Lahore : It’s HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) — the carnival of cricket – time. The festival of cricket began on Thursday evening with Dubai playing host to the musical and glittering opening ceremony – and first leg of the matches.
Thirty-four high drama matches will be played in the PSL — eight in Pakistan including the March 17 final — with Islamabad United as defending champions of the six-team competition. The other five teams are Peshawar Zalmi, Quetta Gladiators, Karachi Kings, Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalanadars.
The Dubai stadium was adorned with huge banners of all six franchises with an iconic stage the focus of a capacity crowd. The ceremony opened with the national anthem of Pakistan as everyone stood up in respect.
Former captain Ramiz Raja, the voice of Pakistan cricket, acted as the host of the function as he called upon the fans at the stadium and around the world to be ready for the start of the HBL PSL.
Mr Mohammad Aurangzeb, CEO and President of Habib Bank — the title sponsors of the PSL since its inception – reiterated his bank’s promise to promote Pakistan’s cricket through their sponsorship.
“It gives us immense joy to note that the PSL has become one of the top leagues in a short time,” said Mr. Aurangzeb. “At the PSL not only a team wins but its the entire nation that wins. True to our motto, where there are dreams, there is Habib Bank.”
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani welcomed the teams, fans, viewers and all those who are involved in the staging of the yearly carnival of cricket.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the opening ceremony of the HBL Pakistan Super League,” said Mani. “HBL gave us the platform to host the annual event and I specially thanks Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al (minister of Tolerance and chairman Emirates Cricket Board ) for providing the facilities in UAE.
“I wish the teams the best of luck as they start their journey towards winning the title.”
Mani’s speech was followed by the marching of the famous band that played Europe’s The Final Countdown — famous of the 1992 World Cup, an vent that Pakistan won under the inspirational leadership of Imran Khan, now the Prime Minister of the country.
The opening ceremony was a landmark as it was the longst Augmented reality show for the Live TV ever. The augmented reality is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view. The world famous Boney M – the Euro-Caribbean vocal group created by German record producer Frank Farian – descended upon the stage with their famous chart buster of all time “Daddy Cool,” as the cool crowd danced to the tune.
Aima Beg and Shuja Haider performance was followed by the ever-green and re-united Junoon Group, with their famous numbers including “Jazba Junoon” which has been warming the blood of the whole nation for several years now.
The HBL Pakistan Super League is a T20 format cricket tournament set up by Pakistan to facilitate the international exposure of its young and upcoming talent as well as give more seasoned players from within Pakistan and outside a platform to entertain fans globally and within the country.
Gigantic banners of six competing franchises were brought to light in the stadium as the handsome Fawad Khan performed on the PSL 4 official song “Yeh Khel Deewano Ka,” to the amusement of the crowd. All six teams, their owners and support staff marched past to the ground with their flags.
Sheikh Nahyan welcomed the teams and the players.
“The cricket loving population welcome you all,” said the UAE minister. “It’s Twenty20 cricket at its best. The fans will be cheering for all the six teams. We in the UAE are delighted to know what Pakistan cricket means.
“My best wishes to all the teams.”
The HBL PSL 4 is now officially open, so tighten your belts for enthralling array of strokeplay from world’s best batsmen, eye-catching catches and fielding and flying bails and rattled stumps from the top bowlers.