Pakistani cricket teams practice in an empty National Stadium, ahead of their match in the Pakistan Super League in Karachi on Friday. AP
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Lahore will now host both semifinal matches next Tuesday and the final on Wednesday. The top team will play against No.4 in the first match while the second will be played between the No.2 and No.3 teams.
The remaining four league games will go ahead as scheduled in Lahore and Karachi until Sunday.
"Following an advice from the Punjab government, the Pakistan Cricket Board has decided the final-leg matches of the Pakistan Super League in Lahore will be played behind closed doors,” the PCB said in a statement.
Earlier, the PCB said English players Alex Hales, Tymal Mills, Jason Roy, James Vince, Tom Banton, Liam Dawson, Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone are among those who will be flying home.
Carlos Brathwaite of the West Indies and Rilee Rossouw of South Africa will also be leaving the Twenty20 event.
All players were given the option of returning home after a conference call between PCB officials and franchise owners on Friday.
"It is important to emphasize and clarify that the main concern of many of the players 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,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said in a statement. "We will continue to assess and review the situation and will not hesitate to make what we believe are the right decisions for everyone involved.”
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The PCB had already announced that the three remaining matches in Karachi’s 33,000-seat National Stadium will be played without spectators.
Peshawar Zalmi has been affected with the withdrawal of the foreign players after Brathwaite, Dawson, Gregory, Livingstone and Banton decided to go home. The team took the field in an empty stadium against Multan Sultans without any overseas cricketer in their playing XI. Multan was also without two key players after Vince and Roussow withdrew.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and owners of the six clubs made the decision on Thursday, a week after the Twenty20 league was postponed.
Peshawar, led by captain Wahab Riaz’s personal best PSL figures of 4-17, dismissed two-time champion Islamabad for the season’s lowest total of 118 in 17.1 overs. Alex Hales top-scored with 41.
The Pakistan Cricket Board also said that the decision to reschedule Monday’s game was made with an aim to allow players "sufficient time to relax, refocus and regroup following the testing and in the best interest of the competition.”
Babar made an unbeaten 77 and Nabi scored 67 off 35 balls as they shared a 118-run fourth-wicket stand off 61 balls in Karachi’s strong chase of 191-4 in 19.3 overs. Earlier, after being put in to bat, Peshawar recovered from 3-34 to reach 188-5 with Ravi Bopara scoring an unbeaten 58 and Amad Butt making a rapid 27 off only seven deliveries.
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