After the immense applaud and appreciation received from fans all over the world, the success from the first season of the PSL ultimately led to Pakistan Super League 2017.
Comeback from 2016 to 2017: Stronger than ever
PSL 2017 was a reprise of the first edition of Pakistan Super League 2016 or for sponsorship reasons it also referred to as Pakistan Super League 2017. Though it may not seem as if, there were a few flaws in the first season, a lot of which were taken care of in this season… well, at least it was an attempt to. From venue amendments to ambassador and sponsorship shifts, the preceding year’s PSL was considerably more commendable as to the previous year. The biggest and perhaps the most crucial keynote of this season was the retrieval of international cricket back home in Pakistan that remained an arguable, disputed matter ever since the unfortunate incident that took place in 2009 over the Sri Lankan national cricket team. The 2017 PSL was telecasted in over 10 territories, and the ratings were significantly higher than the previous season, as claimed by PSL chairman, Najam Sethi.
Player Draft 2017:
Following a similar pattern as the 2016 player draft for Pakistan Super League, the second season was held in Dubai on 19th October 2016. 414 players from all over the world, inclusive of domestic and foreign players, were put into five main categories: Platinum, Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Emerging, each player being categorized based on their value and recognition. Platinum and Emerging being two extreme ends on the spectrum, with platinum players earning a base salary of $140,000 and emerging getting $10,000. The same salary cap as 2016 of $1.2M was followed, which consisted of the signing of players, coaches, and supporting staff. In a 20-man squad, each team was allowed to pick eight foreign players and twelve Pakistani players. Supplementary players were also picked but were not catered for monetarily unless they were needed on-field and joined the rest of the squad for the tournament.
Lahore Qalandars: Renowned bowlers, Sohail Tanvir, who played for Karachi Kings in 2016, and Aamer Yamin, who played for Peshawar Zalmi in 2016 were both picked up by Lahore Qalandars.
Karachi Kings: Iconic cricketers such as Babar Azam from Islamabad United and master storm, Chris Gayle from Lahore Qalandars was chosen by Karachi kings instead.
Peshawar Zalmi: Pakistani cricketer Sohaib Maqsood who was an ex Lahore Qalandars player, had joined the yellow storm alongside star-studded Shakib Al Hasan from Karachi Kings.
New Player Additions to PSL 2017:
Platinum: New additions to the draft meant newer players had also been picked up by various teams. Including; Eoin Morgan for Peshawar Zalmi, Kieron Pollard for Karachi Kings and Brendon McCullum for Lahore Qalandars from the Platinum category.
Diamond: Carlos Brathwaite for Quetta Gladiators, Kumar Sangakkara for Karachi Kings, Yasir Shah for Lahore Qalandars.
Gold: Tymal Mills for Quetta Gladiators, Chris Jordan for Peshawar Zalmi, Ryan McLaren for Karachi Kings, and Anton Devcich for Lahore Qalandars.
Silver: Umar Amin for Quetta Gladiator, Iftikhar Ahmed, and Haris Sohail for Peshawar Zalmi, Khurram Manzoor, and Kashif Bhatti for Karachi Kings and Bilawal Bhatti for Lahore Qalandars.
Emerging: Hasan Khan, Noor Wali for Quetta Gladiators, Abdul Ameer, Abrar Ahmed for Karachi Kings, and Ghulam Mudassar, Usman Qadir for Lahore Qalandars.
Supplementary: Though Islamabad United had no changes or additions to their team, they did have some remarkable players like Shadab Khan, Ben Duckett, and Zohaib Khan as supplementary options. Similarly, every team had iconic supplements such as Alex Hales, Grant Elliot, Mohammad Irfan, etc.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, and of course, Gaddafi Cricket Stadium, Lahore, for the final. All stage matches were played subsequently in Dubai and Sharjah, alternatively. The capacity for each of the stadium ranged from 15,000-30,000. And it was no surprise that almost every match had full attendance.
9th February 2017, the Opening ceremony for the second edition of the Pakistan Super League was hosted in Dubai at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium with a crowd of a whopping 26,000 people. The ceremony was hosted by a famous Pakistani actor/director/host, Fahad Mustafa. Islamabad United, the preceding champions of PSL 2016 marched into the stadium in the traditional national dress of Pakistan. Mind-blowing cultural performances took place that was followed by a live performance of Jamaican pop star Shaggy, who put up a bombastic musical performance. Shehzad Roy and Ali Zafar too took to the stage with PSL’s very own anthems. The performances left the crowd startled, and the air was truly electrifying. To top things off, the ceremony ended with a display of colorful fireworks.
The PSL 2017 Teams
The teams were the same as 2016, representing the major cities of Pakistan. However, it was rumored that there was a possible addition of a sixth team to represent Kashmir, this was ultimately turned down by mid-may 2016.
Islamabad united was captained by Misbah Ul Haq again for PSL 2 and was head coached by Dean Jones. Despite being champions for the first season of PSL in 2016, the team managed to finish fourth after group stage fixtures. They were able to win four matches out of 8 and were finally eliminated by Karachi Kings in the eliminator round after chasing a low total.
