Strong security as fans start arriving for PSL final

Pakistan Super League (PSL) finalists Peshawar Zalmi will miss the services of flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, who on Saturday ruled himself out with a finger injury for Sunday's final against Quetta Gladiators at the Gaddafi Stadium here.

With Lahore having hosted an incident-free Pakistan Super League final, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be optimistic that global cricket could return to the country soon.

Zimbabwe's Sean Ervine, drafted in for the final, top-scored with 24 while captain Sarfraz Ahmed chipped in with 22, but they were just two of three players in double figures.

Kamran Akmal (40) continued his form from the previous game and smashed four boundaries in the first over while Dawid Malan (17) too joined the onslaught as Peshawar Zalmi raced to 42 runs off 27 deliveries.

And for Quetta Gladiators Emrit grabbed three wickets. What was to be an intensely competitive final battle turned into a one-sided game, as the Gladiators buckled under the pressure of a 149-run target set by Zalmi.

Kamran Akmal was awarded "Man of the Tournament", along with prizes for "best wicket-keeping" and "batting". Pakistan had to prove that they can provide fool proof security to worldwide stars and are ready to host global series in the country. Mohammad Nawaz conceded just 15 runs off his four overs, taking one wicket, the Pakistan daily concluded. One of the sixes landed up in the third tier of the stand, with Sammy brushing his bicep and bat nonchalantly as if to say "that was easy".

Lahore burst into life on Sunday as cricket fans took over the metropolis gunning for their favourite teams and shunning fears of terrorism that has kept away worldwide cricket for eight years now.

Pakistan Cricket Board has extended invitations to the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, all Governors, Chief Ministers and former legend cricketers to watch the match. After years of being left languishing in the dark, cricket in Pakistan was back in the limelight with the Gaddafi Stadium shimmering under the Lahore night sky. With a number of foreign players of Quetta Gladiators including Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Roussow, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Nathan McCullum deciding not to travel to Pakistan for the PSL final due to security reasons, they were forced to make some major changes in the lineup.

Khan called the decision "madness" and said the heavy security will send the wrong signal to the world.

At the toss, Sammy simply hoped for a good game of cricket.

  • Julie Sanders