KARACHI: Pakistan's biggest T20 tournament, the Pakistan Super League kicked off in Karachi on Saturday with a star studded opening ceremony ahead of the opening match between defending champions Karachi Kings and one-time winner Quetta Gladiators.
This is the second time that an opening ceremony is being held in Karachi. The National Stadium had also played host to the opening ceremony for the 2020 edition.
The opening ceremonies for the first four editions were held in Dubai.
The ceremony, which was being attended by a 20 percent crowd to fill the stands, was opened with the national anthem of Pakistan.
PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani welcomed the overseas players, support staff and guests at the start of the ceremony .
"This year's PSL is being played in only Karachi and Lahore and due to coronavirus 7,500 people will be able to [attend matches in] Karachi and 5,500 in Lahore," said Mani. He added that he is "hopeful" that if the situation remains stable then more people will be able allowed to attend the matches.
He thanked the fans for making PSL Pakistan's "biggest brand". He also extended gratitude to the government for allowing PCB to hold the PSL.
Mani wished all the six teams the best of luck in the competition and hoped that the best team wins the trophy.
Following the welcome by Mani, the HBL president spoke to the audience.
With the formalities done and dusted, superstar Atif Aslam took the stage with his song Adat, that shot him to fame in the country.
With the audience left stunned by Atif's performance, in came singer Imran Khan with his hit song "Amplifier".
The performance was arguably more "amplified" as actress Humaima Mallick danced to the track, besides swaying to "Bewafa" and other songs.
With the audience pumped up by Atif, Imran Khan and Humaima Mallick. the stage was all set for Nassebo Lal, Aima Baig, and Young Stunners to come and enthrall the audience with the anthem for this year's edition "Groove Mera".
To top off all the celebrations, the PCB put on a fireworks display to mark the start of cricket festivities.
Later, the defending champions Karachi Kings faced off against Quetta Gladiators in the first match of the season.
Defending champions Karachi Kings beat former champions Quetta Gladiators by seven wickets in the opening match of the Pakistan Super League's sixth edition, at the National Stadium in Karachi on Saturday.
The Gladiators, after being invited to bat first, lost wickets at regular intervals and could only muster 121 runs — with only four players reaching double-digits — in the face of some terrific seam bowling by the Kings, for whom the young Arshad Iqbal (3-16) proved instrumental.
In response, the Kings' run chase was never in trouble. Despite losing the early wicket of Sharjeel Khan, they immediately got back on their feet, reaching their target with more than six overs and seven wickets to spare.
Babar Azam, for once, wasn't the top performer for the Kings. Joe Clarke's scintillating 23-ball 46 was the highlight of the port city team's innings. Later, Mohammad Nabi chipped in with an unbeaten 30 off 14 to get his team home.
Quetta Gladiators: Anwar Ali, Azam Khan, Ben Cutting, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Naseem Shah, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Zahid Mahmood, Chris Gayle, Tom Banton, Usman Khan Shinwari, Cameron Delport, Qais Ahmad, Abdul Nasir, Saim Ayub, Arish Ali Khan, Usman Khan, Hassan Khan (as partial replacement for Dale Steyn).
Karachi Kings: Amir Yamin, Arshad Iqbal, Babar Azam, Colin Ingram, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Sharjeel Khan, Waqas Maqsood, Mohammad Nabi, Dan Christian, Chadwick Walton, Joe Clarke, Noor Ahmad, Danish Aziz, Mohammad Ilyas, Zeeshan Malik, Qasim Akram
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