The Pakistan Super League or the HBL PSL 2019, is the annual domestic T20 cricket competition of Pakistan. The league’s formation was on 9th September 2015 in Lahore and was founded and is governed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The PSL 2019 will be the fourth edition of the tournament. It begins from the 14th of February to the 17th of March. A total of 34 matches will be played in that entire period.
The league was promoted by former Pakistan captains Wasim Akram and Rameez Raja who were signed by the PCB on three year deals for the role of brand ambassadors.
Prior to the launch of PSL, the PCB had made two failed attempts to introduce a new domestic Twenty20 competition and invested in several years of planning. The new league was however immensely successful as the first season itself yielded profits of US$ 2.6 million.
The tournament follows a different structure compared to the other major domestic T20 competitions in the world like Indian Premier League and the Big Bash League. Instead of the league being an association of individually owned franchises, the league itself is a single entirety in which the each each franchises are owned and controlled by their respective investors. The league is also different in its player drafts, which is more similar to the drafts of American leagues such as the Major League Soccer.
The tournament structure, however, is similar to the other domestic T20 competitions across the globe. The tournament follows a round robin format, where each team plays every other team for two matches, one at home and one away. The four best placed teams in the table after the regular matches have been played, qualify for the playoffs.
In the inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League, the league only had five original teams - Islamabad United, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars, Peshawar Zalmi, and Quetta Gladiators. The sixth team called Multan Sultans was introduced in 2017, after it was bought by Schon Properties for a deal worth US$ 5.2 million per year. However, the team was suspended the very next season after payment problems. The franchise was resold to Ali Khan Tareen for a valuation of US$ 6.35 million for seven years. The team name will however still remain Multan Sultans which was confirmed by the new owner.
Each team had sixteen players plus four supplementary players and were allowed to retain upto ten players. The teams were also allowed additional budget for the U21 teams.
The inaugural edition of the Pakistan Super League was held entirely in the United Arab Emirates for security reasons. The second season saw only the Final being played in Lahore while the group matches and playoffs were played in Dubai and Sharjah. In the third season, group matches were played in UAE, while the playoffs were played in Lahore and the Final in Karachi. In the fourth season, the last eight matches and the final will be played in Pakistan while the rest of the matches will be played in the UAE. For the first time, the PSL will be played in the city of Abu Dhabi.
The five venues for PSL 2019 are given below:-
Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai
Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
National Stadium, Karachi
Players to Watch Out For
Veterans AB de Villiers (Lahore Qalandars) and Luke Ronchi (Islamabad United) will be expected to carry the batting attack of their respective teams. Former Australia captain Steve Smith (Multan Sultans) will also be attracting a lot of attention.
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