The government tightened security in Lahore ahead of the highly-anticipated final of the Pakistan Super League on Sunday.

Pakistan has hosted only one international series since militants attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.

The Zimbabwe cricket team's tour in 2015 was almost disrupted when a suicide bomber killed two security officials near the stadium in Lahore.

After wavering momentarily on whether to host the Pakistan Super League (PSL) final in Lahore after a series of militant attacks killed more than 130 people last month, the country's civil and military leadership seem to have pushed ahead with their decision.

While the Pakistan Super League is now in its second year and boasts a television viewership in excess of 50 million, all matches have been played in the United Arab Emirates.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Reuters the government had “prepared a fool-proof security plan” for the match, expected to finish after midnight (local time).

Sanaullah said nearly 4,000 police and paramilitary Rangers would be patrolling the area and fans would have to pass five security layers before reaching the 25,000-capacity stadium, where Peshawar Zalmi will be playing Quetta Gladiators.

Citing security fears, some high-profile foreign players, including former England captain Kevin Pietersen, who plays for the Quetta team, had decided to skip the final.

However, West Indies' World Cup-winning T20 captain Darren Sammy, who plays for Peshawar, will be on the field.

On the morning of the match, cricket-obsessed Pakistanis were brushing off security worries and relishing the chance to once again savour big-game cricket on home soil.

“For the last several weeks, we were not going to restaurants because of threats of terrorism. But celebration of the PSL final has brought us out,” said school teacher Maleeha Rizvi, 48, dining with her family near the stadium.

“I guess this event has defeated terrorism,” she added.

The country has been desperate for international cricket events to return but some media commentators have accused officials of risking lives by staging an event during a period of heightened security threats.

Officials, however, say security in the country has greatly improved over the past few years and the recent bout of violence was a temporary blip.



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