PSL final to be held in Lahore

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Qalandars clinch victory against Islamabad United

Observer Report

Sharjah/Dubai

Lahore Qalandars clinched victory in a nail-biting thriller against Islamabad United and won by one wicket. Umar Akmal’s stand at the crease made the victory possible after Qalandars lost early wickets in the 14th fixture of the Pakistan Super League.
Grant Elliott finished the match in style after hitting a six on a ball by Mohammad Sami, dropped the bat like a metaphorical mic and walked off the crease.
Qalandars were in sight of victory after stabilising their innings with a damaging knock by Umar Akmal against Islamabad United.
Akmal made a quickfire 66 off 42 balls but finally succumbed to a leg before on a ball by Shadab Khan. His knock insured that Qalandars recovered from their early losses.
Meanwhile, in a meeting held in Dubai on Monday between the Pakistan Super League (PSL) management and the owners of the team franchises, it was decided that the final for the tournament would be held in Lahore.
“It has been heart-warming to see the dedication of all owners to the cause of taking cricket back home and the realisation that this final will be the first step in opening the gates to international teams starting to make the journey again,” he said while talking to the media after the meeting.
“We are all committed to this mission and wish to have a thoroughly entertaining final where it should happen — in Lahore,” he added.
Earlier, due to security concerns following the Feb 13 suicide bombing in Lahore which killed 13, there had been speculation that the PSL final may not be held in Pakistan after all.
Nonetheless, PSL Chairman Najam Sethi had promised cricket fans that the final would still be held in Lahore, in the absence of foreign players, if the fans did not want the venue to change following last week’s bombing.
In a tweet following the meeting, Sethi said, “PSL management and franchises resolve to hold Final in Lahore. We invite PM, COAS and CMs to attend the match at Gadafi Stadium.”
“The foreign players have refused to play the final in Lahore after Monday’s blast, but if the citizens of Pakistan want the PSL final to be held in Lahore then the final will be held in Lahore,” Sethi had said in his statement.
Javed Afridi, the owner of Peshawar Zalmi, said on Monday that they decided to remain on the same page with the PSL in the national spirit. “Cricket is what unites the nation. Our decision on the final was made in the meeting with PSL Chairman Najam Sethi.”
On Sunday, star player Shahid Afridi had also urged the authorities that PSL’s season two final be held in Pakistan. “The final, as announced, should be held in Pakistan, with or without international players,” he had said in a post-match press conference.
“This is about respect, we can play with our local players, but I request overseas players who have supported PSL to also come to Pakistan and continue their support,” he had added.
“Pakistan Cricket Board should look at the situation, and if things are not working out [in Lahore], we have options,” he said. “We have the Pindi stadium, we have a stadium in Karachi.
I hope the cricket board will take a good decision.” PSL will give franchisees the option to draft new players in case contracted international stars opt out of the March 5 final at Lahore due to security reasons.
“On Feb 22, we will do a new draft… we will put a formula in front of all the franchises and foreign players to let us know who will play the final in Lahore and who will not come,” Sethi had said earlier.

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