A GENERAL view as fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium on Thursday.—PPI
A GENERAL view as fireworks explode during the opening ceremony of the Pakistan Super League at the National Stadium on Thursday.—PPI

KARACHI: The fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) kicked off with a colourful opening ceremony here at the National Stadium on Thursday.

The celebrations were all about welcoming the annual festival of Twenty20 cricket back to the country, this time in its entirety.

The fireworks and the light show at the end of the ceremony were by far the most impressive moment of the night ahead of the opening match played between defending champions Quetta Gladiators and two-time winners Islamabad United.

The sky was lit with numerous colours as Junoon’s Ali Azmat and folk singer Arif Lohar performed the PSL V official anthem ‘Tayyar Hain’ along with performers beating the drums in unison.

The ceremony started with the introduction of all six teams on a big screen installed specially for the occasion before Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah addressed the fans.

Cricket lovers’ dream that the entire PSL be played in Pakistan came true on Thursday as a dazzling ceremony kicked off the event at Karachi’s National Stadium. The picture at top shows a family arriving at the stadium. A view of fireworks and music concert (above right) and fans in colourful headgear enjoy themselves.—Agencies
Cricket lovers’ dream that the entire PSL be played in Pakistan came true on Thursday as a dazzling ceremony kicked off the event at Karachi’s National Stadium. The picture at top shows a family arriving at the stadium. A view of fireworks and music concert (above right) and fans in colourful headgear enjoy themselves.—Agencies

The ceremony caught its full pace with the Sufi Soul Medley rendition featuring folk singers Sanam Marvi, Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad along with Sufi-rock band Soch.

Seasoned singer and heart throb Sajjad Ali lifted the crowd with his 90s classics Babia and Sohni Lagdi before Aima Baig, one of Pakistan’s emerging young artists, sung her hit song Dhola.

An energetic Abrar-ul-Haq added further energy to the atmosphere with a touch of Bhangra, the genre he has always been associated with. Abrar completed a full round of the stadium on an auto rickshaw decorated with colourful lights and pumped up the fans.

Earlier, television star Fakhr-i-Alam also conducted an oath-taking ceremony in which the captains and owners of the participating teams were present.

Published in Dawn, February 21st, 2020