KARACHI – The seventh edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is all set to kick off in Karachi tomorrow (Thursday), with fans expressing their support to the favourite franchises creating an environment of competition on Twitter.
Defending champions Multan Sultans will take on hosts and 2020 champions Karachi Kings at the National Stadium in the opening match on January 27.
The PSL 2022 will be held from 27 January to 27 February. Karachi will host 15 matches from 27 January to 7 February, while Lahore will hold matches from 10-27 February, including the four play-offs.
Excitement has been building up among the cricket fans since the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has announced the schedule for the mega event.
Now, the fans’ enthusiasm for the tournament reached a boil as PSL 2022 and its slogan “Level Hai” has become trends on Twitter.
— Saeed Anwar (@ImSaeedAnwar) January 26, 2022
— Syed Umer Gilani (@gilani_umer) January 26, 2022
— KHIZAR AZAM (@KHIZARAZAM) January 26, 2022
— Hamza Shabbir (@HamzaShabir61) January 26, 2022
— KHIZAR AZAM (@KHIZARAZAM) January 26, 2022
Babar Azam, who made the record for most T20I wins as captain in a calendar year with 20 in 2021, will lead Karachi Kings. Mohammad Rizwan, first-ever batter to score more than 1,000 T20I runs in a calendar year, will lead Multan Sultans.
Babar Azam: “I am very excited to be leading Karachi Kings this season. This is the first instance that I will be captaining a side in the HBL PSL and I am looking forward to it.
“The first match of the tournament always has a lot of eyeballs and Multan Sultans can prove to be a tough opposition. I am sure the fans will get to see a thrilling contest.
“Peter Moores is a seasoned coach and I have had fruitful discussions with him. Karachi Kings will display good, competitive cricket this season.”
Mohammad Rizwan: “We have all the potential to defend our HBL PSL title and we will be taking the field tomorrow with that mind set. This season will present us new challenges and we will have to plan accordingly.
“Babar Azam is a wonderful batter and captain, and his leadership will certainly have a good impact on Karachi Kings. I am hopeful that the HBL PSL 7 will kick off with a great contest between the two sides.”
As per the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) directive, the seating capacity has been reduced to 25 per cent for all matches in Karachi, while a decision on the number of spectators in Lahore to be taken in due course. The health and safety protocols for this edition is available here
On the second match day on Friday, Quetta Gladiators will play Peshawar Zalmi with the match starting at 2pm PKT, while the third match day on Saturday will serve the fans a double-header with Multan Sultans playing Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings taking on Quetta Gladiators.
Lahore Qalandars, captained by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has had stratospheric rise in international cricket since his debut in 2018, will hope the change in leadership leads to a change in their fortunes and they secure the glittering trophy.
Islamabad United are led by Shadab Khan. Sarfaraz Ahmed, who is the only player to lead his side in all the editions, will continue to command his Gladiators from Quetta, while Peshawar Zalmi will be led by Wahab Riaz.
The HBL PSL has established itself as one of the top T20 leagues around the world and it has featured most sought-after cricketers from around the world. The competitiveness of this league and the quality of action has served up and coming Pakistan cricketers opportunities to learn, enhance their skills and learn nitty-gritties of the game.
National Stadium will host the first 15 matches till 7 February, before the action moves to Lahore, where Gaddafi Stadium, the home of Pakistan cricket, will stage the last 19 games from 10-27 February.
The competitive nature of the league has seen five of the six sides getting crowned champions since the league’s inception in 2016 with Islamabad United, the inaugural champions, being the only team to bag the title twice.
Peshawar Zalmi won the title in 2017 when they beat Quetta Gladiators in the final in Lahore in what was the first HBL PSL match on Pakistan soil. Islamabad United became the champions for the second time with a win over Peshawar Zalmi at Karachi in 2018. Quetta Gladiators were third time lucky in 2019. Karachi Kings made history in 2020 as they beat their arch-rivals Lahore Qalandars at home.