'Historic day': Star-studded closing ceremony electrifies crowd before PSL finale

Updated March 17, 2019

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Junoon performed some of their most popular tracks for an an enthralled audience. — PSL
Junoon performed some of their most popular tracks for an an enthralled audience. — PSL

A star-spangled, electric ceremony to mark the finale of the Pakistan Super League 2019 was held on Sunday at Karachi's National Stadium.

Prior to the start of the event, a moment of silence was observed to pay respects to the victims of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand.

Spectators observe a minute of silence to pay respects to the victims of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand. — DawnNewsTV
Spectators observe a minute of silence to pay respects to the victims of the Christchurch shooting in New Zealand. — DawnNewsTV

This is the second consecutive time Karachi is hosting the final after the phenomenal success of last year's final.

The stands are chock-full of cricket-crazy fans; tickets for the final were sold out weeks in advance.

Arrangements have been made in cities and towns across the country to view the spectacle on big screens at various clubs, cricket grounds and shopping malls.

The closing ceremony, hosted by Fakhre Alam, kicked off with charged performances by Abrarul Haq who belted out a live rendition of "Nach majajan" to perfection. Aima Baig sang the classic favourites "Dosti" and "Disco deewane" by Nazia Hasan.

The PSL official song was then performed by Fawad Khan, followed by a high octane performance by Junoon who sang "Zamaane ke andaaz", "Khudi ko kar buland" and "Sayyonee".

A national favourite "Dil dil Pakistan" was also performed by the sufi rock band.

Part of the festivities included a kick off to ticket sales for World Soccer Stars 2019 by football legend Carles Puyol.

"Thank you Pakistan for this amazing welcome. The people are very friendly. I think before people only liked cricket and I saw you like a lot football [as well] and I am very happy [to see] that," said Puyol.

Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa pictured watching the show with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Governor Imran Ismail. — DawnNewsTV
Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa pictured watching the show with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Governor Imran Ismail. — DawnNewsTV

'Cricket brings happiness'

Earlier, after the minute of silence was observed, Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani took to the stage and said today was a "historic day" for Karachi.

"Today the stands are filled with more than 28,000 people. Ever since PSL has come to Karachi, more than 200,000 people have come to the [National] Stadium. On digital platforms, hundreds of thousands of people have watched these matches."

PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani. —DawnNewsTV
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani. —DawnNewsTV

"We must always remember, cricket is that one sport that brings happiness and lights up people's lives. We must never forget this lesson that cricket teaches us [of happiness and togetherness]."

"I am thankful to the government of Sindh, and especially Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, Karachi core commander, inspector general of police, commissioner and deputy commissioner, ministers and organising committee chairman and interior secretary."

"When we decided to bring PSL matches to Karachi the way all these people have extended their services to us is unparalleled."

"I would also like to thank the government of Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan in providing us with all the assistance in ensuring the success the PSL has achieved."

"Quetta Gladiators will meet Peshawar Zalmi in the fight for the title and both will undoubtedly try their best to take the trophy home," he said, before going on to say: "The team to play better will take the trophy home but for me, the biggest prize deserves to be given to the people of Karachi, for the love you have shown and the way you have supported PSL. I thank you all very much."

"Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to say to our overseas visitors, players, officials, and technical support teams: you have seen for yourself the passion and love for cricket in Pakistan. Next year we look forward to welcoming you back for PSL matches in Pakistan."

'We have done it!'

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah then arrived to address the audience.

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. —DawnNewsTV
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. —DawnNewsTV

"First of all, i would like to pay my respects to the 50 people who fell victim to the terror attack in New Zealand. I pray for them and also for the injured."

"Karachi walon! I can't hear you! We have done it!" he declared triumphantly.

"And this year all the matches in Pakistan have been held in Karachi. This is a victory for Karachiites."

"And like Mani sahab said, next year, we will hold the entire league in Pakistan. Karachi, Multan, Peshawar, Quetta, Islamabad will all host matches."

"I am thankful to the people of Sindh and Karachi who bore difficulties to make this possible."

"The government of Sindh will always strive to bring International cricket to Pakistan and we will start from the National Stadium."

"I am also grateful to the international players who have come to Karachi. I hope they enjoy their stay here. I hope we have a great match today."

"Both are great teams. Whoever wins, the victory will be of cricket, of the people of Karachi and moreover, of Pakistan."