Sunday Mar 17 2019
Web Desk

Star-studded PSL final a dream come true for cricket lovers

Web Desk
Fans will flock to the National Stadium to see their favourite stars in action including Shane Watson and Darren Sammy 

Karachi’s National Stadium will be the place to be for cricket entertainment on Sunday as the two best and most popular teams – Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi – will clash in the sell-out final of the Pakistan Super League final.

All roads will lead to the stadium as fans are expected to start arriving well before 6pm when the closing ceremony will start before the first ball is bowled at 8pm. Those who fail to get a ticket will regret missing the electric atmosphere, with a star-studded closing ceremony in the lead up to the highly charged final.

“I bought my ticket as soon as they came online,” said Ashfaq Ali Khan, a businessman in Karachi's busy electronics market. “I watch most of the matches in my shop, but for a PSL match and that too on a Sunday, I could not resist.”

Without a doubt, double World Twenty20 winning former West Indies captain Daren Sammy will be the star attraction. Since the inaugural edition of the PSL, Sammy has become an official ambassador of the league.

So vibrant are his displays on the field and his emotional and loving words for Pakistan, its people and its hospitality that Sammy has become one of Pakistan's own.

“I am dying to get a selfie with Sammy,” said Rummana Salim, a student of ‘A’ Levels in a local college. “I missed a chance last year, but this time I hope he wins the final and comes close to our stand.

“I pray that situation in our country becomes so easy going that we can go closer to the players and get autographs and photos with them. I am sure it’s around the corner.”

Australia's Shane Watson is another player in demand, touring Pakistan for the first time in 14 years.

“I want Watson to score a century in the final,” said Nelson Maseeh, who works in a television channel. “I am lucky that I took a selfie with him the other day in the team hotel. He was very caring and listened to me for five minutes.”

Fans have come from as far as Lahore, where three matches were scheduled this year but were shifted to Karachi due to logistical and operational challenges.

Once such fan is Chacha PSL, a newly formed character.

“I took a train from Lahore on 8 March and have since watched all the matches in Karachi,” said Mohammad Iqbal, who wears a green Pakistan flag shirt. “People here are so caring that every day I get a match ticket to watch the match.

“This is a real tradition of Pakistan that people care about each other.”

When action will begin, both the teams will have support as they are equally popular among the crowd. While Peshawar’s yellow dominates the stands to create a “yellow storm”, Quetta's purple is bright and attracts its fans.

“The crowds have been electric,” said Sammy. “It shows that this part of the world has been starved of the excitement of the fans. All the players have enjoyed this atmosphere and come Sunday, I hope they come in our shirts to create another yellow storm.

“The atmosphere here is the best I have ever played in.”

Quetta skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed echoed the same sentiments.

“The crowds in Karachi have been excellent and they have supported every team,” said Sarfaraz. “The winner is Pakistan cricket and all of us are because of it. So, this final is also about our fans and about our cricket.”

Press release by PSL