The countdown for the 2019 Pakistan Super League has already begun and it will take less than three weeks for the cricket season to begin in full. Reigning defending champion Islamabad United will face Lahore Qalandars in Dubai on 14 February.
The 32-day spectacle, which will feature 34 games, will end on March 17 in Karachi. Pakistan’s love for the T20 cricket is well known. It was one of the first nations to adopt the concept of 20 Overs Cricket, as a lively crowd of 25,000 people hinted at in 2005 when they saw the final result of Pakistan’s first domestic T20 competition in Lahore.
The idea of the Pakistani T20 league was questioned for the first time in 2008 and realized in 2015 when the PCBs passed five franchises – Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators – to various business groups for a total of $ 93 million sold 10 years. The league’s first player draft, held in Lahore in December 2015, selected 98 top cricketers, including 29 overseas, from the five teams.
Shahid Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Shane Watson, Kevin Pietersen and Chris Gayle were the five iconic players beaten by Peshawar, Karachi, Islamabad, Quetta and Lahore. The first edition of PSL in 2016, a 24-game event, was held in February in two locations in the United Arab Emirates – Dubai and Sharjah.
And who could have wished for a better start to the historic tournament when the gladiators beat the coveted United in the opening match in Dubai, and the following day Mohammad ‘Amir from Kings made a hat-trick against Qalandars.
Almost all the games of the tournament were well received by the passionate and hardened cricket fans. Lahore vs Karachi, for example, was watched by a crowd in Sharjah that recalled India-Pakistan games in the 1990s.
The final in Dubai was also a house full. United won the tournament after five wins in a row. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq claimed the trophy after his batsmen had successfully fought 175 against gladiators. Qalandars’ Umar Akmal finished the tournament as the best batsman with 335 runs in an amazing strike of 157.27, while Andre Russell finished the tournament as the best bowler and finished 16 wickets at 17.25.
The second edition of the PSL, which was played in February and March 2017, could be remembered as a crucial moment in the return of cricket to Pakistan. The tournament, which was similar to the previous edition, took place in Dubai and Sharjah, but the final between Zalmi and Gladiators was staged in Lahore and watched by over 20,000 spectators. There was a touch of excitement and excitement in the country since it became known that the final will take place in Pakistan.
The teams reshuffled their teams and brought new faces four months before the tournament in Dubai. Qalandars made some high-profile signings, with Brendon McCullum, Sunil Narine and Jason Roy, while King Kieron picked up Pollard and made Kumar Sangakkara their captain. Zalmi signed Eoin Morgan and handed over the management duties to Daren Sammy.
The tournament was a resounding success as a result of the signing and competition games. Eleven of 24 games may have been decided lately, including the first playoff in Sharjah, where Quetta defended two out of three balls and won with one run. Zalmi won the final against Gladiators, who were runners-up for the second consecutive year.
One of the star performers of the second issue was Kamran Akmal from Zalmi. He scored 353 runs with a hit rate of 129.30 to win the player of the tournament prize. Sohail Khan led the bowling charts and built 16 wickets for Kings.
The third edition brought Karachi back after nine years, when the City of Lights hosted the final between United and Zalmi. The two eliminators were played in Lahore, while in the United Arab Emirates a qualifier and the group stage took place. Joe Denly, Colin Ingram, Ravi Bopara, Daren Sammy, Liam Dawson, Andre Fletcher, JP Duminy, Samit Patel, Luke Ronchi (Islamabad), Thisara Perera, Mahmudullah (Quetta Gladiators) were some of them the high caliber overseas players who entertain the cricket fans in Pakistan.
The first eliminator in Lahore was a thriller in which Gladiator’s Anwar Ali, who hunted 25 runs from the last run of Zalmis Dawson, only had two runs behind the target. However, the biggest hero of the tournament was United’s Ronchi, who scored 435 runs on his first appearance in the tournament with an impressive 182.00 hit rate. His best result was a 39-ball-94, which did not come out in the qualifier against Karachi in Dubai.
That United had won the tournament for the second time was due to Ronchich’s furious thugs throughout the event, as well as his 52 of 26 balls in the final, which drew nearly 30,000 spectators at the National Stadium Karachi.
The ever-growing popularity and value of PSL can also be determined by the fact that the third edition contained 10 more games and greeted a new team in Multan Sultans, which sells to a Dubai-based company for twice the amount of the most expensive franchise so far has been .