PSL excitement: Lahore ready to welcome international cricketers again

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The PSL matches are shifted to Pakistan. The city of Lahore is hosting two ‘elimination’ matches that a would be played at Qaddafi Stadium. (AN photo)
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A cricket fan buying a T-Shirt having logo of his favorite team from a make shift stall at a Lahore road. (AN photo)
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Proud ‘successful’ buyers showing their tickets bought to watch PSL match. (AN photo)
Updated 19 March 2018
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PSL excitement: Lahore ready to welcome international cricketers again

LAHORE: Punjab’s provincial capital will welcome international cricket players arriving here on Monday to play Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches.
According to the tournament schedule, two “eliminators” will be played in Lahore before the final showdown takes place in Karachi on March 25.
Pakistani players in Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi arrived in the city on Sunday while the remaining cricketers get here on Monday.
According to Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), the commencement of matches in Lahore and Karachi is a positive sign as it will help bring back international cricket to the country.
“We are gradually moving forward,” PCB’s media manager, Raza Rashid, told Arab News. “Last year, we could only organize one match in Pakistan. However, three matches will be played here this year. This is a good sign for cricket in the country.”
People are also quite excited about the play-offs in Lahore. Many of them are anxious to welcome international players to their hometown.
“This is a delightful opportunity for the people of Pakistan to welcome some of the leading stars of international cricket. Even a small stride toward bringing cricket back to this country is extremely important,” Syed Sarim Raza, an IT expert, told Arab News.
Unlike in previous years, more international cricket players have consented to play in Pakistan this year. These include some of the leading cricketers, such as Luke Ronchi, Samit Patel, JP Duminy, Tymal Mills, Lendl Simmons and Ravi Bopara.
While Ahmad Kaleem, a resident of Lahore, is happy about the development, he wants to see these international cricketers moving in an open lorry, receiving greetings, listening to the cheerful voices of the youth, and waving back at them in return.
“I wish to see the international players moving freely on the streets of Lahore, as I saw many football players in Cardiff in Wales,” he said.
Despite such excitement in the city, young students are not happy with the PCB as they say the tickets for the two matches are quite expensive. Many of them said they wished the tickets were a little cheaper so they could have visited the stadium with their classmates.
“Pakistan is known for its hospitality and we will be welcoming all the foreign players with contagious warmth. Everything seems perfect, though PCB’s ticket issuance policy could have been better. Tickets should have been less costly and at least one or two enclosures should have had free entry for students,” Hira Rajput, a Punjab University student, said.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies have made foolproof security arrangements for the matches. The authorities have decided to deploy 18,000 police personnel for the security of the stadium and adjacent areas.
The city’s entry and exit points have also been well guarded, and additional Rangers and Army personnel are also on call if required.
“The police have made necessary arrangements to secure the matches and international players,” Deputy Inspector General Operations, Haider Ashraf, told Arab News.


Centuries from Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan enough for India to crush Pakistan

Updated 40 min 58 sec ago
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Centuries from Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan enough for India to crush Pakistan

DUBAI: Openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan hit punishing centuries to steer an imperious India to a nine wicket win over a listless Pakistan in the Asia Cup match in Dubai on Sunday.
Sharma notched 119-ball 111 not out for his 19th one-day hundred while Dhawan made a 100-ball 114 for his eighth century as the pair put on 210 for the opening stand — second best in all India-Pakistan one-day internationals.
That super effort from the openers saw India overhaul the target with 10.3 overs to spare.
The Super four win is the second for India over arch-rivals following their easy eighth wicket win in the first round.
The win is India’s highest against Pakistan in terms of wickets, improving on the eight wicket win over Pakistan in Melbourne in 1985.
Pakistan were steered to 237-7 by Shoaib Malik who made 90-ball 78 after winning the toss and batting but it proved too little for the strong Indian batting line.
Pakistan could have got Sharma out in the sixth over but Imam-ul-Haq dropped an easy catch off a luckless Shaheen Shah, giving the colorful Indian power to smash seven boundaries and four sixes.
Sharma, who scored back to back fifties in the last two games, also became the ninth Indian batsmen to complete 7,000 one-day runs in his 187th match when he reached 94, soon after he was dropped on 81 by Fakhar Zaman off Shadab Khan.
Dhawan matches his skipper shot for shot, firing 100-ball 114 with 16 boundaries and two sixes as Pakistani bowlers had no clue to the rasping and flowing strokes of the Indian openers.
Pakistan’s pace spearhead Mohammad Amir, brought back in one of two changes after dropped for the Afghanistan match, went wicketless for a fifth match in a row, leaving the much vaunted Pakistan bowling biteless.
Even when Dhawan got out in the 34th over with 38 needed it was through a run out.
The best opening stand in Indo-Pak one-day internationals was 224 Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed at Dhaka in 2012.
Earlier, Malik scored a 90-ball 78 with four boundaries and two sixes, but India kept a tight check on Pakistan’s progress.
Pakistan lost Imam (ten), Zaman (31) and Babar Azam (run out for nine) in an unimpressive start to their innings before Malik and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed added 107 for the fourth wicket.
Sarfraz scored a slow 66-ball 44 with only two boundaries before he became one of two Kuldeep Yadav’s wicket who finished with 2-41.
Pakistan’s final over score depended on Malik who crucially fell in the 44th over, caught behind off a leg-side edge off Jasprit Bumrah.
Asif Ali smashed two sixes in his 21-ball 30 before he was bowled by leg-spinner Yuzvndra Chahal who took 2-38 in his nine overs.
Bumran finished with 2-29 in his ten overs.