PSL 2024 playoffs plagued by low crowd turnout in Karachi

National Stadium that is hosting final stages of tournament has been largely empty

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The Pakistan Super League is approaching the final stretch of the 2024 season but what should have been an occasion to celebrate has turned into a moment of concern due to poor crowd attendances.

The latter stages of the tournament are being stages in Karachi and while the earlier matches saw excellent crowd support in venues like Rawalpindi, Lahore and Multan, the National Stadium in Karachi has been largely empty.

Poor crowd figures have been a regular problem in Karachi. Late last month, former captain Wasim Akram and his panel members from local broadcasters A Sports revealed that they were unable to attend a PSL match in Karachi as they got stuck in traffic and numerous diversions, which forced them to return to the studio.

In the post on X, Akram said travel was extremely difficult and possibly one of the reasons why local fans prefer to stay away from the venue during match days.

Strangely, the final of the tournament is scheduled for Monday - a work day during the holy month of Ramadan - and that is expected to impact attendance even more.

At least the action on the field has been intense. On Friday, spin all-rounder Imad Wasim claimed 3-12 in the power play as Islamabad United defeated Quetta Gladiators and advanced in the playoffs.

Two-time former champion Islamabad will meet Peshawar Zalmi in the second qualifier on Saturday. The winners of that match will progress to Monday’s final against Multan Sultans.

After Islamabad posted 174-9, Quetta were dismissed for 135 in the 19th over of their first playoff game in four years. Islamabad won by 39 runs.

Umair Yousuf's fighting 50 wasn't enough to overcome the damage inflicted in the first six overs by Wasim, whose three wickets helped to reduce Quetta to 16-5.

Pakistan to host tri-series

There was some positive news for Pakistan cricket fans as their cricket board announced that the country will host an ODI tri-series after 20 years.

The PCB said it will host South Africa and New Zealand in a one-day international tournament.

The series was greenlit on the sidelines of an ICC meeting in Dubai.

International cricket only fully returned to Pakistan in 2020, following attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.

Pakistan was stripped of its right to co-host the World Cup two years later, with security concerns lingering in the aftermath of those attacks.

The country last hosted a tri-series in 2004, which involved Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

Newly elected PCB chairman Mohsin Naqvi said the tri-series will serve as a build-up to the eight-nation Champions Trophy in 2025, the first ICC event in the country since the 1996 World Cup.

Updated: March 16, 2024, 8:28 AM