The opening ceremony of the fifth edition of the Habib Bank Limited (HBL) Pakistan Super League (PSL) will cost around Rs210 million, as the cricketing tournament, unlike its previous editions, is held entirely in Pakistan.
According to Cricket Pakistan, the colorful and extravagant opening ceremony will be held at National Stadium in Karachi, following which Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United will play the first match of the tournament.
The two are also the only teams guaranteed to be at the event as according to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) officials, the teams that are scheduled to compete the following day will not be able to take part in the opening ceremony where popular local singers, including Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Abrarul Haq, Sajad Ali, Sanam Maarwi, Aima Baig, Abu Mohammad, Fareed Ayaz and Soch band are expected to perform.
Contrary to PCB officials’ statement, Peshawar Zalmi management has said that the team would also be present at the stadium.
QUETTA VS ISLAMABAD:
Led by former Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed, Gladiators will look to kick off the fifth edition of the tournament with a bang.
Despite the fact that the new of teenage pace sensation, Naseem Shah, is out of at least two matches of the tournament, the Gladiators, with a host of international and local players, will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
With top run-scorer Shane Watson and his Australian counterpart Ben Cutting, along with England’s Jason Roy and fast bowlers Tymal Mills and Windies Keemo Paul, the Quetta-based franchise will want to start the tournament with a win.
Among the national players are batsmen Ahmed Shehzad, Khurram Manzoor and Sarfaraz, and bowlers Sohail Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz.
They will be without the services of middle-order batsman Umar Akmal who was banned by Pakistan Cricket Board from participating in domestic tournaments on Thursday.
Taking on the Gladiators will be two-time champions Islamabad United, led by leg-spinner Shadab Khan. Adding to the mix is South African pacer Dale Steyn who joins his Proteas team-mate Colin Ingram. Luke Ronchi, Colin Munro, Phil Salt and Dawid Malan make up the remaining international players for United.
Not to be left behind are the national superstars Asif Ali, Faheem Ashraf, Muhammad Musa, Rumman Raees and Hussain Talat, who just might give United the edge to lift up a third PSL title this year.
The match between Quetta Gladiators and Islamabad United starts at 7 pm.