KARACHI: The Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020 – the first edition to take place entirely on home ground – commenced with dazzling music and colourful opening ceremony at Karachi’s National Stadium here on Thursday evening. Host Ahmed Godil started the festivities by getting the crowd pumped up for the tournament before the national anthem. Kicking the ceremony into high gear, a small army of drummers and trumpet players, dressed in the national colours, performed an instrumental version of the official PSL 2020 anthem. Taking the stage, singer Fakhre Alam invited Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to say a few words. Congratulating the people of Karachi, the Chief Minister stated that in the past he had asked the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to stage a single match in Karachi. “But it was not possible at the time. The credit for the today’s ceremony goes entirely to the people of Karachi.” Thanking the PCB, he called for the people to show the world the true spirit of Karachi.PCB chairman Ehsan Mani stated that in 2019 the board had promised that the entirety of the tournament would be staged in Pakistan, and the board had fulfilled that promise. “Next year, we will try to include Peshawar in the league,” he said, adding that the entire credit for the league goes to the cricket lovers in Pakistan. Thanking the provincial governments of Punjab and Sindh, as well as law enforcement agencies, Mani said that none of this would have been possible without their cooperation. Mani also welcomed foreign players to the country, and called on the people to send a message to the world that “Pakistan is ready”. The first performance of the night, a dazzling display of local talent and tradition, was a Sufi medley featuring singer Sanam Marvi, qawwals Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammad and the band Soch. Taking the stage, pop singer Sajjad Ali performed a mashup of his greatest hits, including Babia and Soni Lag Di, to a packed stadium. Taking things up a notch, Aima Baig, accompanied by performers brandishing umbrellas decked with neon lights, won the crowd over with her upbeat song. As many as 350 artists, including Abrarul Haq, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, performed at the opening. The ceremony also featured a performance by Ali Azmat, Arif Lohar, Haroon and Asim Azhar who performed the PSL 2020 anthem Tayyar Hain.Following the oath, singer Abrarul Haq, dubbed the “undisputed king of bhangra” by the hosts, had the crowd on their feet as he jumped off the stage onto an awaiting rickshaw-type vehicle, urging the people to show their enthusiasm. But, perhaps the most awaited performance of the night was that of qawwal Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who did exactly what he does best by belting his heart out in front of an adoring crowd. The tournament will be the biggest draw in the country for the next four weeks. Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Multan will share 34 matches featuring the six franchise-based teams. The remaining four sides are the 2017 winners Peshawar Zalmi, Karachi Kings, Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans.