Season two of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) kicked off today with the opening ceremony being held at Dubai International Stadium.
The opening ceremony started with the national anthems of Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and hit high notes with upbeat performances by Jamaican singing sensation Shaggy and Pakistani singers Shahzad Roy and Ali Zafar.
An impressive fireworks display concluded the event, and participants of the ceremony cleared the field to make way for the first match between Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United.
Organisers had billed it to be an entertaining event, with celebrity appearances and a fireworks display.
At the opening, stadium floodlights were switched off, while LED lights of different hues were being used for a lights display in addition to live performance by musicians. Drummers suspended from the top put on quite a show.
Celebrity and TV show host Fahad Mustafa charged up the crowd with chants of “This league belongs to the whole of Pakistan”.
Songs in the four provincial languages were played, as dancers in traditional wear took center stage.
Pakistan’s alternative anthem by Junaid Jamshed, Dil Dil Pakistan was played with the crowd singing along. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s patriotic song Pakistan Pakistan was also played.
PCB Chairman Shaheryar Khan thanked Sheikh al Nahyan, UAE president, for hosting the event.
He talked about the final in Lahore. “The success of PSL will open the gates for others to start coming into Pakistan.” He added that the match in Lahore is significant as it will show that Pakistan has “normalised” it terms of security
The PSL teams, Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalanders and Islamabad United walked out flanked by their respective captains. Actor Fawad Khan was also spotted in the crowd.
UAE culture minister Sheikh Mubarak bin Zayed al Nahyan addressed cheerings fans in the stadium:
“Pakistan Super League is a testimony of the strong bond between the countries.” He also wished the best to the teams and PSL.
Chairman PSL Najam Sethi said, “The difference between the last edition and this edition is that now we have bigger stars. The pitches are designed in a way that there will be big runs. If someone in the crowd catches a sixer, they will win Rs1 crore.” He also vowed to bring cricket back to Pakistan.