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All set for Gladiators vs Zalmi eliminator as PSL returns to Lahore

Updated March 20, 2018

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Spectators gather outside the Gaddafi Stadium before the first PSL eliminator on Tuesday. — DawnNews
Spectators gather outside the Gaddafi Stadium before the first PSL eliminator on Tuesday. — DawnNews

Quetta Gladiators will face defending champions Peshawar Zalmi in the first eliminator of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2018 today.

Strict security measures have been taken for the two play-offs to be held at Lahore's Gaddafi Stadium, which successfully also hosted the final of PSL 2017.

The Gladiators, the runners-up of the last two editions of the PSL, will not have the services of Australian all-rounder Shane Watson, recently retired English batsman Kevin Pietersen and his countryman Jason Roy as well as left-arm bowler Ben Laughlin for the upcoming matches.

However, the players who arrived in Lahore with the Quetta side include Rilee Rossouw, Mahmudullah, Chris Green, Thisara Perera, Johnson Charles and Tom Kohler Cadmore.

The foreign players from Zalmi's squad who have arrived in Pakistan for the matches include Darren Sammy, Andre Fletcher, Liam Dawson, Chris Jordan, Tamim Iqbal and Rikki Wessels.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, Gladiators’ captain Sarfraz Ahmed had sounded optimistic about his team's performance despite the replacements.

“Yes we had lost the final to Zalmi at the Gaddafi Stadium last year, but we have some plans for them this time and will not repeat the mistakes of the past and we will try our best to grab the opportunities to win it,” said Sarfraz, who is also the captain of Pakistan in all three formats.

Zalmi are meanwhile pinning their hopes on in-form batsman Kamran Akmal — the top scorer of the PSL 2018 — to continue with his magnificent form after having recovered from his fitness problems.

Islamabad United have already qualified to play the final in Karachi. The winner of today's contest will face Karachi Kings tomorrow to decide who gets to play the title-deciding match against United.

Foreign commentators go sightseeing in Lahore

Alan Wilkins and Daren Ganga, two of the three foreign commentators who are in Pakistan to call the match, were given a guided tour of the city of Lahore by former Pakistan captain Majid Khan on Tuesday.

The duo were spotted riding a rickshaw, roaming the city streets and generally having a great time.

Slater did not accompany Wilkins and Ganga on their day out in Lahore but will commentate during the the Pakistan leg of PSL 2018. Danny Morrison and Damien Fleming, who were both a part of the commentary panel in UAE, did not travel to Pakistan — the former due to his wedding anniversary and the latter for unspecified reasons.

Security measures

The roads surrounding the Gaddafi Stadium were cordoned off around 2pm, whereas schools in the area were dismissed at 11am.

Police escort vehicles carry cricketers of Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi teams as they arrive at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium on Monday. — AFP
Police escort vehicles carry cricketers of Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi teams as they arrive at the Gaddafi Cricket Stadium on Monday. — AFP

A shuttle service will be provided to transport spectators from the designated parking spots to the venue.

See: Lahore and the PSL final

After a thorough security check, visitors will be allowed to enter the stadium starting at 4 in the afternoon. The match will commence at 7pm.

The weather in Lahore is partly cloudy, while light rain with winds is expected in the evening.

Police authorities have beefed up security in the city ahead of the two PSL matches by deploying over 18,000 personnel.

Pakistan Army and Rangers (Punjab) personnel have also been deployed in and around the stadium, airport and the hotel where the players are staying.

“The Punjab government has made security arrangements for international cricketers equal to that of the state guests,” DIG operations Dr Haider Ashraf told Dawn while sharing details of the security plan.