PCB announces schedule of HBL Pakistan Super League 2019

By Rajive Singh

LAHORE 16 December 2018: The countdown to the start of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019 has begun as the Pakistan Cricket Board announced the schedule of the event, which will kick-off with the tournament opener between defending champions Islamabad United and the sixth team* in Dubai on 14 February 2019 and culminate with the final in Karachi on 17 March 2019.

Thirty-four (34) matches will be played in the fourth edition and for the first time in the short history of this highly successful and much-awaited tournament, Lahore and Karachi will share eight matches between them at the back-end of the 32-day event.

Karachi’s National Stadium will host the first of their five matches on 7 March 2019 when Karachi Kings will take on Peshawar Zalmi under lights. The other four matches will be: Karachi Kings versus Quetta Gladiators on 10 March 2019, Qualifier 1 versus Qualifier 2 on 13 March 2019, Eliminator 2 on 15 March 2019 and the final on 17 March 2019.

The iconic Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore will be the venue of three matches, namely: Lahore Qalandars versus Islamabad United on 9 March 2019, Lahore Qalandars versus the 6th team on 10 March 2019 and Eliminator 1 (3 v 4) on 12 March 2019. All the three matches will be played under floodlights.

In addition to the Gaddafi Stadium and National Stadium, 14 matches will be played at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, four matches will be held at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi and eight matches will be staged at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah.

According to the event format, each side will play the other twice with the top-four after 30 event matches advancing to the play-offs. In the 13 March 2019 Qualifier, the table-toppers will play the second-placed side with the winner progressing to the final. The losing side will get a second chance to qualify for the final when, in the 15 March 2019 Eliminator 2, they will play the winner of 12 March 2019 Eliminator 1, which will be between the third and fourth-placed sides.

“The PCB is delighted to announce the schedule of the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019, which marks two months to go to one of the PCB’s marquee events which continues to grow in reputation and stature.

“The PCB is committed to working harder to make the HBL PSL an even bigger and better tournament, with the focus being to provide top notch playing facilities to the players, increase the fan base and provide the followers complete entertainment, and ensure all interests of our key stakeholders are adequately and professionally taken care of.

“The PCB believes the PSL is a gateway to resumption of international cricket in Pakistan. By successfully staging eight matches in Lahore and Karachi with the support of the local authorities, the PCB is optimistic that it will once again prove to the world that Pakistan is as safe and secure a place as any other part of the world to play international cricket.

“The PCB would like to thank its esteemed commercial partners, including title sponsors Habib Bank, for their continued support and patronage. Without the involvement and commitment of the sponsors, no event can be organised successfully. The PCB is confident that the strong and successful PSL brand will also help the PCB’s commercial partners to secure maximum exposure and coverage both within and outside Pakistan.”

In only in its fourth year, the HBL Pakistan Super League has grown into one of the biggest and most competitive tournaments on this planet, evident from the fact that the world’s leading and most attractive cricketers continue to make themselves available for this competition.

South Africa’s AB de Villiers and Brendan Taylor of Zimbabwe, who will wear Lahore Qalandars’ kits, and Steve Smith of Australia, who will represent the sixth team, are three of the 19 players expected to make their PSL debuts in 2019.

The others 16 are: Fawad Ahmed, Qais Ahmed, Corey Anderson, Ian Bell, Dan Christian, Ben Dunk, Laurie Evans, Harry Gurney, Liam Livingstone, Wayne Madsen, Tom Moores, Sandeep Lamichanne, Wayne Parnell, Sikander Raza, Waqar Salamkheil and Phil Salt.

The players have also expressed their enthusiasm and interest in the start of the HBL PSL 2019.

Waqar Younis, who is the mentor of Islamabad United, said: “The PSL is one of the most entertaining but difficult tournaments in which each match counts. You have to turn up at the top of your game every time you step onto the field so that you stay clear of the danger zone.

“Islamabad United have a talented and all-round side, with each and every member capable of consistently producing match-winning performances. I have no doubts that the 2019 event will be a great spectacle and I urge all the spectators and fans to play their part in making this a successful event.”

Lahore Qalandars’ newly appointed captain, Mohammad Hafeez, said: “The PSL is no doubt one of the top franchise tournaments in the world and I look forward to captaining Lahore Qalandars to playing quality cricket in front of Pakistani fans both in UAE and Pakistan. Having played in the last three events, I have no apprehension that this will be an event to watch out for.

“We have an excellent and balanced team, which includes AB de Villiers amongst other top players. I am sure the boys will benefit from AB’s rich experience, and AB himself will have a great time with us.”

Karachi Kings’ captain Imad Wasim said: “Eight PSL matches taking place in Lahore and Karachi is great news for the Pakistan cricket fans and I look forward to captaining Karachi Kings at the historic National Stadium. We will have to be at our best in each match to ensure that we also feature in front of our home crowds on 17 March.”

Shoaib Malik, who will captain the sixth team, said: “We have a very balanced side, which is capable of going all the way in the PSL. This tournament is not only designed to provide entertainment to the fans, but is also a vehicle for the local players to learn and getter better by featuring in high pressure matches and through the presence of international stars.

“We also look forward to welcoming Steve Smith and Shahid Afridi, two absolute legends of the game, to the side and hope they will play their lead roles in helping us cross the line. Like all other players, I can’t wait for this event to start and hope to hit the ground running from the opening day.”

Sarfraz Ahmed, who captained Quetta Gladiators to two finals, said: “We are a team which has always received overwhelming support from the entire Pakistan, particularly Quetta. This has been one of the cornerstones of our strong performances in the past events and hopefully we will be able to do one better in 2019 by lifting the silverware in front of the National Stadium crowds.”

Daren Sammy, who captained Peshawar Zalmi to the title in 2017, said: “The PSL is one of my favourite tournaments and I not only look forward to playing in it in a few weeks’ time, but also look forward to once again featuring in the final.

“Zalmi is known for its aggressive and attacking cricket, and I am confident that we will win more hearts by successfully and regularly displaying our strengths every time we take the field.”

Foreign players to feature in HBL PSL 2019 are:

  • Afghanistan – Zahir Khan, Qais Ahmad, Waqar Salamkheil
  • Australia – Fawad Ahmed, Dan Christian, Ben Dunk, Steve Smith, Aaron Summers, Shane Watson
  • England – Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Liam Dawson, Joe Denly, Laurie Evans, Harry Gurney, Chris Jordon, Liam Livingstone, Wayne Madsen, Dawid Malan, Tom Moores, Samit Patel
  • New Zealand – Corey Anderson, Anton Devcich, Colin Munro, Luke Ronchi
  • Nepal – Sandeep Lamichhane
  • South Africa – AB de Villiers, Colin Ingram, Cameron Delport, Wayne Parnell, Rilee Rossouw
  • Wales – Phil Salt
  • West Indies – Dwayne Bravo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sunil Narine, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy
  • Zimbabwe – Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor

Dubai Gazette