PSL 9 launched amid funfair

By our correspondent
LAHORE: The HBL PSL 9, featuring six teams, on Saturday exploded into action amid great funfair here at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore.
The ceremony started with national anthem and was followed by gripping performances from the popular artists including Ali Zafar, Aima Baig, Natasha Baig and Arif Lohar that enthralled a sizable crowd which had made it to the venue.
The laser show and splendid fireworks added to the ceremony.
This was the first time that Gaddafi Stadium hosted the opening ceremony of the country’s marquee event.
As many as 34 matches will be held during the month-long event at four major venues across the country. Karachi will have the lion’s share as it will host 11 matches also including the March 18 final to be held at the National Stadium. Lahore and Rawalpindi will host nine matches each while five matches will be conducted at Multan.
Lahore Qalandars will defend the title. Both Qalandars and Islamabad United have won the event two times each while Peshawar Zalmi, Karachi Kings, Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans have to their credit one title each.
Unprecedented security arrangements had been made for the opening ceremony and for the opener between Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United.
Huge contingents of police had been deployed inside the Gaddafi Stadium and other sports facilities adjacent to the GSL which also served as routes for the fans for entering the venue through.
Fans had started coming into the venue from 2pm to witness the opening ceremony and the game. They had to pass through several walkthrough gates and body searches before entering Gaddafi Stadium.
Not only the residents of Lahore but fans from the other cities of Punjab were also seen coming to the venue.
“I have come straightaway from Rawalpindi for witnessing this game,” Nisar Ahmed, a first-year student told The News.
“I have come from Faisalabad to see the opener,” Salim Ahmed from Faisalabad said.
Fans see the PSL as a huge source of entertainment and a message of peace.
“Look, the match will begin at 8pm but we have come so early because you see kids love cricket and it is the unifying force. If kids are entertained through such positive activities then they will keep relaxed. It will also boost the soft image of the country in the world,” Mohammad Afzal, a trader, accompanied by his five kids, told this correspondent.
On the day which will carry double headers the first game will begin at 2pm with the night show to start at 7pm. In the holy month of Ramadan matches will begin at 9pm.
As many as 36 foreign players will be seen in the event. Most of the foreign players and officials have arrived in Lahore and Multan to join their respective teams.
Fans will not be able to see the magical bowling of the world’s top leggie Rashid Khan who is not available for Lahore Qalandars due to back injury.

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