KARACHI: Pakistan’s hugely popular Pakistan Super League, which boasts a television viewership of tens of millions of people, will make a comeback on Saturday at a traditionally glamorous opening ceremony in Karachi after the edition was suspended last year following the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said in a statement it would allow 20 percent of stadium capacity during games-- 7,500 fans in Karachi and 5,500 fans in Lahore-- inside to cheer on their favourite T20 teams for a month of cricket played in two cities. Last year, four league matches were played in empty stadiums before the league’s suspension.
Some of Pakistan’s biggest pop sensations will make their PSL debut at the opening ceremony, which boasts an entertainment-packed program with music artists that include Atif Aslam, Imran Khan, Humaima Malick and PSL 6 anthem artists, Naseebo Lal, Aima Baig and Young Stunners.
This will be Aslam’s first appearance at PSL’s opening ceremony. The festive event has marked the launch of the massive cricketing competition for six years in a row.
“This year’s opening ceremony promises to be really exciting especially with the state-of-the-art technology being used to create this experience for Pakistani fans,” Babar Hamid, Director Commercial PCB, said earlier this week.
“As always, the excitement is further raised with the opening clash of the tournament, and the people in Karachi, I am sure will look forward to seeing Karachi Kings and Quetta Gladiators take the field as they both enjoy a huge fan base in the city.”
According to the Pakistan Cricket Board, the PSL opening ceremony this year will also have some parts filmed offshore in a specially designed studio space in Turkey.
As is tradition, the opening ceremony will be followed by the first match of the season in which defending champions Karachi Kings will play Quetta Gladiators in a night match.
The first 20 matches will be played in the national stadium Karachi between February 20 to March 7. The teams will then depart for Lahore to play the remaining 10 league matches and four playoffs.
The tournament will conclude with a final match at Lahore’s Qaddafi stadium on March 22.