Two Chinese cricketers set to take part in Pakistan Super League

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The Chinese cricketers will represent Peshwar Zalmi.

In a major boost to cricket in China, two players from the national team have been drafted to play in the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL), expected to be held predominantly in the UAE in early 2018.

The two countries share a broad strategic partnership and, therefore, it is hardly a surprise that such a move has been worked out.

According to a report by the official Pakistan news agency, APP, the two players from China will be part of the Peshawar Zalmi franchisee.

Zalmi are the defending champions of the PSL after winning the second edition of Pakistan’s Twenty20 extravaganza in Lahore in March.

The report goes on to say that the contracts for the two players will be signed by the head of the team, Javed  Afridi, during his visit to Beijing next month.

Cricket still remains grossly under-funded in China and as such the pace of development of the game has suffered extensively.

In April this year, the Chinese men’s team were bowled out for just 28 runs by Saudi Arabia in a World Cricket League regional qualifier held in Thailand. The Middle East nation won the match by a whopping 390 runs, highlighting the plight of the game in China.

However, a chance for the national team players to play in the PSL alongside international stars can only be a good thing and one hopes that it could kick-start a greater interest about the game back home in asia.

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PSL Awards - best moments from 2017 Pakistan Super League

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Darren Sammy stole the hearts of Pakistanis.

The 2017 Pakistan Super League went out in style on Sunday night with the return of international significant cricket returning to Pakistan after a decade’s absence.

It brought to a close the second edition of the tournament, one littered with spot fixing scandals, remarkable finishes, the emergence of remarkable young Pakistan players and an enormous amount of Darren Sammy selfies.

In the three weeks of the tournament, PSL 2017 had a little bit of everything.

And, here, Sport360’s Barnaby Read hands out his awards for the players and people that made this year’s edition so entertaining.

Make sure you share with us your thoughts on PSL II and your abiding memories of the league by commenting below, using #360fans on Twitter or getting in touch via Facebook.

BEST MATCH
Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars (Game 18)

This year’s PSL wasn’t short of dramatic finishes with 12 matches going to the last over, but this one took the biscuit.

In pursuit of 156, Karachi looked dead and buried when Kieron Pollard entered the scene with 53 required from 28 balls and then 28 from 12 and 14 from six.

And with two balls left, there were still 10 runs needed, which seemed a mammoth ask but was nothing for the West Indian as he launched two sixes from the final two balls to keep his side in the tournament.

BEST INNINGS
Kevin Pietersen [88*] vs Lahore Qalandars (Game 11)

This was vintage Kevin Pietersen, the former England man battering the Lahore attack to lead his side to a successful chase of 201 in Sharjah.

After a run of two golden ducks in succession, Pietersen came out in a blaze of boundaries, smashing 88 from 42 balls and hitting three fours and an incredible eight sixes.

It was brutal, brilliant and beautiful.

BEST BOWLING PERFORMANCE
KARACHI KINGS TRIO vs Islamabad United (2nd Qualifying Final)

There were a number of individual standout moments with the ball throughout the tournament, including the last over heroics of Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Nawaz, but this was an attack operating as a highly skilled unit.

Defending just 126 against the reigning champions was no easy task but Karachi made it look that way as they bowled Islamabad out for just 82.

Mohammad Amir (3-7), Imad Wasim (3-18), Usama Mir (3-24), Sohail Khan (1-21) and even Usman Khan (0-11) were each superb.

BIGGEST WINNER
Pakistan cricket fans

Yeah, Peshawar Zalmi won the tournament but the true winners of the PSL were the fans that got to see the final in Lahore.

The game wasn’t the spectacle they hoped after Quetta was forced to change their foreign contingent but that barely mattered.

What did was that the final took place in Pakistan and that those fans in attendance, and the players, were provided a safe environment to watch and play cricket.

BEST PAKISTANI
Kamran Akmal (Peshawar Zalmi)

It was quite the tournament for Akmal, who ended up the highest run-scorer after a highly productive month.

It has put him back in the reckoning for the international side, aided by the suspensions of Sharjeel Khan and Khalid Latif.

Quite the renaissance from Akmal.

