The Pakistan Super League finally kicked off in 2018 after months of planning. The Pakistan Cricket Board announced the launch of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) in September 2015. They signed up former Pakistan National team captains Wasim Akram and Rameez Raja as brand ambassadors for the PSL for three years. The league began in the United Arab Emirates on 4th February 2018. The Pakistan Super League was initially planned as the Haier T20 Cup, which was eventually scrapped. The league was played between five teams representing five cities of Pakistan. These teams also featured international players from eleven different countries. The Pakistan Super League went against the norm of holding an auction system to allocate players. It used the draft system to pick players for each team. Each of the five teams were owned and controlled by investors. The commercial rights for the five franchises were sold for $91.4 million for ten years. The Pakistan Cricket Board is currently in talks with the Emirates Cricket Board to agree dates for the 2018 season.
Each of the five teams was to play other teams twice in a double round robin format. The top four teams would advance to the playoffs. A Super Over is used to determine the outcome of a game in the event of a tie. This was used in the group stages as well. The teams in the group stages were ranked based on the following:
- Highest points scored
- If tied, then highest wins recorded
- If tied, the lowest losses recorded
- If still tied, head to head results
- If still tied, net run rate will be the final deciding factor
If any of the games are tied during the group stages or the elimination stage, then a Super Over shall decide the winner.
The Pakistan Cricket Board received around seven bids for the five franchise teams. The bid winners would be granted rights to the franchise team for a period of ten years. The bids were eventually awarded to three Pakistani groups and two international groups. Each team finalized their players and the Head Coach within a month of the owners being finalized. The Pakistan Super League sponsorship was also awarded to Habib Bank Limited for a period of three years. Many secondary sponsors are also part of the sponsorship deal estimated to be worth $6 million. The team list is as below.
|Islamabad United||Islamabad, Capital Territory||Leonine Global Sports
(Ali Naqvi & Amna Naqvi)
|US$15 Million (Ten Year Agreement)||Misbah-ul-Haq||Dean Jones|
|Karachi Kings||Karachi, Sindh||ARY Media Group
(Salman Iqbal, CEO)
|US$26 Million (Ten Year Agreement)||Shoaib Malik||Vacant|
|Lahore Qalandars||Lahore, Punjab||Qatar Lubricants Company Limited
(Fawad Rana, MD)
|US$25 Million (Ten Year Agreement)||Azhar Ali||Paddy Upton|
|Peshawar Zalmi||Peshawar, Khyber Pakthunkhwa||Haier Pakistan
(Javed Afridi, CEO)
|US$16 Million (Ten Year Agreement)||Shahid Afridi||Mohammad Akram|
|Quetta Gladiators||Quetta, Balochistan||Omar Associates
(Nadeem Omar, Director)
|US$11 Million (Ten Year Agreement)||Sarfraz Ahmed||Moin Khan|
Each team’s performance in the inaugural tournament is as under.
The inaugural Pakistan Super League saw Islamabad United as the winners. They beat Quetta Gladiators in the final. Dwayne Smith of Islamabad United was named the Man of the Match and Ravi Bopara of the Karachi Kings was named the Player of the Tournament. Umar Akmal of Lahore Qalandars scored 335 runs becoming the highest scorer of the tournament. Andre Russell of Islamabad United took 16 wickets becoming the highest wicket taker of the tournament.
Sunset + Vine were awarded the official broadcasting rights for the Pakistan Super League for the first four seasons. Ten Sports, Geo Super and PTV Sports were awarded broadcasting rights within Pakistan for the first three seasons. The value of this broadcasting deal is said to have fetched the Pakistan Cricket Board revenue of $15 million. The first season also saw the games being streamed live on YouTube in Pakistan. Fans could also enjoy live streaming on the Pakistan Super League website as well as the Pakistan Super League mobile application. The inaugural season of the Pakistan Super League was broadcast in Pakistan via PTV Sports, Ten Sports & Geo Super, in Australia via Prime TV, in Bangladesh via Gazi TV, in Sri Lanka via Ten Sports, in United Arab Emirates via OSN, and in West Indies via Flow TV.