And then there were six. It may sound like a clichéd marketing line but the Pakistan Super League’s third edition will indeed be bigger and better than the previous ones. Multan Sultan’s addition to the competition not only means more matches — and hence more entertainment for the millions back home — but also that every match has added significance and importance.
With two teams being knocked out before the playoffs, rather than just the one in the previous two editions, all six sides will know they can ill-afford to take any match lightly.
The arrival of the sixth team also means that the talent pool has been both expanded and stretched; leading to not only more players to look forward to but also a likely reduction in the already minuscule gap between the teams.
With so little to choose from, it is anyone’s guess who will win the tournament. Every team has at least four or five players that can single-handedly win their side the game or even the title. All sides boast captains and coaches with remarkable CVs. On their given day, all six teams are not only capable of winning but of utterly dominating the opposition.
The players, especially the Pakistani ones, will find extra motivation in the fact that the elimination playoffs and the final will take place in Pakistan. With two games in Lahore and one in Karachi, the PSL is slowly but surely coming back home. The extra games will lead to added ownership of the league as fans finally see their heroes in action.
But the road to glory, and indeed the final, will not be an easy one for any team. They will need every bit of cunning, skill, luck, talent and commitment to be playing in front of what will surely be a packed National Stadium of Karachi. Reaching that point may well require the flowing of sweat, blood and tears. Let the games begin
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2018.
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