Pakistan Super League 2019 formally known as PSL4 held the audiences captivated for more than a month as the cricket fans not only watched matches on their TV sets but more than 10 million fans also watched matches online. This shows the popularity of game among Pakistani fans as well as indicates immense talent among our youth. The PSL 2019 featured 34 T20 matches among six franchises; took place from February 14-March 17 2019 at crowded stadiums of Dubai, Sharjah, Abdu Dhabi and Karachi. The first 26 matches of the HBL PSL season four were played in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, while the last eight matches were held in Karachi. Both the opening and closing ceremonies of the event were extremely simple but impressive.
All the matches were well contested and competitive spirit of players fascinated the fans; however, in the final played at match National Stadium of Karachi Quetta Gladiators won the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2019 after clinching an eight-wicket win over Peshawar Zalmi. The Gladiators won the toss and chose to field in the final.
Zalmi openers Imam-ul-Haq and Kamran Akmal did not live up to their expectations and both were dismissed early without contibuting any significant number of runs. Only Umar Amin provided some resistance to the Quetta Gladiators as he scored 38 runs off 33 balls with the help of three boundaries and two sixes. Mohammad Hasnain finished with figures of 3-30 in four overs and was given man of the match award. The former champions finished at 138-8 in their 20 overs.
In chase of 139-run target, Shane Watson fell early as he was run out for just seven runs. Ahmed Shehzad and Ahsan Ali took the attack to the Zalmi bowlers with their 47-run partnership on the second wicket. After Ahsan went back to the pavilion after scoring 25, Ahmed Shehzad and Rilee Rossouw made sure that their side completes the run chase without further wobbles. They scored an unbeaten 73-run partnership on the third wicket. Shehzad top-scorer with 58 off 51 deliveries included six 4s and a maximum.
On March 17, curtains fell on the HBL Pakistan Super League 2019 during a simple but impressive and star-studded closing ceremony that was attended by Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, and Chairman PCB Ehsan Mani. The ceremony was kept at a low note as spectators, players and officials observed a one-minute silence for all those who lost their lives in the heinous attacks on the mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand.
The city of lights, as Karachi is fondly called, reverberated with songs and chants from the spectators during the week-long spectacle, declared as “the week of cricket festival” by the Sindh government. The theme of these matches was I love cricket. The closing ceremony had light music with famous singer Abrar-ul-Haq, Junoon, Fawad Khan featuring Young Desi, Aima Baig and Shuja Haider and Sahir Ali Bagga performing.
Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani welcomed the packed 32,000 crowd. We are ready for the final, said Mani. Around 250,000 people have watched the matches in the stadium in the last week and millions on television. One should remember that its cricket which brings happiness. We thank the government of Pakistan, our armed forces and government of Sindh for helping us stage these matches.
AB de Villiers to lead Team of HBL PSL 2019
AB de Villiers of Lahore Qalandars was named as captain of Team of HBL PSL 2019, which was selected by an independent panel comprising Mudassar Nazar, Ramiz Raja and Danny Morrison, who have collectively played 181 Tests and 416 ODIs. De Villiers displayed his talent and prowess in seven matches, in which he aggregated 218 runs at a stunning average of 54.5 with an incredible strike-rate of 129.
De Villiers has been named captain of the side, which, as per the event regulations, includes four foreign players in the playing line-up, and comprises the best performers of the HBL PSL 2019 keeping in mind a winning combination that was capable of defeating any franchise side in any given conditions.
Mudassar Nazar, who led the selection panel, said“It has been a gigantic task to select a team comprising 12 players from a world-class event that produced a high number of quality individual performances.
“We as the panel members decided to select players who can form a combination that was capable of defeating any franchise side in the world in any given conditions. I don’t think anyone will disagree that this is the best winning combination from the large pool of top performing players.”
Apart from de Villiers, the line-up includes four players from Peshawar Zalmi (Kamran Akmal, Kieron Pollard, Hasan Ali and Wahab Riaz), three players from Karachi Kings (Babar Azam, Colin Ingram and Umer Khan), two players from Islamabad United (Asif Ali and Faheem Ashraf) and a player from Quetta Gladiators (Shane Watson). De Villiers’ Qalandars’ team-mate Sandeep Lamichhane has been chosen as the 12th player.
More than 10 million people have seen PSL 4 matches online
PSL 4 matches watched live-streamed on YouTube on the new official Cricket Gateway PK channel which makes it easier for the fans to stay updated with the fall of every wicket. It’s barely a week into the tournament and it is already setting new live stream records. After just five matches, live streaming has garnered more than 10 million views across all platforms. Karachi Kings vs Lahore Qalandars match alone had 1.48 million views. At one point of the match, the concurrent viewers on YouTube over 200,000.
All this engaged viewership represents a great opportunity for brands to share relevant messages.
“With millions of cricket fans tuning in on their mobile devices and Smart TVs, the live stream on YouTube is an ideal opportunity for brands to reach a highly engaged audience. The future of spectator sports and online advertising in Pakistan are very closely intertwined and brands should not miss out,” said Farhan Qureshi – Head of South Asia Markets, Google Asia Pacific.
Other livestream partners include Tapmad.com, Goonj.pk, Crick Wick, Jazz TV and JazzTube. With ad insertions unified at the country level, ads are delivered simultaneously at each authorized location, with streams being scanned for copyrighted content and over 4500 pirated beams banned within the first 5 matches. When you put Pakistan’s best content and its biggest viewership platform together on one plate, our valued advertisers get nothing less than the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if this product matures into a 100 million viewership product within consecutive seasons, said CEO Blitz Advertising Ahsen Idris.