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LAHORE: The HBL Pakistan Super League is set to return Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Stadium, which will host 20 matches of the sixth edition marking the second instance of the venue staging HBL PSL games in June.

It was during the 2019 edition when the stadium hosted the HBL PSL for the first time when four league matches of the fourth season were played here. Quetta Gladiators, the champions of the 2019 edition, consolidated their position for the HBL PSL 2019 playoffs with two comprehensive wins against Peshawar Zalmi and Islamabad United by eight wickets and 43 runs, respectively. Karachi Kings downed Multan Sultans by five wickets and Zalmi thumped Lahore Qalandars by four wickets in the other two matches. Gladiators’ 180 for nine against United is the highest HBL PSL team total at the venue and Sultans’ 118 for seven against Kings is the lowest. Shane Watson’s electrifying 91 not out off 55 balls – studded with six sixes and as many fours – for the Gladiators against Zalmi is the highest HBL PSL individual score at the venue.

Kings’ pacer Usman Shinwari, who is representing the Gladiators this season, returned figures of four for 15 against Sultans while United’s Faheem Ashraf took four wickets for 18 runs against the Gladiators in his side’s 43-run loss.

In the fourth and last match to be played at the venue in the 2019 season, Gladiators defeated United by 43 runs. Batting first, player of the match Ahmed Shehzad’s 73 guided Gladiators to 180 for seven. United were restricted to 137 for nine in reply with leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed taking three wickets.

The venue has so far staged 124 T20 matches including 48 T20Is. Pakistan national men’s cricket team boasts six wins from nine matches here between 2010 and 2018. There have been a total of eight instances of 200-plus totals at the venue with Ireland’s 225 for seven against Afghanistan in the 2013-14 seasons being the highest.

On the other hand, Nigeria’s 66 for nine against Ireland in 20 over in the 2019-20 season is the lowest T20 team total at the venue. Pakistan men’s team bowled out Australia for 89 in the 2018 three-match series, which is the eight-lowest team total at the venue.

A total of six T20 centuries have been scored here. Qalandars captain Sohail Akhtar is one of the six centurions. The right-handed hard-hitting batsman scored 100 off 56 balls (11 fours, five sixes) in his side’s six-wicket win over Yorkshire in an Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy fixture in October 2018.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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