Islamabad wins PSL with Karachi back on cricket map

The Pakistan Super League (PSL) final - in which Islamabad United beat title holders Peshawar Zalmi by three wickets - is seen as a major step towards reviving worldwide cricket in the country, suspended since that 2009 attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore. It happened with Quetta Gladiators, who finished as runners-up twice in the competition, first to Islamabad United and then to Peshawar Zalmi.

Akmal, who had been behind Peshawar's last few wins with his batting, had a lot riding on him for the final match.

Chris Jordan topscored with 36 while Andre Fletcher scored 33 and Wahab Riaz made 28 not out.

After the completion of two successful semi-final contests in Lahore, the hope is everything goes smoothly in Karachi as cricket once again takes centre stage in a nation which has been virtually starved of cricket in its own backyard since the 2009 terror attacks on the touring Sri Lankan team bus.

The five main roads leading to the stadium became a no-go zone for anyone without a ticket eight hours before the final began at 8 p.m. local time.

PCB chairman Najam Sethi said more cricket will follow. Lahore first hosted the PSL final previous year as well as three global Twenty20 matches against a World XI and one against Sri Lanka.

Former Pakistan worldwide star Saqlain, the spin-bowling consultant of Peshawar Zalmi, believes that it is one of the best leagues in the world and this is the best thing that happened to Pakistan cricket in recent times.

During his visit to Khaleej Times on March 14, Sammy said: "I feel proud if I can play any role to help Pakistan bring back worldwide cricket".

Karachi will also host three Twenty20 internationals between Pakistan and the West Indies in early April, the first home series involving a Test-level team since 2009.

Spectators endured long queues and navigated stringent security checkpoints to witness a high-profile cricket match in this southern port city, hosting a game of such stature for the first time in nine years. "In fact, this is hurting Pakistan as it is sending a negative signal and affects our country's image as well".

"They've got a good depth of talent coming through, they should be happy with where they are at the moment".

As at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore past year, the security operation for the final in Karachi has been substantial.

Billboards and player cut-outs have been displayed on the sides of main streets to celebrate an international-standard game for the first time in almost a decade.

  • Rogelio Becker