ABU DHABI – The sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) will finally resume at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, giving a relief to the cricket lovers after endless wait.
“The 2021 edition is a perfect example of this statement when its resumption overcame all logistical and operational challenges and hurdles to be ready to reconnect with its fans and supporters,” said PCB in a statement.
On Wednesday, Lahore Qalandars and Islamabad United will go toe to toe with the match to start at 2100 PKT time (2000 UAE time). This will be their first encounter in the HBL PSL 6 with their repeat match scheduled for Sunday, 13 June.
Both Qalandars and United, along with Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi, are locked at six points apiece. But, the two sides have played one less match as compared with Kings and Zalmi, meaning Wednesday’s winner will go top of the points table after halfway stage in the competition.
The HBL PSL is returning to UAE where it was born in 2016. The 2017 edition’s final was held in Lahore.
The last three games of the 2018 edition were held in Pakistan, last eight matches of the 2019 event were held in Karachi despite the closure of air corridors and operational challenges following the Pulwama incident.
The entire 2020 tournament was held from start to finish across four Pakistan venues despite an interruption due to the Covid-19 outbreak. In the 2020 tournament, a large number of foreign internationals participated, including those who had previously refused to travel to Pakistan.
Their participation was a testament and endorsement of the security situation in Pakistan as well as trust and confidence over Pakistan’s security as well as the Pakistan Cricket Board.
The challenges from the remaining 20 HBL PSL 6 matches emanated from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India and South Africa being on the United Arab Emirates’ red-list. A number of exemptions and approvals were obtained, some of which were revoked at the last-minute.
Nevertheless, with the support of the Abu Dhabi and Pakistan Governments, Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Emirates Cricket Board, the PCB was able to resolve all outstanding matters and is now ready to take this thrilling and fast-paced cricket to its fans through digital media as the event will be held in front of empty stands.
However, the PCB has committed that the 2022 tournament will be held in Pakistan and with the improved Covid-19 situation, it is envisaged the matches will be in front of the crowds.
A number of leading international stars will be featuring in the remaining 20 matches, including Usman Khawaja (Islamabad United), Faf du Plessis (Quetta Gladiators), Martin Guptill (Karachi Kings), David Miller (Peshawar Zalmi), Shimron Hetmyer (Multan Sultans) and Rashid Khan (Lahore Qalandars).
They will be joined by Pakistan’s white-ball experts as well as emerging stars, including Babar Azam, Arshad Iqbal, Azam Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sharjeel Khan and Usman Qadir.
These players have been named in Pakistan men’s squads for the three T20Is against England and five T20Is against world champions the West Indies.
Like the tours to England and the West Indies and upcoming home series against New Zealand and England, the HBL PSL 6 will help the players as well as selectors and coaching staff to edge closer to giving final shape to their side for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which is expected to be played in the UAE.
The event is ready, the players are raring to go and so are the fans to get behind their favourite cricketers and side as the next 16 days, the talk will be HBL PSL 6 and who will be lift the glittering trophy on 24 June under Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium lights. For now, both Qalandars and United’s camps are ready for the action on Wednesday night.
Islamabad United – Shadab Khan (c), Ahmed Saifi Abdullah, Ali Khan, Akif Javed, Asif Ali, Brandon King, Colin Munro, Fawad Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Mohammad Akhlaq, Musa Khan, Rohail Nazir, Umar Amin, Usman Khawaja, Zafar Gohar and Zeeshan Zameer
Lahore Qalandars – Sohail Akhtar (c), Ahmed Danyal, Ben Dunk, Callum Ferguson, Dilbar Hussain, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, James Faulkner, Maaz Khan, Mohammad Faizan, Mohammad Hafeez, Rashid Khan, Salman Ali Agha, Seekuge Prasana, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Sultan Ahmed, Tim David, Zaid Alam and Zeeshan Ashraf