Coronavirus threat: PSL to continue despite COVID-19 outbreak

The PSL has turned the knockout stage into a two-day affair with the semifinal double-header to be held on March 17 and the final on March 18 in Lahore.

The Pakistan Cricket Board announced on Thursday that the Pakistan Super League is closing Twenty20 cricket games in Karachi to spectators from Friday.   -  AP

Multiple cricket tournaments across the globe have been cancelled to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. While the Indian Premier League was suspended till April 15, the One Day International series between Australia and New Zealand has been cancelled after one match and England’s tour to Sri Lanka was called off. However, the Pakistan Super League is among a handful of sporting events that will go on despite as many as 14 overseas players leaving because of fears over travel restrictions.

Colin Munro, Dawid Malan, Luke Ronchi, Dale Steyn, Alex Hales, Rilee Rossouw and James Vince, Tom Banton, Carlos Brathwaite, Liam Dawson, James Foster (coach), Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone, Jason Roy and Tymal Mills are amongst those who have pulled out of the T20 League.

The PSL, on its part, has turned the knockout stage into a two-day affair with the semi-final double-header to be held on March 17 and the final on March 18 in Lahore. "The decision means the HBL Pakistan Super League 2020 will be reduced by four days and there will now be 33 matches as opposed to 34," a PCB statement said.

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"According to the revised schedule, the 17 March semi-finals will be double-headers and will be held at the Gaddafi Stadium with the table-toppers going head to head with the fourth-placed side at 2 pm. This match will be followed by the second semi-final, which will begin at 7 pm, between the second and third-placed sides.

"Today, the PCB and the team owners, as part of their duty of care, have decided to give all the players the option to decide if they wish to return home," the statement further added. "Ensuring that the players feel comfortable remains paramount to the PCB. As of now, it is important to emphasise and clarify that the main concern of many of the 10 players and a coach, who have chosen to return home, revolves around avoiding a potential situation where they might become stranded either due to flight cancellations or border closures in their own countries."

Four of the remaining PSL games will be played in Karachi, while the remaining four, including the final, are slated to be held in Lahore.

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