Islamabad United dominated with the bat and ball as they defeated defending champions Peshawar Zalmi by three wickets on Sunday to lift
the trophy of the third edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).
The highlight of the match was United opener Luke Ronchi’s rapid 52 of 26 deliveries, giving a solid foundation to his side to chase the target of 148 runs.
The match marked the first time a PSL final was played in Karachi, as thousands of fans flocked to the sold-out National Stadium under tight security.
It was also the city’s biggest cricket match in nine years after terrorist attacks resulted in the suspension of international cricket in Pakistan.
The last time Karachi hosted an international cricket match was against Sri Lanka in February 2009.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, all four provincial governors, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto joined thousands of spectators who thronged the stadium to watch the PSL final on a hot afternoon.
The National Stadium was lit up to welcome cricket’s homecoming to Pakistan’s biggest city, as thousands of fans flock to the sold-out National Stadium to witness two great teams face off.
The doors to the stadium were supposed to be closed at 5 pm but the organizers had to extend the deadline by two hours due to large numbers of cricket hungry fans lined up outside.
More than 200 buses provided transport services to the attendees.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Najam Sethi welcomed the spectators at the closing ceremony of the event and expressed his gratitude to the security forces for giving top-notch security for the event.
The PCB chairman requested fans to show the same passion in the series against West Indies, to be played a week later at the same ground.
He said that the board plans to hold most of the next PSL matches in different cities of Pakistan.
“The tournament wouldn’t have been possible without government’s support. I thank all of you for supporting Pakistan cricket,” he said.
The spectators – many of whom were donning Zalmi and United merchandise – were allowed to enter the venue only after multiple security checks.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah conducted an aerial inspection of the security arrangements for the match and reviewed parking and other facilities provided to the visitors.
Big screens to show a live match to the citizens were installed at around one dozen locations in the city. Mobile toilets were also installed at six parking zones. Besides aerial surveillance, the movement outside and inside the stadium was monitored through 80 closed-circuit television cameras.
While four main roads surrounding the stadium were closed for traffic, fire brigades and ambulances remained on standby.
Roads and monuments in the city were lit up and decorated, adding to the festive atmosphere.
Cardboard cut-outs of superstars taking part in the tournament lined major streets and avenues leading to the stadium.