. Not only that, Lahore’s defeat at the hands of Multan would also favor them to enter the play-offs of the 6-team event.
Without a shadow of doubt, it all sounds confusing, but tournament being wide open is creating many interesting scenarios. It remains to be seen what the PSL 2020 has in store for us.