Finally, the most anticipated domestic cricket tournament of the year, the HBL Pakistan Super League 2023 (aka PSL 8 2023) kicks off today, 13 February 2023, with Multan Sultans, the winners of the PSL 6, going up against the defending champions, Lahore Qalandars at the Multan Cricket Stadium.
Multan, Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi will also host the matches of the eighth edition of the HBL Pakistan Super League (PSL 8), which promises to be as exciting as the last seven.
Karachi’s National Bank Cricket Arena will play host to the second match of the tournament when the hosts, Karachi Kings, lock horns with Peshawar Zalmi. This match and the tournament opener will begin at 2000 with the toss at 1930.
Quetta Gladiators begin their campaign in Multan on 15 February and Islamabad United play their first match of the season on 16 February in Karachi.
Action will move to northern half of the country from 26 February with Lahore and Rawalpindi hosting the latter part of the tournament. Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan’s home of cricket, will host the four playoffs and the final, besides five league stage games and Rawalpindi will stage 11 matches.
The winner of the 19 March final at the Gaddafi Stadium will not only lift the Supernova Trophy but will also collect a cheque of PKR 120 million, while the runners-up will receive a cheque of PKR 48 million.
The HBL PSL impact
The HBL PSL was conceived with the idea of providing platform to the young and emerging cricketers who can have a flavour of international cricket – by playing high quality cricket under pressure environment –before graduating to the apex level.
The league continues to deliver on that front as many players who shone in the HBL PSL went on to play international cricket. In a few years after the introduction of the league, Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy and emerged as one of the most successful and consistent T20 sides.
It also paved way for the successful return of the international cricket in the country. The first-ever HBL PSL match in Pakistan – the final of the 2017 edition in Lahore – brought World XI for a three-match T20I series before Sri Lanka played a solitary T20I in Lahore.
The 2018 edition reopened the doors of international cricket for Karachi as the final between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi, after the two playoffs in Lahore, was followed by the West Indies’ tour of the city for three T2oIs.
The 2019 edition, when Karachi hosted eight matches, further boosted the confidence of international sides, and the 2020 edition, the first time Pakistan hosted the tournament in its entirety, established Pakistan’s credentials as a destination that could host complete international tours.
A Look at The Winners
All six franchises have won the HBL PSL title at least once, which underscores the quality of all six sides and the higher level of competition in the tournament.
Islamabad United, the inaugural champions, are the only side to win the HBL PSL title twice (the second time in 2018). Peshawar Zalmi won the 2017 edition. Quetta Gladiators, who were the finalists in the first two editions, won the 2019 competition.
Karachi Kings were the first side to win to lift the trophy at their home when they rolled over Lahore Qalandars in Karachi in 2020. Multan Sultans bagged their maiden title in 2021. Last year, Lahore Qalandars lifted the HBL PSL trophy in Lahore.
Before the HBL PSL 8 action kicks off, the Pakistan Cricket Board, in a continuation of its tradition, has lined up a glittering opening ceremony.
The cricket fans in Multan and all around the world will see spectacular performances by different artists and one of the major attractions would be the performances of the singers of the HBL PSL 8 anthem – Abdullah Siddiqui, Asim Azhar, Faris Shafi and Shae Gill.
Read more: PCB Announces Official 2023 HBL PSL 8 Schedule.
The fans will also be treated to performances by the renowned music composer Sahir Ali Bhagga and talented singer Aima Baig as the two add to the star-studded line-up, which will make the opening ceremony an unforgettable experience.
Read more: PSL 8 Official Anthem ‘Sab Sitaray Humaray’ Released.
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