Karachi: Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches scheduled to be hosted in Lahore have been moved to Karachi due to the delayed opening of Lahore airspace for commercial flights following heightened tensions with India.
The eight Pakistan-leg matches will be played at the National Stadium in Karachi, officials said.
The decision has been made keeping in mind the substantial, operational and logistical challenges relating to the delivery of the three Lahore matches, which were originally scheduled for March 9, 10 and 12.
This late change, caused due to a situation beyond the Pakistan Cricket Board’s (PCB) control, has also resulted in a tweak to the Pakistan-leg matches, which will now commence from March 9 with all eight matches to be played in as many days, the PCB said in its release.
Some of the key challenges that PCB has faced included securing production equipment and the commitment of broadcast crew, as well as finalising the logistics for the officials and teams.
“This has been a difficult and tough decision, which has been taken following discussion and consultation with all the franchisees and service providers to ensure certainty and clarity on the event as well as delivery of the remaining matches as per the PCB’s own very high standards. We had considered the option of shifting the dates of the eight matches in Pakistan, but because the Pakistan cricket team has to leave for the UAE on March 19 for the ODI series against Australia, this was not possible,” PCB Chairman Ehsan Mani said.
“We also looked at swapping matches between Lahore and Karachi, but the paucity of time would have rendered this option unworkable. It is unfortunate that the headquarters of Pakistan cricket will be unable to host the PSL matches in 2019 due to no fault of the PCB, but this is a small sacrifice for a bigger and larger national cause,” he added.
According to the revised schedule, the Pakistan-leg matches will start on March 9 with Lahore Qalandars meeting Islamabad United. The only double-header will be played on March 11 when Lahore Qalandars and Multan Sultans will go head to head. This will be followed by Karachi Kings and Peshawar Zalmi match.
The qualifier between the number-one and two placed sides will be played on March 13, while eliminator one between the third and fourth-placed sides will take place on March 14. Eliminator two between the loser of the qualifier and winner of eliminator one will be played on March 15. The final will take place as per schedule on March 17.