The HBL PSL is scheduled to start tomorrow at the Dubai International Stadium. Islamabad United, the defending champions, will face Lahore Qalandars in the opening match of the tournament. The tournament will consist of 34 matches played from February 14th – March 17th.
The biggest news for the fans of the sport and the tournament came when PCB chairman Ehsan Mani announced that the last eight games will be played in Pakistan, with the final being played in Karachi at the National Stadium. In addition to this, Abu Dhabi will host PSL matches for the first time with 4 matches to be played at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium.
This season has seen some major changes in the PSL with Multan Sultans ownership transferring to Ali Tareen, son of PTI stalwart Jehangir Tareen. Multan boast an impressive squad highlighted by the presence of superstars Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik.
The PSL was also able to get major sponsorship deals from Blitz Advertising and HBL, as the title sponsor of the league for the next 3 years. These much improved sponsorships showed the development of the PSL as a major brand in world cricket.
The opening ceremony will be performed by American rapper and musician Pitbull with feature performances from Marcia Barrett from popular pop group Boney M. On top of this, there will be performances by the revitalized Pakistani Sufi rock band Junoon, with singers Aima Baig and Shuja Haider alongside the PSL anthem singer Fawad Khan and Rapper Young Desi. The ceremony will, then, be followed by an opening match between the defending champions Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars.
The Islamabad United team is captained by Mohammad Sami, and includes local players Shadab Khan (VC), Faheem Ashraf and Nasir Nawaz, with foreign players Luke Ronchi, Wayne Parnell and Phil Salt.
The Karachi Kings team is captained by Imad Wasim and includes local players such as, Mohammad Amir and Babar Azam, alongside foreign players Colin Munro, Colin Ingram and Ravi Bopara.
The Lahore Qalandars team is captained by Mohammad Hafeez, with local players Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail and Yasir Shah, with foreign players AB de Villiers and Carlos Brathwaite.
The Multan Sultans team consists of players such as Shahid Afridi, Junaid Khan and Mohammad Irfan, with foreign players Chris Green, Tom Moores and Andre Russel. The team is captained by Shoaib Malik.
The Peshawar Zalmi Team consists of players such as Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali and Kamran Akmal, with foreign players Liam Dawson, Kieron Pollard and Dawid Malan. The team is captained by Darren Sammy, who is the only foreign player to captain a team.
And finally, the Quetta Gladiators will consist of local players such as Umar Akmal, Sohail Tanveer and Anwar Ali, with foreign players Shane Watson, Sunil Narine and Dwayne Bravo. The team is captained by Sarfraz Ahmed.
The trophy for the event was also unveiled yesterday and showed the six captains standing alongside it. The trophy itself has been produced by Swarovski.