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March 26, 2018

PSL final brings more lights to ‘city of lights’: DG ISPR

RAWALPINDI: Director General of Inter Services Public Relations , Major General Asif Ghafoor said...

PSL final: When I witnessed revival of cricket in Karachi as a youth


Mon, Mar 26, 2018

It was Karachi that emerged victorious last night with its magnificent glory being restored after nine years as it hosted the much-awaited PSL 2018 finale at National Stadium against all odds.

And for the youth that was longing to witness revival of big-time cricket in its beloved city it was even more special.

However, one thing was for sure: long before the toss that defending champions Peshawar Zalmi won against one-time series winners Islamabad United, the ‘city of lights’ had already broken free from shackles of terrorism, instability and turmoil that it had previously fallen prey to, which crammed up most of young Karachiites’ minds.

And this past one month gave us, the younger lot, something to cherish forever.

Back in the days, when tranquillity prevailed in the streets of Karachi and law and order situation of the city was in control, Karachi’s National Stadium catered to hundreds of cricket fanatics as routine. But for the younger generation today, it was something quite unthinkable to happen in Karachi in the recent times, until yesterday.

So when the announcement of PSL 2018 being held in Karachi this year came, I knew that I had to go, primarily because I hadn’t attended a live cricket match belonging to this stature ever before in my life. Also to celebrate the return of cricket coming home, as a youth, it was something that I could not afford to miss at all.

So despite the scorching heat and the blazing sun, I reached the stadium around 3 p.m. (way before time). We were dropped off by a shuttle outside the venue. And from there it was an exhausting long walk to the ground.

The level of security deployed was highly impressive. Security personnel guarded all three check-posts and everyone was searched closely. Food, water, bags, wallets and even mobile phone covers were strictly prohibited inside the premises and people were asked to hand these over.

Once inside the enclosure, the excitement for the match escalated to a whole new level. High-spirited, zealous crowd geared up to witness history and counted down with bated breath for the match to start as the clock ticked by.

It was quite evident that yellow shirt-clad Zalmi fans were more in number and it really was a ‘yellow storm’. I had a feeling Islamabad United is going to win this time. Nonetheless, I was supporting Peshawar Zalmi with all my heart.

Apparently one-sided at first, in which United’s victory seemed inevitable, the match was immensely exciting and had a nail-biting end. Zalmi did manage to regain its composure during the latter half of the game and put up a good fight, but that one catch dropped by Kamran Akmal broke thousands of hearts.

So to say, the experience of attending such a major cricket event is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. Witnessing the exhilaration of the attendees, being part of the epic crowd wave and being able to enjoy every bit of the game were literally my high-points of the day.

From top-class security, to the rousing match that had our heartbeat stop at every wicket taken by Zalmi during the end, as a youth of Karachi I can proudly boast that I witnessed history when big-time cricket opened doors in my city yet again.