PSL enters final stage as international cricketers arrive in Lahore

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(AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
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(AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
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(AN photo by Malik Shafiq)
Updated 20 March 2018
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PSL enters final stage as international cricketers arrive in Lahore

LAHORE: Most of the foreign cricket players participating in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and linked with three teams – Quetta Gladiators, Peshawar Zalmi, and Karachi Kings — arrived in Lahore on Tuesday.
As the PSL enters its final stage, cricket fever is running high across Pakistan.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is satisfied with the number of foreign players in Lahore and said it was a “good instrumental move” for the revival of international cricket in the country.
“The arrival of this big number of foreign cricketers will encourage the international teams to visit Pakistan. We will try to hold all PSL matches in our country next year,” PCB Media Director Amjad Bhatti told Arab News.
Peshawar Zalmi is missing its foreign player Dwayne Smith, while other international stars Darren Sammy, Liam Dawson, Evin Lewis, Andre Fletcher, Tamim Iqbal and Chris Jordan reached Lahore in the small hours of Tuesday.
Karachi Kings teammates Ravi Bopara, Tymal Mills, Joe Denly, David Wiese, Lendl Simmons and Colin Ingram were also on the same flight.
Quetta Gladiators, however, are missing one of their big players, Kevin Pietersen.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to leave Dubai and go back to London,” Pietersen in a video message. “It is a family decision and I hope you will respect it.”
Other Quetta Gladiators players Rilee Rossouw, Chris Green, Mahmudullah and Thisara Perera, however, reached Pakistan to represent the team in a semifinal.
The people of Lahore are disappointed about the absence of a few star players from the tournament.
“As a passionate cricket fan, I feel bad that we won’t see Kevin Pietersen and Shane Watson in action on Pakistani soil, ” said Hamayion Zafar. “Most of my friends are KP’s fans. We had just bought tickets to watch him play in Lahore.”
Since Tuesday morning the weather in Lahore has been cloudy and the Met Office has said intermittent light showers will continue throughout the day, even at the time scheduled for play, but the traditional “braveheart” Lahorites are not deterred by that.
“The rain cannot stop us,” an excited Raghoo Bajwa told Arab News
The City District has hung banners to welcome international cricketers on roads around the city, especially Mall Road, Canal Bank, Gulberg and Ferozepur Roads.
Lahore will host the two PSL playoffs and the final will be in Karachi on March 25.
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Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool passion rather than problems against Roma

Updated 3 min 9 sec ago
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Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool passion rather than problems against Roma

  • Manchester City’s team bus smashed by thrown cans and bottles ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal at Anfield.
  • Klopp keen to see Reds fans respect Roma side for semifinal showdown.

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned the club’s fans not to repeat the scenes that saw windows of Manchester City’s team bus smashed by thrown cans and bottles ahead of their Champions League semifinal, first leg against Roma at Anfield on Tuesday.
City became just the latest victims of a famous European night at Anfield on the pitch three weeks ago as Liverpool raced into a 3-0 first leg lead that laid the foundations for their 5-1 aggregate victory over the English champions in the quarterfinals.
However, Klopp wants to retain the passion inside the stadium without the ugly scenes outside which are the subject of a UEFA investigation.
“In the stadium do it again and better. Outside the stadium, please show the respect we have to show,” Klopp said.
“This is such an outstanding football club, an outstanding football family, known for fantastic atmospheres all over the world, so we don’t need to throw whatever at the bus of the opposing team.
The Italians will be greeted by at least one familiar face in Mohamed Salah, but it is the Egyptian who poses the biggest threat to their dream of returning to the final for the first time since they lost to Liverpool on home soil in 1984.
Salah made the move from the Italian capital to Anfield just 10 months ago, and has surpassed all expectations since with an incredible 41 goals in 46 Liverpool appearances to already net more times than he did in two years for Roma.
The 25-year-old was rewarded for his brilliant campaign by winning the Premier League’s Players’ Player of the Year award on Sunday evening, beating off stiff competition from Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne to the prize.
“I’m really happy for him, really proud of that, it is a fantastic achievement. I think if all the other players vote for you it means most to all players,” added Klopp.
“In a season like this, when Kevin de Bruyne played a season like he did, it made it even more special.”
Despite their rich heritage in the competition as five-time winners, Liverpool have not been in the last four of the Champions League for a decade.
And captain Jordan Henderson believes this season’s run to the semis can be the start of something special under Klopp.
“Hopefully this is the start of something special with this squad,” said the England international.
“The manager has been brilliant since he has come to the club. We’ve improved every season and done brilliant this season to get this stage.”
However, even Klopp’s men’s 5-1 thrashing of Premier League champions Manchester City over two legs in the last eight was upstaged by Roma coming from 4-1 down in the first leg of their quarterfinal with Barcelona to progress on away goals thanks to a famous 3-0 second-leg win.
Klopp admitted he thought it was a joke when he was first informed of Roma’s result against Barca, but insists both sides should believe they can be European champions despite the presence of powerhouses Bayern Munich and 12-time winners Real Madrid in the other semifinal.
“I do understand many people would have thought this semifinal would be City v Barcelona, but it’s not, because it is football and Roma made it possible, as we did too,” added the German.
“If anyone thinks we two are the underdogs, who cares? We are in the semifinal and can go to the final.”