Pakistan Super League
A file photo of Sharjeel Khan of Islamabad United playing shot against Karachi Kings during the Pakistan Super League at Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf news archives

Dubai: The fourth edition of Pakistan Super League (PSL), to be held in February-March next year, will have a lions’ share of the matches being hosted across all three international venues in the UAE — Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

With two months still to go, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) released the schedule of their marquee event to be held from February 14 to March 17 next year on Friday. The business-end of the tournament — the last eight of the total of 34 matches — will be held in Lahore (three) and Karachi (five) with the latter hosting the final.

In addition to the Gaddafi Stadium and National Stadium, 14 matches will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, four at the Shaikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and eight at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah.

Karachi will host the first of their five matches on March 7 when Karachi Kings will take on Peshawar Zalmi under lights. The other four matches will be Karachi Kings versus Quetta Gladiators (March 10), Qualifier 1 vs Qualifier 2 (March 13) Eliminator 2 (March 15) 2019 and the final on March 17.

The iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore will be the venue of three matches: Lahore Qalandars versus Islamabad United (March 9), Lahore Qalandars versus the sixth team (March 10) and Eliminator 1 (3 vs 4) on March 12.

AB de Villiers, the recently retired South African great and Brendan Taylor of Zimbabwe, who will turn out for Lahore Qalandars and Steve Smith of Australia, who will represent the sixth team, are three of the 19 overseas players expected to make their PSL debuts next year.

“The PCB believes the HBL PSL is a gateway to resumption of international cricket in Pakistan. By successfully staging eight matches in Lahore and Karachi with the support of the local authorities, the PCB is optimistic that it will once again prove to the world that Pakistan is as safe and secure a place as any other part of the world to play international cricket,” the Pakistan board said in a statement.

Mohammad Hafeez, Lahore Qalandars’ newly appointed captain, said: “The HBL PSL is no doubt one of the top franchise tournaments in the world and I look forward to captaining Lahore Qalandars to playing quality cricket in front of Pakistan fans both in UAE and Pakistan. Having played in the last three events, I have no apprehension that this will be an event to watch out for.”