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South African Cameron Delport celebrates after hammering the fastest century in the history of PSL off just 49 balls for Lahore Qalandars in Karachi. Image Credit: PCB

Dubai: Shahid Afridi, the evergreen hero of Pakistan cricket, has applauded the foreign players who flew to his country to play in the Pakistan leg matches of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

The 39-year-old veteran said: “Whenever international cricket will be fully revived in Pakistan, the credit will go to these foreign players who have come to our country. We salute them for touring Pakistan and appreciate their contribution.”

Afridi, who grew playing cricket in Karachi, represents Multan Sultans in this edition.

Speaking to psl-t20.com, he said that all 41 foreign stars, as well as those before them who have come to Pakistan in the last three years, are real stars. “These PSL matches and the few series we have hosted since 2015, have proved that Pakistan is a safe country, the people here are peace-loving people and they want to watch cricket on their grounds. I am sure with security improving and these foreign players coming to Pakistan will send a very positive message to the world and I hope more teams will come to Pakistan and our isolation will soon be over.”

Afridi is delighted with the arrangements for the matches in Karachi. “Karachi is a vibrant, welcoming and a memorable city, and the response of these PSL matches is very good,” he said.

Speaking about the first match between Islamabad United and Lahore Qalandars on Saturday, he said: “There was a big crowd, good number of people came and the organisation of the event was very good. People want to watch these matches and foreign players have responded well. I hope this will continue till the final (March 17).”

Afridi then went on to remind fans that Pakistan cricket is on the rise. “Pakistan cricket is on the up and I am sure our cricket will continue to rise. My message to the fans is to enjoy the game and come in big numbers. The security arrangements are outstanding and I salute all those involved in providing high profile security and hope that all the foreign players will feel at home.”

Meanwhile, Islamabad United’s South African batsman Cameron Delport hammered the fastest century in the history of the league (off just 49 balls) while Faheem Ashraf grabbed six wickets to ensure Islamabad a place in the play-offs. Their show resulted in Lahore Qalandars crashing to a 49-run defeat in the first match of Pakistan leg in the fourth edition of PSL at the Karachi National Stadium on Saturday night.

Delport hit an unbeaten 60-ball 117 to propel Islamabad to 238 for three, the highest total in PSL in front of a nearly-packed 32,000 capacity stadium. Pacer Ashraf bagged six for 19 as Lahore were restricted to 189-9 in 20 overs.