Multan Sultans v Peshawar Zalmi: Can the leaders turn it on and off at will?

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We have the first of two semi-finals in the Pakistan Super League from Lahore on Tuesday and Ed Hawkins is expecting plenty of runs...

"Our trades have proved profitable so far. But really we're using the toss as a guide. This is another chasing venue and we expect the toss bias of more than 60% in the tournament to hold"

Multan Sultans v Peshawar Zalmi
Tuesday 17 March 09.00
Live on Betfair Video

Multan risk momentum shift

The gloss of Multan Sultans' league-winning campaign was chipped a little by a heavy defeat against Lahore Qalandars in their final game. Outright backers will be nervous they will become the latest table toppers to falter in knockouts.

Could Multan follow the fate of the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash and Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League? They are certainly showing similar signs of imminent collapse.

Most disappointing was their decision to play fast and loose with momentum by resting key players. Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir and Imran Tahir didn't play as Multan fielded a reserve bowling attack. The nine-wicket loss was just desserts. It was an odd call considering they have already lost batters James Vince and Rillee Rossouw, who have returned to England and South Africa respectively.

Probable XI Nazir, Ashraf, Masood, Moeen, Bopara, Khushdil, Afridi, Tanvir, Shafiq, Irfan, Tahir

Zalmi depleted

Peshawar scraped into the semi-finals on run rate in the final qualifying spot. They won five of their ten matches.

It has been a turbulent campaign with Darren Sammy starting the season as captain and them moving to coach. They have also been the franchise hardest hit by departing players because of the covid-19 pandemic. Tom Banton, Liam Livingstone, Liam Dawson, Lewis Gregory and Carlos Brathwaite have all gone home. Coach James Foster quit, too.

Banton had a poor tournament but his struggles reveal much about Peshawar's issues. He was in and out of the team, then asked to fulfil a different role. Strategy has not been clear.

Homegrown stars Kamran Akmal, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali are going to have to play out of their skin to pull off a shock here.

Probable XI Kamran, Imam, Wahab, Umar Amin, Shoaib Malik, Haider Ali, H Azzam, Adil Amin, Hasan, Rahat, Mohammad Amir Khan

Runs in the offing

The Gadaffi Stadium has been full of runs this edition. The first-innings scores (most recent first, 1-2 denote match won by side batting first or second) read: 182-1/187-2/187-2/98-2/198-2/209-1/182-1/164-2/138-2. Multan recovered from 38 for two to blitz 182 against Lahore on Sunday and then their bowlers went round the park as they failed to defend. It looks a terrific surface, then, and as we said in that match more than 180 is a play on the runs markets.

Keep toss on side

Early prices have Multan [1.7] favourites with Peshawar around [2.2]. We expect the latter to drift as the toss approaches.

Although we recognise Multan, who won both head-to-heads, as the superior team man for man, we have to be cautious as using the league season as a formguide. It's not the same Multan team which started the season.

The Lahore loss was also troubling because they seem to have lost faith in their key strategy - data. Chris Lynn destroyed their bowlers but in our Cricket...Only Bettor podcast we heard their analyst describe how using Moeen Ali against Lynn was a key strategy. On Sunday Moeen bowled one over.

Our trades have proved profitable so far. But really we're using the toss as a guide. This is another chasing venue and we expect the toss bias of more than 60% in the tournament to hold.

Cricket...Only Bettor: how the Multan Sultans are dominating with data

Kamran just about value

Kamran Akmal came into this year's tournament with a 34% win rate on two-year data. But despite impressing with a century in only his second game, he has won punters money on top Zalmi bat twice. He remains a smidge of value at 5/2 with Betfair Sportsbook on three-year form. The interesting move is Wahab at 9/2. He batted at No 3 last time because they are desperate for powerplay runs after the player drain.

Ed Hawkins P-L

2020: -10.8
2019: +37.25pts
2018: +23.53pts
2017: +12pts
2016: +18.1pts
2015: +38pts
2014: +31.5pts
2013: +25pts
Based only on available prices. Does not include back-to-lay in-running match advice or commission rate. Figures 2013-2016 on 1pt level stakes. New points system (0.5pt-5) introduced for 2017. Includes Hawk-Eye stats column p-l

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