Fans love HBL PSL as AB and Qalandars fire

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Fans are loving and enjoying the HBL PSL as the first Friday in Sharjah saw a capacity crowd of more than 16,000 with fireworks on the field by master blaster AB de Villiers and his former South African team-mate David Wiese, and supporters off it.

The electrifying atmosphere reached pitch-high as Lahore Qalandars, chasing a daunting 201-run target, needed 70 off the last five overs.

One of very few batsmen in the world who could have achieved that target was on the crease. But Wiese matched his more illustrious partner shot for shot, as he smashed a six off long-off to seal victory off the last delivery.

This became the joint-second highest run-chase in all HBL PSL matches. Quetta Gladiators hold the record for the highest chase of 202 they achieved in 2016 – ironically against Lahore.

Quetta also hold the second best chase record of 201, also against Lahore in 2017.

The last-ball six ghost of Sharjah was alive again. Some 33 years ago, Pakistan great Javed Miandad set the trend of hitting a last-ball six – also a match-winning shot – against India in a 50-over game.

Since then, Sharjah had become a venue where people enjoyed Pakistan-India matches until 2003. The ground has hosted the most ODIs in the history of the game with 236.

But times have changed as has cricket with the advent of Twenty20.

People now throng stadia around the world to see the shortest and the most vibrant format.

“We were given a lifetime entertainment by Lahore and AB,” said Nauman Alvi, a student who has come all the way from Lahore to watch the HBL PSL. “With AB hitting it out, I think PSL has really spiced up.

“I think PCB has done a great job in starting the PSL. I have already booked tickets for the games in Lahore and want to see AB playing at our team’s home ground.”

Chacha Twenty20 Zaman Khan was in Pakistani green Kurta, donning a white pagdi (turban) as he danced to the tune of “Qalandar, Lal Qalandar”, the famous Lahore Qalandars’ anthem of the first season in 2016.

“It’s PSL at its best,” said Zaman, who works in the UAE as a driver. “I am Chacha T20 so my presence is mandatory in the PSL and I leave nothing to chance and come regularly.

“Today’s atmosphere was electrifying and have never seen such a noisy and enjoyable crowd in UAE before.”

For someone like Mohammad Huzaifa, a local businessman of Sharjah, PSL is an entertainment.

“I knew nothing about cricket until 2008, but when Pakistan cricket was moved to the UAE, I got enamored by the game. Thanks to the wonderful arrangements, I have enjoyed the matches in Dubai and Sharjah, and now I know more about cricket.”

HBL PSL marches on and promises more and more thrilling encounters in the coming days, more fireworks by world’s very best.

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