PSL 5: The most awaited Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 will begin from tomorrow, Thursday.
The first ball of the PSL 5 scheduled to be bowled at 9pm at the opening match of the tournament, played between last season’c champion Quetta Gladiators with two-time champions Islamabad United at Karachi’s National Stadium.
Best thing about PSL 5 is that all 34 matches will be played in Pakistan at four different Venues including Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan from February 20 to March 22. National Stadium Karachi will host 14 matches while Gaddafi Stadium will stage 9 matches.
On Friday 21 February, Karachi Kings will take on Peshawar Zalmi at the National Stadium, while, in Lahore, at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore Qalandars will face Multan Sultans.
The cricket-crazy nation will be served with thrilling encounters all over the country as all six captains aim for berths in the 22 March final at the Gaddafi Stadium, for a shot at the US $500,000, the winning prize money, and the brand new glittering trophy.
To date, Quetta Gladiators have been the most successful franchise with 61.90 win percentage. The next on the list are Peshawar Zalmi, the champions of the 2017 edition, with 58.69 win percentage.
Islamabad United, the champions of the inaugural and 2018 editions, have the third best win percentage with 57.95 and are the only team with two PSL titles.
Karachi Kings’ win percentage of 42.86 is the best amongst the three franchises, who have lost more matches than they have won. Lahore Qalandars (30.55%) and Multan Sultans (36.84%), who entered the PSL in its third edition in 2018, are the only two teams to have not made it beyond the group-stage till now and they will be hoping that this season brings a change in their fortunes.
This fifth edition of the PSL marks the biggest spectacle of cricket in the country since the 2008 Asia Cup as Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Rawalpindi will host the tournament, which goes down as the first instance of an entire edition of the PSL being held in its own country.
Three franchises will take the field with new captains this season after Pakistan internationals Shadab Khan and Shan Masood and hard-hitting batsman Sohail Akhtar were named captains of Islamabad United, Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars, respectively, while Imad Wasim (Karachi Kings), Darren Sammy (Peshawar Zalmi) and Sarfaraz Ahmed (Quetta Gladiators) will continue in their roles.
Shadab Khan, the Islamabad United captain, said on Wednesday : “Our preparations are excellent for this edition. We have had a camp in Islamabad with the Pakistan players and now we are gearing up for the tournament with all of our players in Karachi.
Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim said: “I am expecting housefuls in all of the games as we are playing at our home and it should be a lot of fun.
“We are ready and I believe we have a side which will do well in this edition. We are a balanced side which can deliver in whichever situation we will find ourselves in.
Lahore Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar said: “I feel very blessed and honoured that I will be leading Lahore Qalandars in an edition, which is being held on the Pakistani soil.
Shan Masood, the captain of Multan Sultans, said: “We have been preparing very well. We have played scenario-based matches and practiced under lights as our first two matches are at night. Our match against the MCC will give us match practice and we will get to know our ideal combination. For our first match on 21 February we are Tayyar Hain!
Darren Sammy, the Peshawar Zalmi captain, said: “Peshawar Zalmi have been very consistent in the HBL PSL. We have always prepared hard for every edition and this time is no different. Guys have been working really hard on their skills and I can’t wait to see them execute it in the games. Playing with passion and never say die attitude has been the mantra of Zalmi.
Sarfaraz Ahmed, the captain of the defending champions Quetta Gladiators, said: “The preparations have been going really well for us both in terms of training and the team-related activities. Every player is eager to contribute in the success of Quetta Gladiators.