Dubai: The Pakistan Super League’s (PSL) Abu Dhabi leg begins on Monday with table toppers Peshawar Zalmi taking on second placed Quetta Gladiators in an intense battle.
The outcome will decide which team will fly out as the top team in the standings for the Pakistan leg of the tournament, commencing on March 9.
The second match of the day will also be interesting one as it will be a battle between the last two teams in the table with Karachi Kings on fifth place against last placed Multan Sultans.
This will be the first time that PSL is being held in Abu Dhabi and though the four matches to be held at the Zayed Cricket Stadium will be keenly followed, the enthusiasm of the league moving to Pakistan has begun.
With the resumption of air travel, all doubts of whether the Pakistan leg of the tournament will be held as scheduled, have ended. The biggest boost to the organisers of the league is the fact that the foreign players in the PSL have agreed to fly to Pakistan.
Quetta had begun the tournament brilliantly through a string of victories but Peshawar has come back strongly to clinch the top slot in the table.
Darren Sammy, the skipper of Peshawar team attributed his team’s success to belief that his players have in their abilities. “The key is to believe in yourself. You do the basics right, you try to get the good things cricketers do and apply it on your game and then you are bound to win matches,” said Sammy.
Quetta skipper Sarfraz Ahmad is delighted at Dwayne Bravo joining the team and playing a match winning role in his very first match. “My bowlers are doing a good job and with Bravo too joining the team we have a great combination.”
A young 18-year-old Quetta pacer Mohammad Hasnain, clocking 151 kmph during the last Dubai match, has created a sensation. Hailing the youngster, Bravo said: “It’s good to see a young fast bowler bowling at such a speed. Pakistan have always produced some of the best fast bowlers in the world and it’s nice to see him. He is young and fast and it is a joy to see him from mid-off and mid-on. I will definitely spend some time with him.”
In another significant development, the PSL matches scheduled to be held in Lahore have been shifted to Karachi — with all the eight Pakistan leg matches to be played at National Stadium in Karachi only.
According to PCB, the changes had to be made due to the delayed opening of the Lahore airspace for commercial flights. This has resulted in substantial operational and logistical challenges relating to the delivery of the three Lahore matches, which were originally scheduled for March 9, 10 and 12.
The PCB has also rescheduled the matches, which will commence on March 9 instead of March 7.
Commenting on the decision, Ehsan Mani, the PCB chairman said: “This has been a difficult and tough decision, which has been taken following discussion and consultation with all the franchisees and service providers to ensure certainty and clarity on the event as well as delivery of the remaining matches as per the PCB’s own very high standards. Due to the recent and prevailing uncertainty, we felt it critical to make a decisive decision at this juncture. Ensuring all matches are played in Pakistan falls in line with our vision to take all eight matches of the HBL PSL 2019 matches to the people of Pakistan.”