23 Feb

Cricket’s Pakistan Super League (PSL) got underway in Karachi on Saturday (20 February), with an opening ceremony at the National Stadium which was open at 20-per-cent capacity. 

The tournament, which is being held entirely in Pakistan, is scheduled to run until March 22, in two venues, the National Stadium and Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore. The opening ceremony was followed by the first match of the season in which defending champions Karachi Kings beat the Quetta Gladiators by 7 wickets. 

Six teams made up of Pakistan players and overseas stars are due to play 34 Twenty20 games with the initial 20 games played in Karachi’s National Stadium. The following fourteen group matches, play-offs and final are then played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, for the first time since 2017. 

The Six PSL teams are: Peshawar Zalmi, Lahore Qalandars, Karachi Kings, Islamabad United, Quetta Gladiators and Multan Sultans. 

Both venues have been given the green light allowing spectators to attend. With the upper limit set at 20 per cent of each stadium’s capacity, 7,500 fans will be able to attend in Karachi with 5,500 permitted in Lahore. 

Among the international stars lined up for the tournament are South African batsman Faf du Plessis and West Indies star Chris Gayle, at Quetta Gladiators. England’s opener Alex Hales, the leading scorer at this season’s BBL in Australia, and England all-rounder Lewis Gregory are playing for Islamabad United. 

Prior to the tournament the PCB had warned the players, players’ support personnel, and match officials to strictly adhere to the bio-secure PCB Covid-19 protocols, however, an unnamed player has already tested positive for Covid-19 and has been placed in isolation. He will be quarantined for at least 10 days. 

According to media reports another player and an official of one of the teams have also been placed in a three-day quarantine after they came into contact with a person outside the bio-secure bubble on Friday. The pair will now require two negative tests during the three-day quarantine period before they can re-enter the bio-secure bubble in accordance with the re-entry protocols.   

John Stephenson 


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