The second edition of the Pakistan Super League kicked off at Dubai International Stadium on Thursday (February 9) night with an impressive and glittering opening ceremony exhibiting colours of all four provinces of the host country and entertaining music led by Shaggy, the Jamaican reggae star.
The opening ceremony started with the whole stadium in darkness even as spectators displayed the LED lights on their armbands. The national anthems of the United Arab Emirates, the host country and Pakistan were played out as crowd built up with every minute.
The highlight was flying drummers descending to the ground to much applause of the crowd.
Performers danced to the tune of their province’s popular songs before the famous national song “Dil DilL, Pakistan”, sung by Junaid Jamshed, was played. Jamshed died in an unfortunate plane crash last year.
Shaharyar Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, said during his welcome address that the PCB was ready to deliver a bigger and more successful PSL than the inaugural edition last year.
“We welcome you all to the PSL. This year, it will be a bigger and more successful event,” he promised. “The success of the PSL will open the gates for others to start coming into Pakistan.”
He added that the final in Lahore was significant as it would show that Pakistan had “normalised” in terms of security, which the world would see on March 5.
His speech was followed by a march past of the five teams with Islamabad United, the defending champions, leading the way.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE’s minister for culture, youth and social, also welcomed the audience while Najam Sethi, the PSL chairman, declared the event open.
A laser show and fireworks followed, which enthralled the crowd, before Shaggy and Ali Zafar and Shahzad Roy, the well-known Pakistani singers, performed.
Shaggy said he was ecstatic to perform in a cricket event for the first time. “It’s great to be here,” said the Jamaican star. “I have a long association with Chris Gayle while Courtney Walsh (the former West Indian fast bowler) was my neighbour in Kingston.”
Islamabad will begin the defence of their title when they take on Peshawar Zalmi later on Thursday night.