Islamabad, Peshawar set to clash in PSL opener

Defending champions Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi will clash in the opening of the second edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League, which gets under way from Thursday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Islamabad, who have veteran Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq as their inspirational leader, face a Peshawar side that now has the talismanic Darren Sammy as the captain in place of flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi.

Both teams have practiced rigorously for the tournament and are raring to go at full strength for the first clash of the tournament that will follow the opening ceremony that takes place at the same venue.

Sammy, a two-time ICC World Twenty 20 winner as captain of West Indies, will be leading Peshawar for the first time while Misbah led the United to the historic title winning triumph in the first edition of the tournament that was staged last year in the UAE when they defeated Quetta Gladiators in the final.

Meanwhile, internationally renowned stars Shaggy, Ali Zafar, Shehzad Roy and Fahad Mustafa have vowed to deliver a memorable spectacular at the opening ceremony.

The four stars, chairman PSL Najam Sethi and brand ambassador of the HBL PSL Ramiz Raja spoke to the media on Wednesday about the glittering ceremony that will kick start proceedings in the second edition of the tournament followed by the opening game.

Sethi thanked the four mega stars for their presence and promised a breath taking ceremony to launch the second edition of the HBL PSL.

“I want to retain an element of surprise before the opening ceremony, it should be an enthralling evening, I also welcome and thank the stars especially Shaggy who has flown down to Dubai for the event, Ali Zafar, Shehzad Roy and Fahad Mustafa will all be making a big contribution as we endeavour to deliver an enthralling success,” the PSL chairman said.


Glittering opening ceremony to launch second edition


Jamaican superstar Shaggy spoke about his association about the game of cricket as he expressed his excitement before his performance for the opening ceremony. “It is great to be here and I look forward to performing at the ceremony, it should be an exciting affair and the Pakistan cricket fans will surely enjoy the spectacle. I have a long association with Chris Gayle while Courtney Walsh [former West Indies fast bowler] was my neighbour in Jamaica.”

Ali Zafar and Fahad Mustafa, Shehzad Roy also expressed their excitement ahead of the ceremony which starts at 7:30 Pakistan time on Thursday.

Before the commencement of the press conference, Ramiz unveiled the green and maroon caps that will be handed out to the best batsman and the best bowler in the tournament respectively.

“HBL PSL is adopting the innovations that we have seen around the world and handing out the caps is another feature that the league is introducing from this season, hopefully we will see some top-class performances from batsmen and bowlers who would be vying for the cap,” former Pakistan skipper Ramiz remarked.

The maroon and the green caps will be handed to the highest wicket taker and the highest runs scorer respectively throughout the course of the tournament. The bowler with the most wickets in the tournament will wear the maroon cap, while the batsman who has the highest number of runs to his credit will flaunt the green cap. It will be interesting to see how much the two caps change possession.

The two caps of honour will also endorse the Edhi foundation logo in memory of Abdul Sattar Edhi who passed away last year.

Schedule (all times PST):

Feb 9: Islamabad United vs Peshawar Zalmi (Dubai, 10:00pm).

Feb 10: Lahore Qalandars vs Quetta Gladiators (Dubai, 4:30pm).

Feb 10: Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 11: Islamabad United vs Lahore Qalandars (Dubai, 4:30pm).

Feb 11: Karachi Kings vs Quetta Gladiators (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 12: Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 13: Rest day.

Feb 14: Rest day.

Feb 15: Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 16: Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars (Sharjah, 9:00pm).

Feb 17: Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators (Sharjah, 4:30pm).

Feb 17: Islamabad United vs Karachi Kings (Sharjah, 9:00pm).

Feb 18: Lahore Qalandars vs Quetta Gladiators (Sharjah, 4:30pm).

Feb 18: Islamabad United vs Peshawar Zalmi (Sharjah, 9:00pm).

Feb 19: Karachi Kings vs Peshawar Zalmi (Sharjah, 9:00pm).

Feb 20: Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators (Sharjah, 9:00pm).

Feb 21: Rest day.

Feb 22: Rest day.

Feb 23: Karachi Kings vs Quetta Gladiators (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 24: Lahore Qalandars vs Peshawar Zalmi (Dubai, 4:30pm).

Feb 24: Islamabad United vs Quetta Gladiators (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 25: Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars (Dubai, 4:30pm).

Feb 25: Peshawar Zalmi vs Quetta Gladiators (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 26: Islamabad United vs Karachi Kings (Dubai, 9:00pm).

Feb 27: Rest day.

Feb 28: First Playoff Qualifier – 1st vs 2nd (Sharjah, 9:00pm).

March 1: Second Playoff Qualifier – 3rd vs 4th (Sharjah, 9:00pm).

March 2: Rest day.

March 3: Third playoff qualifier – Playoff 2 Winners vs Playoff 1 Losers (Dubai, 9:00pm).

March 4: Rest day.

March 5: Rest day.

March 5: Final (Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore).

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