The HBL Pakistan Super League returns from 20 February until 22 March 2020 with the historic fifth edition set to be played in Pakistan. This edition will be the first to be played full swing in Pakistan.
Since the start of the league in 2016, the tournament has turned to Pakistan with this year’s edition once again a vault for the league.
The first edition had five teams which was played entirely in the UAE. The second edition took its first step towards the homecoming with the final between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The 2018 edition was the first occurrence of the two Pakistani cities hosting the HBL PSL matches. Lahore hosted two play-offs while Karachi set the final where Islamabad United triumphed against defending champions Peshawar Zalmi. During this season, Multan Sultans were also added in the sixth franchise.
The 2019 season saw an unparalleled vision of eight games in Pakistan. All matches were hosted in Karachi’s National Stadium, including three play-offs and the final between the Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi in which Quetta swept victory and lifted the distinguished HBL PSL trophy for the first time.
HBL PSL 2016:
Islamabad United smashed a record when they beat Quetta Gladiators in the final of the initial edition of the HBL PSL and became the first-ever team to win the coveted PSL trophy. Islamabad sailed past the 175-run target at the loss of four tickets with eight balls to spare in the last stage at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
For his brilliant 73 (51 balls, 7 fours, 4 sixes), West Indian Dwayne Smith was named the player-of-the-match. For his all-round efforts Karachi Kings ‘ all-rounder Ravi Bopara was named the player-of – the-tournament (329 runs at 54.83, 11 wickets at 13.81).
The tournament was played on a double-league. At the final of the round-robin stage, Peshawar Zalmi finished the standings but lost on a place in the final after both losing their play-offs against Quetta and Islamabad, respectively.
The first play-off of the Zalmi-Gladiators was settled in front of a packed audience on the last ball and heaving Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Quetta triumphed clinching a spot in the final by one-run.
United opener Sharjeel Khan scored the first century in the history of the HBL PSL. The 117 left-hander eased Islamabad in achieving a comprehensive victory over Zalmi on their way to the championship.
Qalandars, who finished fifth and final in the standings, had something to cheer about as Umar Akmal finished with 335 runs in seven innings at an average of 83.75 and a stunning strike rate of 157.27. The right-hander hit four fifties in all of the tournament.
United’s Andre Russell finished with 16 wickets in 10 games in the bowling charts, Zalmi’s Wahab Riaz took 15 in nine games, while Gladiators’ left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz picked 13 wickets in 10 games.
After independence, several of Pakistan’s greatest cricketers namely Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Majid Khan, Zaheer Abbas, Saeed Anwar, Abdul Qadir, Wasim Akram, Younis Khan, Shahid Afridi, Moin Khan and Rashid Latif among others, learned the ropes of their craft in their early ages playing on Karachi’s streets or the huge grounds of Lahore.
HBL PSL 2017:
Zalmi outclassed Gladiators in a one-sided final at Gaddafi Stadium to win the 2017 HBL PSL trophy. Zalmi continued their consistent run and for the second time successively topped the table at the end of the round-robin stage.
They, unfortunately, for the second time in a row, suffered as they lost another dramatic play-off at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium against the Gladiators, once again by a single run.
The Daren Sammy-led side recovered amazingly and won their second play-off to progress to the final unlike the first season.
Zalmi posted 148 for six in their 20 overs, battling first in the final. Gladiators were dismissed to lose their second consecutive final for 90 runs in response.
With his match turning unbeaten 28 off 11 balls (three sixes, one four) and sharp leadership Sammy was called the player-of-the-match.
Kamran Akmal was named player-of-the-tournament with 353 runs in 11 games including a century in the play-off against Kings and 12 dismissals behind the stumps. He also won tournament accolades for best batsman and best wicketkeeper.
Kings’ Sohail Khan finished the bowling charts with 16 wickets, while Wahab ended second-spot in the bowling charts for the second consecutive time collecting 15 wickets in 10 games.
HBL PSL 2018:
The HBL PSL initially came to Karachi’s prestigious National Stadium when the metropolitan city was host to the final- known to be a sparkling season – between Zalmi and United, the defending champions.
United bagged their second title in a dramatic final match by beating Zalmi by three wickets. First Batting, Zalmi posted 148 for nine, the final 148-run tally was the same as the final of 2017.
Nevertheless, they chased the target down with 19 spare balls. With a magnificent 52 off 26 balls (four fours, five sixes), Luke Ronchi rounded off his player-of – the-tournament results.
He made 96 runs with Sahibzada Farhan (44) for the opening wicket, a middle-order collapse brought Zalmi back in the chase before Asif Ali’s unbeaten 26 six-ball, including three consecutive sixes of Hasan Ali throttled Zalmi’s fate.
Ronchi scored 435 runs at an incredible 182 strike-rate in 11 games; he averaged 43.50 to capture the tournament’s outstanding player award. With 425 runs in 13 games which also included a century against Qalandars in Sharjah, Kamran occupied second place.
A bowler-of – the-tournament success by Faheem Ashraf doubled United’s joy (18 wickets in 12 matches). With 18 wickets in 13 games at 19.11, Wahab made it a hat-trick of holding the second spot on the bowlers list.
The Gladiators were third time lucky as they entered into the final count of the HBL PSL by beating Zalmi by eight wickets in the final played at the National Stadium on 17 March. Gladiators claimed the low scoring final with ease after Zalmi failed to post a respectable total for the third time in the HBLPSL final.
Batting first, for eight Zalmi posted 138 as the speedster Mohammad Hasnain and five wickets were shared between the heavy experienced T20 globe trotter Dwayne Bravo.
Ahmed Shehzad and Rilee Rossouw saw off the chase to hand Gladiators a much-awaited HBL PSL title with an unbroken third-wicket partnership of 73 runs. Ahmed scored 58 of 51 balls while Rossouw scored 39 of 32.
Gladiators’ Australian import Shane Watson struck the bat with a 430-run tally at 43.00 in 12 innings and a 143.81 strike-rate. He hit four half-centuries to top the topping batting charts.
With help of three half-centuries, Kamran was once again the centerpiece for Zalmi scoring 357 runs in 13 innings. United’s Cameron Delport was third in 12 innings, with 355 runs.
Hasan Ali had a good season for Zalmi; he took 25 wickets in 13 games from the right-arm pacer. Faheem took 21 of twelve games for the United while Wahab was again among the top three, finishing the tournament with a tally of 17 wickets in 13 matches.
The HBL PSL five starts on 20 February in Karachi with a magificent opening ceremony set to continue the tradition of spectacular opening ceremonies of the first four seasons. Gladiators defending champions will face off in the opening clash with United just as the two did in the first-ever HBL PSL match back in 2016.
For the fifth edition in Pakistan, a galaxy of world-class T20 stars will converge to grip the entire country in cricket zeal for a whole month.