BEST FOREIGNER
Darren Sammy (Peshawar Zalmi)

If you want to win a T20 competition then having Darren Sammy in your side improves those chances ten-fold… and then some.

He wasn’t at his best with bat and ball but his runs in the final showed just what he is capable of and how he loves the big occasion.

But how he won the hearts over of the Pakistan public and united his team will live long in the memory.

BEST EMERGING PLAYER
Shadab Khan (Islamabad United)

A real highlight of the tournament were the times the various emerging players outperformed their elders and Shadab did this frequently.

His leg-spin is a thing of beauty, bowled at times as if it is an off-spinner, while his googly seemed to have a homing device on the stumps.

An absolutely brilliant natural talent, Shadab will find himself in the Pakistan setup sooner rather than later.

BEST HAIRCUT
Rayad Emrit (Quetta Gladiators)

Drafted in for the final, Emrit must be applauded for taking the plunge in Lahore.

And he did well, taking 3-30 with the ball, a real positive in his side’s otherwise lacklustre performance.

But his half blonde dyed Mohawk was easily the best thing he brought to the PSL.

BEST QUOTE
Chris Gayle (Karachi Kings) on going to Lahore for the final

Well if you’re taking me I’ll come with you. Invite me, man. No, you invite me and then you might see me. Let me know when you want to see me.

BEST SONG
Kai Kai Quetta by Faakhir and Faheem Alan Faqeer

Now this was a difficult one to choose, considering the rich variety of team songs.

But this beauty from Quetta wins out for its lively horns, catchy hook and all-round fun.

Add to that the incredible videos including miming, dancing cricketers and you’re on to an absolute winner.

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PSL final: Peshawar Zalmi thrash Quetta Gladiators

Barnaby Read 5/03/2017
Peshawar Zalmi celebrate in Lahore.

Cricket’s homecoming in Pakistan saw Peshawar Zalmi clinch the 2017 Pakistan Super League title after romping to a 58-run win over Quetta Gladiators.

A makeshift Quetta crumbled in their pursuit of 149, their batting lineup clearly missing the foreign firepower of Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Rossouw and Luke Wright who decided against making the trip.

The win will be significant for Peshawar as the second PSL champions but the night will be remembered more so as the first of its kind to be held in Pakistan for a decade.

Spotted in the Lahore crowd at the Gadaffi Stadium on Sunday night was a fan bearing a homemade sign declaring “Pakistan wins today” and it was clear that the evening belonged to the country and its cricket-mad population.

And the sight of two Pakistan teams singing their national anthem on home soil with the world watching was a memorable one that will have stirred emotions for all watching on.

In the pre-amble, Peshawar’s foreign players were hailed for making the trip, Quetta named an entirely new five man overseas contingent, the crowd bulged and eyes were fixed on the surrounds of the stadium, praying the match would pass without incident.

The situation certainly wasn’t lost on Peshawar skipper Darren Sammy, who has become the unlikely face of both this year’s PSL and the country’s ambition to return international cricket to Pakistan.

At the toss, Sammy simply hoped for a good game of cricket. Thankfully, as Zulfiqar Babar bounced to the crease to bowl the first delivery, the rest of the night allowed the spectacle of the final to take centre stage like any other game of cricket anywhere else in the world albeit with 10,000 plus security personnel in place.

Resurgent talisman Kamran Akmal made early hay until slow left-armers Hasan Khan and Mohammad Nawaz put the breaks on with a wicket apiece in consecutive balls, including that of Akmal.

Hasan had a second in his next over as Peshawar slipped from 82-1 in the tenth over to 87-4 after 12.

Foreign final specialist Rayad Emrit was the other man to do damage with the ball by taking three wickets before being blitzed for 18 in the penultimate over as Sammy led a late assault.

His 28 from 11 balls saw Peshawar to 148-6, Sammy playing up to the incredibly warm reception to his presence from the crowd.

The Quetta chase was a procession of wickets, their challenge clearly hit by their lack of foreigners which did dilute the competitiveness of the final.

But in the wider schemes of things, that woman with the sign hit the nail on the head and no-one in either side would begrudge Pakistan winning the day over their franchise.

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