LAHORE - The Pakistan Super League (PSL6) is set to resume today (Wednesday) at Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi with a match between Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United that will start at 9:00 pm.
The PSL6 a resilient event that gets stronger and bigger each year. The 2021 edition is a perfect example of this statement when its resumption overcame all logistical and operational challenges and hurdles to be ready to reconnect with its fans and supporters. The PSL6 will now dominate the television screens over the next 16 days.
Both Qalandars and United, along with Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi, are locked at six points apiece. But, the two sides have played one less match as compared with Kings and Zalmi, meaning Wednesday’s winner will go top of the points table after halfway stage in the competition. The PSL is returning to UAE where it was born in 2016. The 2017 edition’s final was held in Lahore.
The last three games of the 2018 edition were held in Pakistan, last eight matches of the 2019 event were held in Karachi despite the closure of air corridors and operational challenges following the Pulwama incident. The entire 2020 tournament was held from start to finish across four Pakistan venues despite an interruption due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In the 2020 tournament, a large number of foreign internationals participated, including those who had previously refused to travel to Pakistan.
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Their participation was a testament and endorsement of the security situation in Pakistan as well as trust and confidence over Pakistan’s security as well as the Pakistan Cricket Board. The challenges from the remaining 20 PSL6 matches emanated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and South Africa being on the United Arab Emirates’ red-list. A number of exemptions and approvals were obtained, some of which were revoked at the last-minute.
Nevertheless, with the support of the Abu Dhabi and Pakistan governments, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Emirates Cricket Board, the PCB was able to resolve all outstanding matters and is now ready to take this thrilling and fast-paced cricket to its fans through digital media as the event will be held in front of empty stands. However, the PCB has committed that the 2022 tournament will be held in Pakistan and with the improved Covid-19 situation, it is envisaged the matches will be in front of the crowds. A number of leading international stars will be featuring in the remaining 20 matches, including Usman Khawaja (Islamabad United), Faf du Plessis (Quetta Gladiators), Martin Guptill (Karachi Kings), David Miller (Peshawar Zalmi), Shimron Hetmyer (Multan Sultans) and Rashid Khan (Lahore Qalandars).
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They will be joined by Pakistan’s white-ball experts as well as emerging stars, including Babar Azam, Arshad Iqbal, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan and Usman Qadir. Lahore Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar said: “We are really excited about restarting the PSL6 in Abu Dhabi. This venue has been a lucky one both for me and the team. “We have worked hard and have gauged the conditions well in the last few days. We have a formidable squad despite the changes in our foreign players and we will play the brand of cricket that has helped us make a big impact in the last season as well as the Karachi-leg of the PSL6.”
Assistant Coach Islamabad United Saeed Ajmal said: “We have been practising for the last four, five days, the team looks well prepared and gelled together. We are fully prepared for the match today, having practiced hard under the floodlights too. We have gauged the conditions well and hope to give our best today.”
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