LAHORE: Once a distant dream, now a delightful reality – the day is finally here when Lahore is set to host the much-anticipated Pakistan Super League (PSL) final featuring a pack of well-known foreign players.
The finalists of the event – Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi – will vie for the coveted trophy at Gaddafi Stadium today amid fanfare and excitement in the build-up for the grand finale.
Foreign players Darren Sammy, Chris Jordan, Marlon Samuels and Dawid Malan representing Peshawar Zalmi, while Anamul Haque, Zimbabwe’s duo of talented all-rounder Sean Ervine and hard hitting Elton Chigumbura, South Africa’s Morne Van Wyk and West Indian pacer Rayad Emrit of the Quetta Gladitaors have made it to Lahore to take part in the big game.
The match starts at 8pm (Pakistan time).
Much to dismay of fans, Shahid Afridi, who is the part of Peshawar Zalmi, will miss the final due to injury in his hand. Afridi hurt his right hand when he was fielding during the second innings of Friday’s knockout match against Karachi Kings. He received 12 stitches on his hand after the injury.
Public response to PSL final is how Pakistanis defy adversity AH.Terror will not dictate our way of life..Let the msg be heard loud & clear
— Khawaja M. Asif (@KhawajaMAsif) March 4, 2017
‘Free tickets for the special children’
PSL chief Najam Sethi has announced the special children or students will get free tickets of the PSL final. He said 500 special children and 1000 such students would be given free tickets.
The authorities also reminded fans to carry their identity cards to enter the stadium. People with no NICs will not be allowed to watch the game, said the PSL management.
The Gladiators had qualified for the final after handing a nerve-racking defeat to Zalmi during the first playoff of the PSL’s knockout stage. In that match, the Gladiators squad had England’s Luke Wright, Kevin Peterson and Tymal Mills. But after they qualified for the final, the trio pulled out of the tournament saying they won’t be able to come to Lahore for ‘security reasons’.
In the first PSL season, Gladiators had lost to Islamabad United captained by Misbahul Haq.
The authorities have put in place unprecedented security arrangements for the big game containing a five-layer security to the two teams which will feature four foreign cricketers.
A temporary 25-bed hospital has also been set up at the National Hockey Stadium, adjacent to Gaddafi Stadium, to meet any medical emergency. It will be working 24 hours.
As many as 10,000 security personnel will guard the stadium, while Pakistan Army helicopters will hover around the ground to keep aerial surveillance of the surrounding.
The Pakistan Cricket Board will provide own bullet proof buses to carry the teams from their hotels to the stadium and back. The PSL final will likely have the President of Pakistan, the Prime Minister and the Army chief – in attendance to watch the game at Gaddafi Stadium.
Chief Minister Punjab Mian Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday also paid a visit to the stadium and reviewed security arrangements.
“People will be provided with all sorts of facilities in the stadium. Free shuttle service will take cricket fans from parking area to stadium. Cricket fans will not face any inconvenience after the match.”
Earlier, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had also assured of full-proof security to the venue and visiting players, and vowed to foil any plot aimed at the disrupting the sporting event.
A huge crowd is expected to throng the stadium, and it is learnt the administration will close the entrance gate by 6pm – couple of hours before the match kicks off.
PESHAWAR ZALMI: Kamran Akmal (wk), Marlon Samuels, M Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Darren Sammy (capt), Shahid Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Hasan Ali, M Asghar, Andre Fletcher, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imran Khan Jr, Chris Jordan, Junaid Khan, Khushdil Shah, Samit Patel and Dawid Malan.
QUETTA GLADIATORS: Asad Shafiq, Ahmed Shehzad, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Thisara Perera, M Nawaz, Anwar Ali, Hasan Khan, Aizaz Cheema, Bismillah Khan, Mir Hamza, Noor Wali, Saad Nasim, Umar Amin, Zulfiqar Babar, Anamul Haq, Sean Ervine, Morne Van Wyk, Elton Chigumbura and Rayad Emrit.
Traffic plan for PSL final