Karachi to host PSL 2020 opener, Lahore gets decider

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LAHORE: A mural displayed outside the Gaddafi Stadium shows a countdown to the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League.
—M. Arif/White Star
LAHORE: A mural displayed outside the Gaddafi Stadium shows a countdown to the fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League. —M. Arif/White Star

LAHORE: For the first time, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is going to stage all the 34 matches of the fifth HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) at four different centres of the country — Lahore, Karachi, Multan and Rawalpindi — from Feb 20 to March 22.

According to the schedule of the PSL 2020 announced by the PCB on Wednesday, Karachi’s National Stadium will stage the opening ceremony followed by the league’s first match between reigning champions Quetta Gladiators and former two-time winners Islamabad United on Feb 20 and the Gaddafi Stadium will host the final on March 22.

The National Stadium will also play host to the qualifier between the top two sides while the Gaddafi Stadium will be the venue of the two eliminators.

Fifty days before the start of PSL, the countdown clock has been mounted at the main entrance of the Gaddafi Stadium.

Of the 34 event matches, Gaddafi Stadium will host 14 matches and the National Stadium nine. Pindi Cricket Stadium and Multan Cricket Stadium, both of which will be hosting the PSL games for the very first time, have been given eight and three matches, respectively.

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani expressed his pleasure over organising the entire PSL in Pakistan.

Multan, Rawalpindi added to venues’ list

“After bringing Test cricket back to Pakistan, hosting of the entire HBL Pakistan Super League is our other major achievement. I never had any doubts it was Pakistan’s league and should be played in front of home crowds. We had made this commitment to the people of Pakistan at the end of last year’s event and I am pleased today we have announced the event schedule with four centres to share the 34 event matches between them,” Mani stated.

“The HBL PSL 2020 will feature 36 foreign stars. It was gratifying that 425 overseas players from 22 countries registered their interest in playing in the PSL 2020. Of these, 39 from Afghanistan, 12 from Australia, 23 from Bangladesh, 10 from Canada, 109 from England, seven from Hong Kong, six from Ireland, seven from the Netherlands, eight from Nepal, 11 from New Zealand, nine from Oman, five from Scotland, four from Singapore, 27 from South Africa, 39 from Sri Lanka, nine from the UAE, six from the US, 82 from the West Indies, 9 from Zimbabwe and one each from Bermuda, Kenya and Namibia.

“This shows the confidence that players throughout the world have in playing in Pakistan,” the PCB chairman added.

“Through this event, we expect economy and tourism to get significant boost, which will have a direct impact on the overall health of the country.

“For the fans, this will be a long-awaited opportunity to see their cricketing heroes live in action and reinforce their love for this great game. I am expecting like last year, the entire country will get behind this tournament and by turning up in big numbers, they will once again show the world their passion for cricket.

“For the PCB itself, the schedule announcement means we will now work flat-out until the final ball is bowled to ensure we produce an event that is memorable for all stakeholders, including the players, commercial partners, fans and media.

“I want to especially thank the local governments and security agencies for their support and assistance. They have gone out of their way to facilitate the PCB in bringing HBL PSL back to Pakistan, for which we are grateful,” Mani said.

PSL 2020 schedule:

Feb 20: Opening ceremony to be followed by star Quetta Gladiators vs Islamabad United, National Stadium (start time TBC)

Feb 21: Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi, National Stadium; (2:00-5:15pm); Lahore Qalandars vs Multan Sultans, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

Feb 22: Quetta Gladiators vs Peshawar Zalmi, National Stadium (2:00-5:15pm); Islamabad United vs Multan Sultans, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

Feb 23: Karachi Kings vs Quetta Gladiators, National Stadium (2:00-5:15pm); Lahore Qalandars vs Islamabad United, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

Feb 26: Multan Sultans vs Peshawar Zalmi, Multan Cricket Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

Feb 27: Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators, Pindi Cricket Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

Feb 28: Multan Sultans vs Karachi Kings, Multan Cricket Stadium (2:00-5:15pm); Peshawar Zalmi vs Lahore Qalandars, Pindi Cricket Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

Feb 29: Multan Sultans vs Quetta Gladiators, Multan Cricket Stadium (2:00-5:15pm); Islamabad United vs Peshawar Zalmi, Pindi Cricket Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 1: Islamabad United vs Karachi Kings, Pindi Cricket Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 2: Peshawar Zalmi vs Karachi Kings, Pindi Cricket Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 3: Quetta Gladiators vs Lahore Qalandars, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 4: Islamabad United vs Lahore Qalandars, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 5: Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators, Pindi Cricket Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 6: Karachi Kings vs Multan Sultans, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 7: Peshawar Zalmi vs Islamabad United, Pindi Cricket Stadium (2:00-5:15pm); Lahore Qalandars vs Quetta Gladiators, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 8: Multan Sultans vs Islamabad United, Pindi Cricket Stadium (2:00-5:15pm); Lahore Qalandars vs Karachi Kings, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 10: Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 11: Quetta Gladiators vs Multan Sultans, Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 12: Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars, National Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 13: Peshawar Zalmi vs Multan Sultans, National Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 14: Karachi Kings vs Islamabad United, National Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 15: Multan Sultans vs Lahore Qalandars, Gaddafi Stadium (2:00-5:15pm); Quetta Gladiators vs Karachi Kings, National Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 17: Qualifier (1 vs 2), National Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 18: Eliminator 1 (3 vs 4), Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 20: Eliminator 2 (Loser Qualifier vs Winner Eliminator 1), Gaddafi Stadium (7:00-10:15pm)

March 22: Final, Gaddafi Stadium (start time TBC)

Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2020