A view of the Pakistan Super League inauguration ceremony at Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
The government on Thursday allowed 20% spectators during the sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) group matches for the first time in the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement issued by the country’s COVID-19 body (National Command and Operations Centre).
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Thursday it received permission from the government to allow 20% capacity crowds at Pakistan Super League (PSL) games.
"The decision means around 7,500 ticketed spectators will be allowed access inside the National Stadium (in Karachi) per match day, while around 5,500 will be able to attend each match day at the Gaddafi Stadium (in Lahore),” the Pakistan Cricket Board said in a statement.
Last March, when the pandemic was shutting down global sports, four PSL matches were held in closed stadiums and the playoffs in Lahore postponed to November in an empty National Stadium in Karachi.
The sixth PSL begins on Feb.20 with Karachi hosting the first 20 games before the Twenty20 competition moves to Lahore, which hosts the remaining 14 matches, including the final on March 22.
"These are baby steps and, considering that most sport events are being played in empty stadiums, this is a positive achievement,” PCB chairman Ehsan Mani said.
Pakistan is currently hosting a two-test series against South Africa without spectators.
The selectors have included three exciting uncapped pace bowlers in 19-year-old Mohammad Wasim Junior, 20-year-old Arshad Iqbal, and 22-year-old Shahnawaz Dhani in multiple squads. Ace leg-spinner Yasir Shah will miss the tour as he is recovering from a knee injury.
"The universe boss is here in Pakistan alright," he said in a video message released by the team. "All my Pakistan fans, I am looking forward to entertaining you... so stay tuned."
The Multan Sultans cruised to victory courtesy Mohammad Rizwan and Sohaib Maqsood's flashy 110-run, third wicket partnership. Earlier, Lahore Qalandars had set a target of 158 for the Multan Sultans courtesy Mohammad Hafeez's 60 off 30 balls.
Organised under the aegis of Dubai Sports Council, the events attracted more than 25,000 in-person spectators, including thousands of boisterous supporters at the IPL finale.
The highly-anticipated card will take place at MotoSpace on Friday, November 26, and will be broadcast live in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, and worldwide on IFL TV.
In addition, on December 4th and 5th, fans will be able to watch the “Sleeping Beauty” ice show, directed by Olympic figure skating champion, Tatiana Navka, the Olympic champion in figure skating.