The Pakistan Cricket Board has reassured fans at home and the cricket world at large that Pakistan Super League matches scheduled to happen in the country will go ahead as planned, despite the ongoing tensions between Pakistan and India.
PCB chief Ehsan Mani met with all six PSL franchises before making the announcement on Thursday, confirming that the final eight matches of the 2019 season will take place in Lahore and Karachi, which will host the final on March 17, as initially planned. All foreign players in the league who had already committed to play in Pakistan will take part in those matches.
“We want to reconfirm that the PSL matches will all be played in Pakistan as scheduled,” Mani told a press conference with five of the six franchise owners sitting beside him.
“I would like to thank my colleagues sitting alongside me for their support. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that PSL will continue with business as usual as we planned and this is a unanimous decision from all of us.
“I am also very grateful to our overseas players who are ready to come to Pakistan. All those who had given their commitment from the start are still with us. I am also grateful to all support staff who are working at the ground. We have a few challenges on the production side, with one of our production partners pulling out overnight.
“But then the team we got together, they made sure that we had seamless transition and now I am absolutely confident that we will be in Pakistan as we had planned.”
Four days after pulling off a stunning win over Multan Sultans in Sharjah, Kieron Pollard was at it again as he secured a commanding victory for Peshawar Zalmi in Pakistan Super League 2019 on Thursday.
In their previous clash, Pollard hit a 10-ball 25 to clinch victory with two balls to spare and in Dubai on Thursday, the West Indian hit a 25-ball fifty to help Peshawar chase down Multan’s target of 173 with four balls and seven wickets remaining.
When Pollard joined Umar Amin (54 off 37 balls) at the crease in the 12th over, there were 88 runs required off 51 balls. That 10.3 asking rate would balloon to 13 with four overs left – by which point, Pollard had been dropped by fellow West Indies international Johnson Charles, the Multan man spilling a straight-forward catch in the deep.
Pollard was on 14 off 13 at the time, already looking like he was winding up for a huge finish and the reprieve was what it took to set him off. After taking a single off the ball he was dropped off of, Pollard hit the next 11 balls he faced for 35 runs, a sequence that ended with three straight sixes off of Daniel Christian to end the 18th over.
Take nothing away from Amin’s innings, however. His fifty was just as crucial, as he anchored the innings along with opener Imam-ul-Haq (39 off 34 balls) to keep Peshawar in the hunt. The fifty-run partnership between the duo may have been slightly slow, taking 41 balls, but by staying at the crease they gave Pollard wickets in hand to complete the chase later.
THE OYE HOYE MOMENT!— Cricingif (@_cricingif) February 28, 2019
THREE IN A ROW FROM KIERON POLLARD @KieronPollard55 has turned the match on its head and @danchristian54 cannot do anything about it
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details:https://t.co/E0iGQd4Nmc #MSvPZ #PSL2019 #CricketForAll #KhelDeewanoKa pic.twitter.com/PMFEQIG4cL
Meanwhile, Multan will be wondering how they let this one get away. Before his fatal dropped catch, Charles was looking like one of the contenders for player of the match, his 57 off 31 leading the Sultans to a more than competitive total of 172-5. Captain Shoaib Malik chipped in with 28, though there may have been the sense of some runs being left on the board given James Vince’s relatively slow innings – 38 balls for his 41 – and Shahid Afridi failing to do much with a five-ball cameo, managing only one run.
But the bowlers did an excellent job in the front end of Peshawar’s innings, choking the scoring . The only concern was the lack of regular wickets, but when Afridi picked up the crucial one of Imam in the 12th over, it seemed he’d given his side the upper hand. Pollard had other ideas.
Lahore Qalandars and Karachi Kings play their second PSL 2019 match in as many days in an evening clash in Dubai on Thursday.
Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane starred with the ball for Lahore in their crushing win over Quetta Gladiators on Wednesday while Karachi had to face defeat against Islamabad United thanks to a smashing fifty from Asif Ali.
Who will prevail in this clash? Catch the live updates below.