PSL 2019: PCB chief Ehsan Mani hoping to host 2020 edition entirely on Pakistan soil

Waseem Ahmed 18/03/2019
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PCB chief Ehsan Mani (r) with the winning skipper Sarfraz Ahmed.

Following the successful conclusion of the 2019 Pakistan Super League (PSL), Ehsan Mani has expressed his hope of hosting the entire 2020 edition on Pakistan soil.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman was on hand to witness a packed crowd for the final at the National Stadium in Karachi on Sunday. The final between Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi was the eighth match of the 2019 edition to be staged on Pakistan soil and the overwhelming response has given Mani renewed optimism for the next edition of the tournament.

“Next year we look forward to welcome you back with all the PSL matches in Pakistan,” Mani said in his address to the crowd on Sunday.

“Today for Pakistan, especially for Karachi, it’s a historic day. Since PSL is in Karachi, over 200,000 spectators witnessed the games at the stadium and millions witnessed on TV and digital platform.

“The biggest reward should be given to the people of Karachi, the way you people have supported and embraced PSL 4 here in your city. The love and support was extraordinary.”

The Karachi leg of PSL 2019 saw a remarkable turnout from the various overseas stars of the six franchises in stark contrast to last year where many foreign players had backed out from travelling to Pakistan due to security concerns.

This year, all six franchises went in with a near full-strength overseas contingent to Pakistan with the likes of Shane Watson, Kieron Pollard and Colin Ingram leading the way.

“Finally, I would like to say that all overseas players, officials and technical support teams, you have seen yourself the passion and love for cricket in Pakistan. Next year we look forward to welcome you back with all the PSL matches in Pakistan,” Mani said to conclude.

The bulk of the PSL is currently still being staged in the UAE. The inaugural edition in 2016 was held entirely in the UAE while the final in 2017 was held in Lahore amidst tight security. In 2018, three matches including the final and two Eliminators were held in Pakistan.

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PSL 2019: Viv Richards hails Quetta Gladiators 'family' after storming win over Peshawar Zalmi in final

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Quetta Gladiators team mentor Sir Vivian Richards was beaming after his side claimed the 2019 title in Karachi on Sunday, one that he has put down to the togetherness of the squad.

Having finished second in the league stage, Quetta beat Peshawar Zalmi in the Qualifier before defeating them once more in the final to be crowned champions. Richards claims their first title in a third final appearance is a product of hard work.

“This is what we work hard for. (We) must thank Nadeem Omar (Quetta Gladiators owner), the backroom staff, everyone who’s walked on the field. We were a family, and we sustained – that’s what it’s all about,” the 67-year-old said after the victory.

Richards hailed the experience in Pakistan, reserving special thanks for former cricketer and current Prime Minister Imran Khan.

“It’s great to come to Pakistan and feel loved. My good friend is now your Prime Minister, and we must thank him and his staff too.”

The West Indies batting legend highlighted the wealth of fast bowlers that has shone throughout the tournament.

“I’ve always said Pakistan have some good fast bowlers, it’s given the youngsters the chance to see the talent in their country.

“My love to Pakistan, I can feel the love. Thank you so much,” he said signing off.

Quetta all-rounder Dwayne Bravo applauded the efforts of his team as a whole while singling out captain Sarfraz Ahmed and youngster Mohammad Hasnain for praise.

“It was a great, great team effort. Special mention to captain Sarfraz, his bowling choices were different. In Hasnain, Pakistan have another young talent.

“PSL is the one title I had never won before, so happy to tick another one off my list.”

Peshawar owner Javed Afridi was disappointed with the result but was encouraged by the success of the Pakistan leg of the tournament.

“We’ve lost, but we are happy that the PSL came to Pakistan and gave the people of Karachi joy. (We) must give credit to my team for the way they’ve played this season, to reach the final. It’s been an amazing season.”

He also touched upon the possibility of the league being played entirely in Pakistan next season.

“The way PM Imran Khan said that PSL will be completely played in Pakistan next year, then we stakeholders need to work in the off-season to bring PSL matches to cities beyond Karachi and Lahore.”

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PSL 2019: Quetta Gladiators claim maiden title with dominant win over Peshawar Zalmi

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Quetta Gladiators finally succeeded in their quest to win the Pakistan Super League (PSL) at the third time of asking. Having lost in two previous finals, they were not to be denied in the 2019 edition.

Sarfraz Ahmed led his team to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Peshawar Zalmi in Karachi on Sunday with 12 balls to spare, beating them for a fourth time this year. Prior to the final, they enjoyed two league wins over their opponents before getting the better of them in the Qualifier as well.

Mohammad Hasnain was the pick of the Quetta bowlers as he delivered figures of 3-30 with the opposition restricted to just 138/8. The target was chased down with relative ease courtesy of a fine half century from Ahmed Shehzad.

Quetta won the toss and elected to field, a decision that started to seem like the right one early on. Sohail Tanvir’s tight opening over of just two runs set things up nicely before teenage quick Hasnain made the breakthrough in the following over, claiming the wicket of Immam-ul-Haq (4) and breaking up Peshawar’s dangerous opening pair. The left-hander charged down the track but was done by the bounce and ended up skying his effort to clear the ropes straight to Shehzad at mid-off.

The experienced Kamran Akmal then took it upon himself to accelerate the innings and went after spinner Mohammad Nawaz in the fourth over, dispatching him for a six and two boundaries. With 14 garnered from the over already though, Akmal needlessly attacked the final delivery, one that Nawaz pitched shorter to beat the batsman with turn and hit the stumps.

Umar Amin set about rebuilding the innings with a handy knock of 38 from 33 balls, playing some well-timed shots along the way. He managed to put together a couple of partnerships with Sohaib Maqsood – who also threatened to cut loose at some point – and then Nabi Gul before the dangerous Hasnain came back into the attack and removed him from the equation with a short delivery which he pulled into the grateful hands of Tanvir on the boundary.

The onus was then on West Indies duo Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy to replicate their big-hitting in the past and salvage Peshawar’s innings with some fireworks in the death overs. But that was not forthcoming. Both batsmen struggled as the Quetta bowling attack kept them under wraps with a fine bowling display full of variation.

Hasnain was at it again when he dismissed Pollard for just seven off 12 deliveries with a mean bouncer, responding to the batsman ruthlessly swatting his previous delivery away for four. The 31-year-old could only get the slightest of edges on the subsequent bouncer which Sarfraz pouched behind the wicket. Sammy was out of sorts and though he batted through to the end, he never found the middle of the bat, consistently mistiming his wild swings and even running out Wahab Riaz embarrassingly during his innings of 18 from 16.

Quetta began their chase on the front foot but were perhaps too keen to maintain a high scoring rate as a needless gamble saw main man Shane Watson (7) run out by a direct hit from Amin.

The team recovered well though with fellow opener Shehzad anchoring the innings with his knock of 58 not out from 51 balls, hitting six boundaries and one six in the process. He was ably supported in the middle by Ahsan Ali (25) and Rilee Rossouuw (39*).

The batsmen showed the experienced Wahab Riaz plenty of respect and the bowler finished with 1-19 from his four overs, going at a rate of just 4.75. They played the season’s top wicket-taker Hasan Ali excellently as well, biding their time but capitalising on the loose deliveries.

It was an all-round superb display from the Gladiators in the final and no one can say they haven’t earned the title of 2019 champions.

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