Islamabad: The Pakistan Super League (PSL) will finish four days ahead of schedule after 10 foreign players withdrew from the event Friday because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said Lahore will now host both semi-final 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.
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.”
There have been more than 128,000 cases and 4,700 deaths globally since the virus outbreak started late last year. Most people quickly recover from the virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks.
The PCB has yet to decide whether the games in Lahore — including the final on 18 March — will be played without fans. It has already announced that the three remaining matches in Karachi’s 33,000-seat National Stadium will be played without spectators.
“The PCB is in close contact with the Punjab government and, as is always the case, it will receive guidance from them in regard to allowing spectators to watch the last four matches at the Gaddafi Stadium,” the cricket board said in the statement.
Peshawar Zalmi, which will take on Multan Sultans in Karachi, will be most affected with the withdrawal of the foreign players after Brathwaite, Dawson, Gregory, Livingstone and Banton decided to go home.
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The active cases have declined to 4,29,946 and comprise 1.39 percent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate stands at 97.28 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed
The daily positivity rate was recorded at 2.31 percent. It has been less than 3 percent for 34 consecutive days, the health ministry said, adding the weekly positivity rate was recorded at 2.24 percent