LAHORE- Defending champions Karachi Kings will begin Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2021 campaign by facing 2019 champions Quetta Gladiators in the opening match to be played on February 20 at the National Stadium, Karachi.
According to PCB spokesman here on Friday, on the following day, 2020 finalists Lahore Qalandars will take on 2017 winners Peshawar Zalmi in a day fixture, while two-time winners Islamabad United will square off against Multan Sultans in the evening. The 30-day 34-match tournament will culminate with the final here at the Gaddafi Stadium on March 22, marking the first time the venue will stage the final since 2017.
To safeguard the integrity of the PSL 2021 and to ensure health and safety of all participants in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the PCB has decided to hold the matches in Karachi and Lahore only. The National Stadium will stage the first half of the competition, while Gaddafi Stadium will be the venue of the second half of the competition, including the playoffs.
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With regards to crowd attendances, since Covid-19 is an evolving situation, a decision will be made closer to time though the event organisers are continuously monitoring the situation and remain in close contact with the concerned government officials. While preparing the event schedule, the organisers have ensured each side is playing equal number of day and evening matches. Also, the event organisers have tried to make optimum use of the weekends while scheduling double-headers that will ensure maximum following and coverage.
The Support Period for the PSL 2021 will commence from 15 February and the foreign players competing in the league will arrive into Karachi with a negative PCR test. Upon arrival, they will require two more negative PCR tests before being allowed to train and compete in the competition. The asymptomatic players or support staff returning a positive test will have to serve a five-day isolation period with RT-PCR tests on day one and four.
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PCB Director Commercial Babar Hamid said: “We are delighted to announce the schedule of Pakistan Super League 2021 to be fully hosted by Pakistan. “We had to make the tough decision to limit matches to Karachi and Lahore, and this decision has been taken in the larger interest of the event, participants and the country.”