MULTAN: The eighth edition of the much-awaited Pakistan Super League (PSL) kicked off Monday at the Multan Cricket Stadium with a glittering and star-studded opening ceremony. The ceremony, which began with a half-hour delay, saw singer Aima Baig — clad in an ethereal white gown — first performing the national anthem.
Following the national anthem, music sensation Shae Gill, Asim Azhar and Farish Shafi, who performed this year’s PSL anthem Sab Sitaray Humaray, will be performing the anthem live in the ceremony. Besides them, several other artists including the likes of Sahir Bagga will also perform in the opening ceremony.
Notably, Multan is hosting the PSL opening ceremony for the first time since the launch of the nation’s marquee league.
Speaking at the ceremony, Habib Bank Limited (HBL) President and CEO Muhammad Aurangzeb congratulated the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for organising the tournament for the eighth time.
“This is a historic first in terms of having the inaugurating match in Multan this evening,” he said. “HBL PSL has moved from strength to strength. All the stakeholders have put in a concerted effort to make this a success.” “No matter which team wins […] the real victory is of Pakistan,” he added.
PCB Management Committee Chairman Najam Sethi vowed that the board would ensure that PSL matches take place in Peshawar and Quetta next year. “PSL has given several assets to Pakistan. This has become an international brand that we can be proud of. This year [several] foreign and local players are debuting.” He noted that the tournament has given several stars to the national side, including Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, and Hasan Ali. “Full congratulations in advance to those who will win. Let the game begin,” he added. Sahir Ali Bagga and Baig then took to the stage for their performance, getting the crowd roaring. The performance was followed by Asim Azhar, Faris Shafi and Shae Gill performing this year’s official anthem ‘Sab Sitarey Humaray’.
The ceremony concluded with a large fireworks display.
The first match of the tournament will be played between the Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars.
Led by Pakistan’s star wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan, Multan boast a batting-heavy core of players featuring Australia’s Tim David, South African Rilee Rossouw, his compatriot David Miller and West Indies veteran Kieran Pollard.
Tickets for Lahore, Rawalpindi HBL PSL 8 matches go on sale on Tuesday: The tickets for the HBL PSL 8 matches in Lahore and Rawalpindi will go on sale from tomorrow, Tuesday. The fans can buy the tickets online from pcb.bookme.pk and physical tickets will be available at designated venues, which will be announced in due course.
The tickets for the 19 March final at the Gaddafi Stadium have been set at PKR7,000 (VIP), PKR4,000 (Premium), PKR2,500 (First class) and PKR1,200 (General).
Fans can witness the three Playoffs (Qualifier and two Eliminators) at PKR6,000 (VIP), PKR3,500 (Premium), PKR2,000 (First class) and PKR1,000 (General). Rawalpindi will host 11 HBL PSL 8 matches and a ticket for the first match between Peshawar Zalmi and Karachi Kings on 1 March is priced at PKR3,000 (VIP) and PKR2,000 (Premium).
Season passes will also be available for Lahore and Rawalpindi matches so the fans can watch their stars in action at discounted prices.
The prices of season passes for Lahore matches are set at: PKR18,720 (VIP), PKR10,170 (Premium), PKR7,110 (First class), PKR3,870 (General) and they can be utilised to watch 26 Feb, 27 Feb, 2 March, 4 March and 12 March matches. The prices of the season passes for the Rawalpindi matches are PKR13,230 (VIP), PKR8,730 (Premium) and they will be applicable for matches on 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10 March.
As the Pakistan Cricket Board continues its efforts to promote the women’s game, the three women exhibition matches between Super Women and Amazons on 8, 10 and 11 March can be watched on the same tickets bought for the HBL PSL 8 matches on those days.
Following are the Enclosure names:
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
VIP – Imran Khan and Fazal Mahmood
Premium – Rajas and Saeed Anwar
First class – Javed Miandad, AH Kardar, Sarfaraz Nawaz and Abdul Qadir
General – Majid Khan, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Nazar, Quaid, Imtiaz Ahmed, Zaheer Abbas, Hanif Mohammad and Saeed Ahmed
Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
VIP – Imran Khan, Javed Akhtar, Javed Miandad and Azhar Mahmood
Premium – Shoaib Akhtar, Sohail Tanvir, Miran Buksh and Yasir Arafar