The Pakistan Super League's 2023 edition started with a bang, literally, as defending champions Lahore Qalandars faced Multan Sultans at the Multan Stadium on Monday.
The start of the match had to be delayed after a spectacular fireworks show ended up damaging a part of one of the light towers.
Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi will also host matches in season eight of the tournament, with the final set to take place on March 19 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
The biggest news of the tournament was the return to fitness of Pakistan's premier fast bowler Shaheen Afridi. The left-arm quick has been out of action for months after the T20 World Cup final against England where he aggravated a knee injury.
“There were times when I wanted to give up,” Afridi said. “I was working on only one muscle and it was not improving. Often during the rehabilitation sessions, I used to say to myself ‘this is enough, I cannot do this any more’.”
But he did make a return to the playing field, much to the relief of Qalandars, who he had guided to the title last year.
Also, national team captain Babar Azam will be leading Peshawar Zalmi this term, having played for Karachi Kings last year.
What is the prize money for Pakistan Super League 2023?
This year, the winning team will take home a grand prize of 120 million Pakistani rupees ($450,000). The runners-up will receive 48m rupees ($180,000).
Top prize money for winning teams in cricket:
1. 50-over World Cup: $4 million for winners
2. Indian Premier League: $2.4 million
3. T20 World Cup: $1.6 million
4. World Test Championship: $1.6 million
5. Bangladesh Premier League: $850,000
6. DP World International League T20: $700,000
7. Pakistan Super League: $450,000
8. Big Bash League: $310,000
9. T20 Blast: $210,000
10. The Hundred: $180,000 each to the winning men's and women's teams
Note: Women's Premier League 2023 prize money has not been announced yet.