Picking up from their previous performance in PSL 2016, The Karachi Kings team was captained by Kumar Sangakkara after Shoaib Malik (ex Karachi King’s captain) stepped down from captaincy role. Similar to Islamabad United, Karachi Kings finished third after winning four matches out of eight being played in the second edition of PSL. However, Karachi King’s run rate was higher than Islamabad united.
Peshawar Zalmi was the finalist team for PSL 2017. It was captained by Darren Sammy, who not only won the hearts of every Pakistani by flying to Pakistan for the finals but also managed to bag the title for being the PSL champions of 2017. Peshawar Zalmi topped the points table and won 4 out of 8 matches.
Lahore Qalandars seemed to have had a considerably strong team and a powerful batting line-up. The team was captained by Brendon McCullum, but despite having some iconic players, they were not able to learn from their past mistakes and thus resulted in them winning only 3 matches out of 8 played. Their elimination in the group stage as a result of their low run rate as well as the team standing on the fifth position of the points table. However, just like last time, they did put up a good show and gave the viewers some pretty nail-biting match moments.
Quetta Gladiators was captained by then Pakistan cricket team captain, Sarfaraz Ahmed, and coached by the all-star cricketer, Moin Khan. The team also had a spectacular mentor, none other than Viv Richards. Quetta Gladiators won four out of eight matches played. They managed to land themselves in the finals for the second time in a row, being runners-up (again) after losing to the arch-rivals, Yellow Storm AKA Peshawar Zalmi.
The PSL Final (2017)
Depending on the law and order situation that prevailed during PSL, Najam Sethi stated that the board was willing to shift the final to Pakistan, making a comeback in international cricket. While other matches were held as per schedule in Sharjah and Dubai. The agonizing uncertainty led to Chairman Najam Sethi finally confirming that the final was to be played in PSL’s homeland. The confirmation was shortly after the player draft for 2017 in January. Pakistan. Tickets were sold online, and a ticket booth was also set up at the Gaddafi stadium, depending on customer preference in terms of purchasing tickets, this entire being before the match. With some of the foreign players who were unconvinced about flying to Pakistan, the board arranged by replacing overseas players who were unwilling to play in Pakistan, by holding a new draft at the end of February for the tournament finale. While many star-studded players refused to travel to Pakistan, which was a blow for the final teams, some did and one of which was the two-time winning T20 world cup captain for West Indies, Darren Sammy.
The final match for Pakistan Super League 2017 was held at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on 5th March 2017. Not only was this day cherished by the finalist team supporters but by Pakistanis worldwide due to the revival of international cricket in Pakistan after 9 years. The Final was hosted by Ahmad Ali Butt and Ayesha Omar and had mind-blowing live performances lined up by Ali Zafar, Ali Azmat, Faakhir Mehmood, and Overload Band. The final was said to have attracted more views than any Pakistan-India match, while Indians watched the final the most relative to any other country. Guess, ‘the final was fantastic’ after all.
The stadium was sold out, and the e-tickets were sold within an hour. The selling out of tickets faced a lot of criticism by patriots who were unable to afford the high priced tickets that were still available or were being resold to the public at a black price. The spirits of the cricket fans were simply taken advantage of, which should have been considered by PCB prior. Ticket revenues amounted to Rs. 180m. In addition to the inconvenience caused by tickets, the government also announced a traffic management plan for the final, but despite precautions, it had still caused a lot of trouble to the public due to roads being blocked.
Final Match Summary:
The final match was contested by Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, both of who were toppers of the points table and performed extraordinarily well during the playoffs and qualifiers. Quetta won the toss and elected to field first. Peshawar managed to score 148 runs in their innings. Peshawar was seemingly off to a good start with Dawid Malan and Kamran Akmal, who was sent as openers to the field. Kamran Akmal scored 40 runs off 32 balls but was soon dismissed by Quetta’s Hasan Khan. The dismissal of Kamran Akmal led to a fall of wickets. While Quetta’s Rayad Emrit took two tickets in the 17th over. Peshawar Zalmi’s captain proved to be a true hero by scoring 33 runs in the last two overs for a respectable total of 148. While the total was very manageable, Mohammad Asghar from Peshawar Zalmi was able to bag three wickets in 4 overs, with just 16 runs. Aghar’s wickets were a game-changer, and Peshawar managed to restrict Quetta to 90 runs and dismissed all 10 players by the mid of the 16th over. Peshawar Zalmi Ultimately won by 58 runs and was the new proclaimed champions of the PSL 2017. Darren Sammy won the match of the match award for the final. Perhaps the absence of some of Quetta’s overseas players resulted in their unfortunate defeat.
Man of the tournament (Hanif Mohammad Award): Kamran Akmal of Peshawar Zalmi.
Best wicketkeeper (Imtiaz Ahmed award): Kamran Akmal of Peshawar Zalmi.
Best Batsmen of the tournament: Kamran Akmal of Peshawar Zalmi.
Leading Wicket Taker: Sohail Khan of Karachi Kings, again just behind Wahab Riaz, who was the runner up wicket-taker in PSL 2016.
Spirit of Cricket Award: Quetta Gladiators
The second season of Pakistan Super League was commendable. Not only did Pakistan Super League flourish from the previous season, but it also managed to bring about a significant change, and that was bringing international cricket back home.