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.


Liverpool return to top of the table with 3-1 win over arch-rivals Manchester United

Updated 16 December 2018
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Liverpool return to top of the table with 3-1 win over arch-rivals Manchester United

  • Shaqiri braces gives Reds deserved win over United at Anfield.
  • Mourinho's men well beaten as Liverpool leapfrog Manchester City ti return to top of the table.

LIVERPOOL: Two deflected Xherdan Shaqiri strikes handed Liverpool victory over Manchester United in the Premier League for the first time in nine attempts as Jurgen Klopp’s men moved back to the top of the table with a 3-1 win at Anfield on Sunday.
United manager Jose Mourinho claimed ahead of the game that the league leaders have had luck on their side this season, but while there was fortune in substitute Shaqiri’s two goals in the final 17 minutes, the visitors did not deserve anything more than a fifth defeat of the season.
Liverpool leapfrogged Manchester City to finish the weekend where they started, a point clear at the top, and move a mammoth 19 clear of United, who remain in sixth and are now 11 points off the top four.
The contrasting form showed by both sides this season continued as United strained to keep a rampant Liverpool at bay and were only level for so long thanks to a huge error by home goalkeeper Alisson Becker.
Sadio Mane had given Liverpool the lead before Jesse Lingard levelled when Alisson dropped a routine cross at the feet of the England international.
United had the ball in the net first on a rare foray forward but Romelu Lukaku was flagged offside despite not getting a touch to Ashley Young’s free-kick.
But Liverpool then laid siege to the visitors’ goal with David de Gea stretching to keep out a low drive from Roberto Firmino, Young clearing off the line and Fabinho firing wide from the edge of the box.
Only Manchester City have kept Klopp’s side from scoring in the Premier League this season and a United defense that has kept just one clean sheet in the league since September never looked capable of holding out like they had in their two previous visits to Anfield.
Mourinho’s men were finally breached when Mane controlled Fabinho’s chipped ball into the box on his chest and volleyed past the onrushing De Gea.
However, Liverpool’s momentum was punctured by an Alisson gift 12 minutes before the break.
The Brazilian was Liverpool’s hero with an injury-time save to secure the Reds’ place in the last 16 of the Champions League against Napoli on Tuesday.
But he spilled Lukaku’s simple cross into the path of the grateful Lingard to bundle the ball into an unguarded net.
The second half followed a similar pattern with one-way traffic toward the Kop as Liverpool sought the goal to take them back to the top of the table.
De Gea scrambled low to his left to palm Firmino’s prodded effort to safety, while Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk saw efforts deflected behind.
Jurgen Klopp turned to Shaqiri to unlock the United defense 20 minutes from time and the Swiss international needed just three to put Liverpool back in front.
De Gea did well to prevent Ander Herrera turning Mane’s cross into his own net, but the ball fell for Shaqiri and his effort cannoned off Young and in off the underside of the bar.
Seven minutes later, Shaqiri got lucky again when, this time on his favored left foot, his shot flicked off the diving Eric Bailly to leave De Gea helpless.