What’s the story?
According to statistics released by the competition’s official online streaming partner Cricket Gateway, the final of the 2017 edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) was watched online by more Indians than viewers from any other country.
28.22 percent of the total online viewership of the title clash in Lahore was generated by Pakistan’s arch-rivals India. Pakistanis who watched the final online come next by contributing 21.47 percent of the total viewership. It is pertinent to note that the tournament was not broadcast in India while the majority of viewers in Pakistan viewed the event on television.
Cricket fans from Oman contributed to 15.8 percent while those from the USA were tallied at 12.4 percent. Interestingly, Singapore viewers amounted to 4.67 percent. The rest of the online audience emanated from the UK and other parts of Europe.
In case you didn’t know...
While all the other matches were held in UAE, the 2017 PSL final took place in Pakistan. The Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore played host to a euphoric clash between Peshawar Zalmi and Quetta Gladiators. In front of a packed house, the Darren Sammy-led Zalmi defeated the Gladiators by 58 runs to seal the title.
After lifting the trophy, the former West Indies captain said, “I have enjoyed playing a cricket match (in Lahore) and I have even enjoyed being with the security guys as I have never seen something like this before so it was a good experience. It is hopefully a step in the right direction where things could happen. What I can say is that being here felt like playing in St Lucia, playing in India or anywhere else in the world. Today, I felt cricket was the (real) winner.“
The heart of the matter
With intense security allocated to the game in order to bring cricket back to Pakistan, there was a buzz surrounding the PSL final in Lahore. However, quite a few leading names like Kevin Pietersen, Luke Wright, Tymal Mills and Rilee Rossouw skipped the summit clash citing various reasons.
Extra Cover: Pakistan Super League 2017 – Team of the Tournament
A replacement draft was held for the teams to replace their overseas stars. Not convinced by the idea to allow the franchises to select completely different players for the final, former captain Imran Khan lashed out at the organisers for holding the game in Pakistan.
However, the viewership including those from television and online platforms seem to indicate that the grand final was indeed a resounding success.
Buoyed by the success of the tournament’s title clash, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) are working with the International Cricket Council (ICC) to organise a four-match T20I series between Pakistan and a World XI in Lahore during September.
Even as the ongoing political stand-off between India and Pakistan has resulted in dwindling bilateral ties, the high percentage of Indian viewers watching the PSL final suggests that cricket can be a uniting force. Possessing a humongous cricket-crazy populace, India is certainly the nerve centre of the game.