Sarfaraz to lead; de Villiers, Watson, Akmals in PSL XI

Shane Watson cuts one behind point PSL

The fourth edition of the PSL threw up its usual mix of established stars, breakthrough talents and men on the comeback trail coming good. Here is ESPNcricinfo's tournament XI:

1. Kamran Akmal

An assertive opener and momentum-setter, Kamran had a run feast for Peshawar Zalmi. He started the tournament sluggishly with three ducks, but got back in the groove with three flamboyant fifties. He finished as the second highest run-getter in the season with 357 runs at a strike-rate of 137.8. Overall, he is the highest run scorer in the PSL with 1286 runs, and the 67 sixes and 127 fours he has hit are also the most.

2. Shane Watson (overseas)

Watson was of the most valuable players for Quetta Gladiators. A powerful batsman in prime form, he was the million-dollar wicket for the opposition if they wanted to restrict Quetta to a moderate total. He was also the leading run-getter this season, with 430 runs at an average of 43.00 and a blistering strike-rate of 143.81.

3. Colin Ingram (overseas)

Cameron Delport also had a case to be the No.3, but Ingram's superior strike-rate of 164.59 for the 344 runs he made gave him an edge. He was fourth in the run-getters charts, and was instrumental in keeping Karachi Kings among the top four teams. He stunned Quetta in Sharjah with a record-breaking century, smashing 12 fours and eight sixes in an unbeaten 59-ball 127 that surpassed Sharjeel Khan's earlier PSL record innings of 117.

4. AB de Villiers (overseas)

He played only seven games in the UAE and missed the Pakistan leg with a back strain, but he was the most celebrated player in the competition and made a stirring contribution to Lahore Qalandars. His 52 off 29 balls helped chase down a target of 201 against Multan Sultans in Sharjah. Although his presence wasn't able to lift Lahore from the bottom, he remains an automatic choice to walk into any team. He made 218 runs at an average of 54.50, the highest among the top 20 run-getters.

5. Umar Akmal

Umar finally rediscovered the magic in his batting. He had spent a lot of time in the wilderness, but having a new team in Quetta Gladiators this year seemed to help him turn his luck, and he made 277 runs at 34.62. His high-impact 76 off 50 not only helped Quetta cruise to victory against Peshawar Zalmi in the third match of the season, but also drew the attention of the selection committee and Pakistan's head coach Mickey Arthur. It meant he was back in the national squad for the series against Australia in the UAE.

6. Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain, wk)

The choice of captain was a tough one between Darren Sammy and Sarfaraz Ahmed. Both have inspired their team through the seasons. Both have led their respective teams, Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, to three finals, with one win each. But in the choice between Sammy and Sarfaraz, the latter was a better pick given his local knowledge of the players.

7. Faheem Ashraf

Ashraf's nippy seam bowling and extraordinary ability to take wickets regularly kept the opposition at bay in most games. He had 21 wickets in the season, the second-highest tally. His high point came against Lahore Qalandars in Karachi, when he picked up 6 for 19, his best in T20 cricket.

8. Wahab Riaz

Wahab might have been overlooked by the Pakistan selectors for all formats, but he has always been a prominent force in the PSL. He is the all-time leading wicket-taker with 65 wicekts at 17.38. This season, his tally of 17 put him third on the list. He was outstanding in generating considerable pace even on sluggish tracks.

9. Hasan Ali

Hasan has been more mature than ever, and led the way even in a star-studded Peshawar Zalmi attack. He topped the charts with 25 wickets this season, and his bowling average was just 13.64.

10 Sandeep Lamichhane (overseas)

The young legspinner from Nepal has made enough waves that his inclusion in any T20 side in the world will not cause eyebrows to be raised. In his very first game in the PSL he took three wickets, and later on he also achieved his career-best 4 for 10 in the tournament. He had a fruitful season with Lahore Qalandars, picking up 11 wickets.

11. Mohammad Hasnain (emerging)

A genuine fast bowler who clocked over 150 kph, Hasnain made a big impact this year season. He also showed excellent temperament, rising to the big occasion with 3 for 30 to be Man of the Match in the final. Hailing from interior Sindh in Hyderabad, the teenaged Hasnain has already been rewarded with a national call-up for Pakistan in their five-match ODI series against Australia.

12th man: Umer Khan (emerging)

AB de Villiers, Shane Watson, Luke Ronchi, Corey Anderson, Shoaib Malik, Rilee Rossouw, Cameron Delport, Kamran Akmal - 19-year-old bagged some of the biggest wickets in T20 cricket in his debut PSL season. Born in Rawalpindi, Umer grew up in FATA (Federally-Administered Tribal Areas, on the border with Afghanistan), where his father runs a tire puncture-repair shop. He was discovered by the PCB coaches during the Pepsi Cricket Stars programme in 2014 and has made himself one of the bright prospects for Pakistan.