Karachi: Karachi Kings delighted more than 25,000 supporters with a thumping 10-wicket victory over Lahore Qalandars on Thursday in the last Pakistan Super League (PSL) match in Karachi to be played in front of fans.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) decided that the remaining games at the National Stadium will be played without spectators because of the coronavirus outbreak. That includes Karachi’s last two league matches on Saturday and Sunday. Peshawar Zalmi also play their last league game on Friday against Multan Sultans at the National Stadium.
“For us it’s absolutely the right decision,” PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said. “Human life comes before cricket and it’s important that we take our responsibility for the people of Karachi … we’ve made this decision with a heavy heart, but we’ve made the right decision.”
Hundreds of spectators passed through a thermal test outside the stadium on Thursday. Large number of fans also wore masks and gloves and washed their hands with soap before entering into the stadium.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes 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.
On the field, the opening pair of Sharjeel Khan (74 not out) and Babar Azam (69 not out) hit brisk half centuries and carried Karachi to 151-0 with 17 balls to spare. Lahore were earlier restricted to 150-5 after Karachi skipper Imad Wasim won the toss and elected to field.
Sharjeel smashed five sixes and five fours while Babar hit eight boundaries and a six.
Karachi jumped to second place in the table with nine points and still have two games in hand. Lahore is fourth with eight points and will take on Multan in the last league game at home on Sunday.
Multan have already qualified for the playoffs but the rest of the five teams are all in contention to grab the remaining three playoff slots.
Sharjeel were given two reprieves in one over when wicketkeeper Ben Dunk and Faizan Khan dropped the left-hander in the space of three balls.
Earlier, Lahore skipper Sohail Akhtar made 68 off 49 balls and Mohammad Hafeez scored an unbeaten 35 but the rest of the batsmen struggled against the pace and spin.
Dunk, who scored a scintillating 99 not out off 40 balls in Lahore’s victory over Karachi last Sunday, top edged fast bowler Umaid Asif (2-34) and was out for nine.
And Dunk’s Australian countryman Chris Lynn (5) lasted only five deliveries before holing out in the deep against seamer Arshad Iqbal (2-15) as Lahore struggled to post a competitive total.