Peshawar Zalmi take on last season runners-up Quetta Gladiators in the final of the ongoing second edition of Pakistan Super League at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore amid tight security arrangements on 5 March.
While the PSL organisers had revealed even before the start of the season that the final would be held in Lahore, two bomb blasts reportedly killing almost 90 people in February had created uncertainty over Gaddafi hosting the final. However, even as some of the big names from Quetta deciding not to travel to Pakistan, the two teams will head to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital on Sunday to feature in the title match.
However, even as some of the big names from Quetta deciding not to travel to Pakistan, the two teams will head to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa capital on Sunday to feature in the title match.
While Quetta edged past Peshawar in the first qualifying final by one run to book a slot in the final, Darren Sammy's men defeated defending champions Islamabad United in the third qualifying final on Friday to make their way to Lahore. However, the table-toppers will begin as favourites on the big night with four of their key foreign players - Sammy, David Malan, Marlon Samuels and Chris Jordan reportedly being available.
Quetta will have to battle without the likes of Kevin Pietersen, Rilee Rossouw, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Nathan McCullum but they have secured replacements in South Africa's Morne van Wyk, Zimbabwe's Elton Chigumbura and Sean Ervine, West Indies' Rayad Emrit and Bangladesh's Anamul Haque.
While the focus has been on foreign players' availability, Peshawar will miss their star player Shahid Afridi, who has been ruled out due to injury. However, they will bank on opener Kamran Akmal to deliver the goods as he is heading into the match after a match-winning ton against Karachi Kings on Friday. Also, they have in-form local bowlers Wahab Riaz and Hasan Ali to lead the show on Sunday.
On the other hand, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq and skipper Sarfraz have to play a huge role if Quetta are to stand a chance of making amends for their final loss last season. Nonetheless, cricket fans, especially those in Pakistan, will be happy to see top-quality international action in Lahore and hope it inspires international teams to tour the Asian country.
Pakistan: Ten Sports, PTV, Geo Super
Sri Lanka: Ten Sports, CSN
UK: Prime TV
West Indies: Flow TV
Bangladesh: Gazi TV
UAE: OSN Sports
Possible XI: Malan, K Akmal (wk), Hafeez, Samuels, Maqsood, Jordan, Sammy (c), Iftikhar, Riaz, Ali, Junaid
Possible XI: Shafiq, Shehzad, Van Wyk, Ervine, Chigumbura, Sarfraz (c & wk), Emrit, Ali, Nawaz, Hasan, Mir