The ceremony, which began with a half-hour delay, began with singer Aima Baig — clad in an ethereal white gown — performing the national anthem.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Najam Sethi, who is heading a panel governing the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) affairs till a chairman is elected, showed off a large replica of the PSL8 trophy.
“Next year we will go to Quetta and Peshawar,” he said, adding that the PSL had given many assets to the country and become a source of happiness for the nation.
Sethi asked a charged crowd who they would support in tonight’s opening match.
Sahir Ali Bagga and Baig then took the stage for their singing performance.
They were followed up by Asim Azhar, Faris Shafi and Shae Gill who performed the official PSL 8 anthem.
Immediately after the ceremony concludes, the first match of the tournament is set to be played between the Multan Sultans and Lahore Qalandars.
Led by Pakistan’s star wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Rizwan, Multan boast a batting-heavy core of players featuring Australia’s Tim David, South African Rilee Rossouw, his compatriot David Miller and West Indies veteran Kieran Pollard.
Into its eighth season, the HBL Pakistan Super League is set to operate at its maximum potential. For the first time since its inaugural edition in 2016, the country’s flagship franchise T20 tournament will be held across four home venues.
The last time it was meant to be so was in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic brought the season to a halt before it was completed later that year behind closed doors.
The previous edition of the PSL was also held in Pakistan in its entirety but all matches were conducted across Karachi and Lahore only. This year, in addition to the two metropolises, Multan and Rawalpindi will also be in the fray, which would mean four of the six sides in Multan Sultans, Lahore Qalandars, Karachi Kings and Islamabad United will enjoy home advantage. Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators, on the other hand, will have to do without the backing of home supporters.