Extraordinary security measures did not stop thousands of cricket-starved fans from flocking to the Gaddafi Stadium as Quetta Gladiators struggled against Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League final on Sunday.

Pakistan has not hosted a major test-playing nation since 2009 when an attack on a Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore killed seven policemen and injured several Sri Lanka players.

Security officials from cricket boards — including Australia, Sri Lanka, England and Bangladesh — and the International Cricket Council were also present at the stadium to see security measures put in place.

There was a festive mood inside the stadium but earlier thousands of spectators had started lining up in long queues to clear three checkpoints at least six hours before the final began at 1500 GMT.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan had risen stronger amid fears the final would not be staged in Lahore. "We have risen stronger, more united and more prosperous due to holding of PSL final inside the country against all odds," said the premier in a message.

"Pakistan proved to the world that our days of isolation are over. This is the first step in putting Pakistan back on the map within the sporting arena and a positive sign for the future to come."

Since the attack in 2009, only Zimbabwe has visited Pakistan for a short limited-overs series in 2015.

A series of bomb blasts in Pakistan last month, including one in Lahore at a rally that killed at least 13 people, raised doubts over the staging of the PSL final in the city.

But the PCB got the support of the Punjab government, the federal government and the army to go ahead.

At least 8,000 security officials including policemen and soldiers had been deployed around the stadium and the route from the teams' hotel as part of the beefed-up security.

While dozens of provincial and federal government ministers were expected to witness Sunday's final, cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan has criticised the PCB's decision to choose Lahore for the final.

Imran called the decision "madness" and said the heavy security will send the wrong signal to the world.