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LAHORE: While the HBL-Pakistan Super League has placed itself as one of the most sought-after events, the players of participating teams in the 8th edition of the event are gearing up to show their best in the event.

Islamabad United captain Shadab Khan said, “We plan ahead of the season on how we have to approach the upcoming tournament and we have done that already. On a personal note, I enjoy playing against Karachi.

It is one of the matches that I don’t want to lose as a captain or a player. It is not like I say this in the team huddle or something. It is just my personal desire to not to lose to them, especially when we play in Karachi.”

Karachi Kings captain Imad Wasim said, “This rivalry [Lahore v Karachi] is good [for the HBL PSL]. It is the biggest game and now Karachi-Peshawar and Lahore-Quetta are new rivalries. But, the entire nation wants to see Karachi-Lahore. We enjoy playing against them. It is the biggest rivalry for us without a doubt. This season, we will play with more intensity against them.”

Karachi Kings’ Mohammad Amir said, “Lahore v Karachi is always a match to look forward to and when you perform in it, your profile increases manifold as a cricketer. Karachi has been dominating this battle so far and I will try to make sure it stays that way. A lot of credit for this hype goes to the media with how they come up with player-by-player match ups and the team rivalries. It is very important to keep the fans engaged.”

Karachi Kings head coach Johan Botha said, “They [Lahore Qalandars] are coming in as defending champions. In the past they were sort of the bottom team and we were a bit cocky and we thought we couldn’t lose against them. We were a good team and played really good cricket. But, now, the roles are reversed.

They are the confident team and they have a very good line-up, especially an excellent bowling attack. They would be a 100 percent confident and we have the work to do, but I am sure our guys will lift themselves when it comes to that fixture. It is going to be a little bit spicier and it should be a good game for the viewers and hopefully we can turn up that night and put in some big performances.”

Lahore Qalandars head coach Aqib Javed said, “I have grown in an environment when it used to be India versus Pakistan at Sharjah with half of the crowd supporting them and the other half supporting us.

People say it is pressure, but for me it used to be opportunity and the intensity used to motivate me; because whoever performs in such tough matches stands out. One player of the match award against India turns you into a superstar. There was a rivalry between Shaheen and Babar and with Babar moving to Peshawar Zalmi, there will be another rivalry.”

Peshawar Zalmi’s Wahab Riaz said, “The most exciting matches Peshawar Zalmi have played are against Quetta Gladiators as four to five of them went to the last ball and in one of the matches we couldn’t score three runs against [Mohammad] Nawaz [in the last over] and got all out. It is always interesting to play against them and the fans also enjoy when we play against Quetta.”

Quetta Gladiators captain Sarfaraz Ahmed: “We try to come up with a strong strategy against every side, but we have played crunch matches against Peshawar Zalmi in the last seven seasons and they have not been one-sided affairs either. It is fair to say we have an intense rivalry with Peshawar Zalmi.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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