Sunday Mar 05, 2017
LAHORE: The closing ceremony for the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2017 kicked off with a star-studded extravaganza.
Actors Ahmed Ali Butt and Ayesha Omer hosted the ceremony, with the PSL final between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi set to start at 8:00 pm PST.
Pakistani singing sensation Ali Zafar performed the official anthem of the PSL, Ab Khel Jamay Ga, and Fakhir followed up with his song ‘Tere Bina Dil Na Lage’ in front of a full house of around 30,000 spectators who are present to witness the historic game for which the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has invited cricket legends and top civil and military leadership.
Fans took selfies with their favourite stars as players marched around the stadium ahead of the ceremony.
Players of Peshawar Zalmi donned caps and paraded around the ground, to deafening roar from the spectators.
Zalmi supporters giving their love and support to their superstars. The roar of the Gaddafi Stadium crowd #HBLPSL #AbKhelJamayGaPosted by Pakistan Super League on Sunday, 5 March 2017
Players of Quetta Gladiators also received a warm welcome from the crowd.
Gladiators receiving great love and support from the packed Gaddafi Stadium. What a sight! #HBLPSL #AbKhelJamayGaPosted by Pakistan Super League on Sunday, 5 March 2017
PSL chairman Najam Sethi, addressing the closing ceremony, said the victory will ultimately be of Pakistan, no matter which team wins the final tonight.
“PSL final would not have been possible in Lahore were it not for the cricket fans,” he said. “I hope that the fans always keep supporting cricket.”
Thanking the lively crowd, Sethi said the Pakistan Cricket Board worked around the clock all year to make this historic moment happen, adding that the Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif took all possible efforts to hold the final in Lahore successfully.
“Shehbaz Sharif has shown a lot of courage. The entire nation including all political parties have supported the sport,” he said.
“The nation loves cricket and we [PCB] love the nation,” he reiterated.
“May the best team win,” he concluded.
Throngs of cricket lovers began flocking to the Gaddafi Stadium from as early as afternoon.
Most showed up in Gladiators and Zalmi colours.
The security around Gaddafi Stadium has been beefed up with thousands of security personnel deployed to stand guard, as cricket returns to the heart of Pakistan.
Sarfraz Ahmed’s men will battle it out with Darren Sammy’s XI for the ultimate championship, as the entire nation comes together to watch the action unfold at Lahore’s historic Gaddafi Stadium.
Gladiators beat Zalmi by one run in the first playoff to secure their place in the final, while Zalmi outclassed Karachi Kings by 24 runs in Friday’s knockout game to avenge last year’s heartbreak, when their journey to the final was cruelly cut short by Islamabad United.