The eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to commence from February 13 in Multan with Multan Sultans taking on defending champions Lahore Qalandars in the opening game of the tournament, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) confirmed on Friday (January 20).
The season will also feature three women's exhibition matches on March 8, 10 and 11, which is seen as a 'soft launch' of the Pakistan Women's League, the details of which will be announced in due course.
The 34-match tournament has been split into two legs with the first set of matches scheduled to be held in Multan and Karachi, between February 13 and 26. The action will then shift to Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore and the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi netween February 26 and March 19. The second leg also includes the Qualifier, two Eliminators and the final in Lahore between March 15 and 19. Rawalpindi will host the only double-header of the season on March 7
Qalandars will have a chance to become the first team to win the competition back-to-back. The defending championsh have made it to the final on on two occasions but both Peshawar Zalmi and Multan Sultans fell short in the final hurdle. Islamabad United, on the other hand, have a chance to be the first team to win three PSL titles.
Upon the request of the franchise the number of players for each side has been increased to 20. The additional players will be picked in a replacement draft, which is scheduled to take place on January 24.
“I am delighted to formally confirm the schedule of the HBL PSL 8, which will allow the Pakistan Cricket Board and the six franchises to start firming up and finalising their respective event plans and objectives," PCB chairman Najam Sethi said.
“The HBL PSL 8 will be a massive event for the PCB, taking place at the four iconic venues with the world’s best T20 cricketers in action. We aim to make the HBL PSL bigger, better and stronger than ever before with the overarching ambition to make it the first-choice event for leading T20 cricketers.
“There will be no question on the quality of cricket that will be played in over 34 days of action-packed cricket. I am hoping the HBL PSL will once again live up to its expectations of unearthing and identifying future stars who will not only challenge the established household names in this edition but will go on to represent Pakistan.