The opening ceremony of Pakistan Super League 2019 took place at the Dubai International Stadium on Thursday.
The national anthem of Pakistan marked the start of the event before Ramiz Raja, always the MC, took over the microphone.
Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman Ehsan Mani acknowledged the contribution of UAE’s cricketing authorities and main sponsors for helping the board stage its flagship T20 league year in, year out.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the head of UAE’s Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development was also in attendance.
Mani made way for a marching band that played Europe’s The Final Countdown — famous for being the tune of the 1992 World Cup, which the Pakistani national team won under the captaincy of incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Euro-Caribbean Boney M were next. The highlight of their set was their trademark track: Daddy Cool.
Pop sensation Aima Baig serenaded the audience with her rendition of Nazia Hasan’s famous Disco Deewanay. She was also joined by Shuja Haider on stage.
Legendary Junoon rockers Ali Azmat, Salman Ahmed and Brian O’Connell were the penultimate act. They kicked off their set with their smash hit Yar Bina before tearing into Heeray. The trio’s lip-syncing session predictably ended with Jazba Junoon.
Fawad Khan was the final performer of the night. He treated the crowd with the official PSL 2019 anthem Khel Deewano Ka. He was joined by rapper Young Desi for a cameo.
As the duo performed, the six teams and their players walked out in the middle. The confetti rained, the lights flashed, the pyrotechnics took over — the 2019 PSL was officially underway.
The notable absentee was American rapper Pitbull, who was supposed to headline the opening ceremony but had to pull out due to a “technical issue” with his flight.
PSL is a T20 league featuring six franchises that represent six different cities battling for cricketing supremacy each year.
Islamabad United are the reigning champions and also the PSL’s most successful side, having won both the inaugural and last year’s events.