The seventh edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL) will begin on Thursday at the historic National Stadium Karachi, with defending champions Multan Sultans taking on 2020 champions Karachi Kings in a curtain-raiser opening ceremony.
Babar Azam will lead the Karachi Kings, who in 2021 set the record for most T20I victories as captain in a calendar year with 20. According to a release from the Pakistan Cricket Board, the Multan Sultans will be headed by Mohammad Rizwan, the first batter to reach 1,000 T20I runs in a calendar year (PCB).
“I am ecstatic to be the captain of the Karachi Kings this season.” This is the first time I’ll be captaining a team in the PSL, and I’m excited about it.
He went on to explain that the first match of the tournament is typically a big deal, and the Multan Sultans might be a tough opponent. “I am confident that the spectators will be treated to a terrific encounter,” he says.
“Peter Moores is a seasoned coach, and I have had great meetings with him,” he said of his faith in the Karachi Kings. This season, the Karachi Kings will play competitive cricket.”
“We have all the capability to defend our PSL title,” Rizwan added, “and we will take the field tomorrow with that mindset.” We’ll have new problems this season, and we’ll have to prepare properly.”
Azam is a superb batter and captain, according to Rizwan, and his leadership will have a beneficial impact on the Karachi Kings.
“I am optimistic that the HBL PSL 7 will begin with a fantastic match between the two teams.” He stated his case.
The seating capacity for all matches in Karachi has been reduced to 25%, according to National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) standards, with a decision on the number of spectators in Lahore to be made later.
Quetta Gladiators will play Peshawar Zalmi at 2 p.m. PKT on Friday, the second matchday, while Saturday will feature a double-header with Multan Sultans taking on Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings taking on Quetta Gladiators.
The Lahore Qalandars, led by Shaheen Shah Afridi, who has had a meteoric rise in international cricket since his debut in 2018, will hope that a change of leadership will result in a change of fortunes and a win of the prized trophy.
Islamabad United’s captain is Shadab Khan. Sarfaraz Ahmed, the only player to captain his club in every edition, will continue to lead the Quetta Gladiators, while Wahab Riaz will lead the Peshawar Zalmi.
The PSL has established itself as one of the top T20 tournaments in the globe, bringing some of the world’s best cricketers. The high level of competition in this league has provided an opportunity for up-and-coming Pakistan cricketers to study, refine their talents, and understand the game’s subtleties.
The first 15 games will take place at National Stadium Karachi until February 7, following which the action will move to Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, where the final 19 games will take place from February 10 to 27.
Since the league’s inception in 2016, five of the six teams have been proclaimed champions, with Islamabad United being the only team to win the title twice.
Peshawar Zalmi won the title in 2017 by defeating Quetta Gladiators in the final in Lahore, which was the first PSL match held in Pakistan. Islamabad United has crowned champions in 2018 after defeating Peshawar Zalmi in Karachi. The Quetta Gladiators had a successful year in 2019. The Karachi Kings made history in 2020 when they defeated the Lahore Qalandars at home.
The PCB has also agreed to the latest ICC rules. If a team fails to field its final over of the inning on time, one fewer fielder will be allowed outside the 30-yard circle for the rest of the inning.
There will be a reserve day for the final, and if no results are collected, the winning team will be the team that placed first in their group. Changes to the rules of the game can be found here.
To ensure that action continues during these unprecedented COVID times, the PCB has allowed teams to field an exclusively local playing XI if foreign players are unavailable, and matches will be played if at least 13 players are available. A reserve player pool has also been developed by the PCB.
In Pakistan, all of the action will be televised live in high definition on A Sports and PTV Sports. PSL 7 will be televised throughout the world.