Climax to PSL 2019 to still be held in Pakistan despite ongoing tension with India

Pakistan Cricket Board confirm final eight games of tournament will still be in home country after UAE action ends on Tuesday

Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Ehsan Mani speaks during a press conference at The Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on September 23, 2018. / AFP / ISHARA S. KODIKARA
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The final phase of the 2019 Pakistan Super League will go ahead in Pakistan as planned.

Ehsan Mani, the Pakistan Cricket Board chairman, confirmed on Thursday night that the league’s management had unanimously decided to return to the country, despite the ongoing military tension with India.

The UAE phase of the competition will end with two matches in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, before the competition decamps for fixtures in Lahore and Karachi.

The military crisis – and, in practical terms, the grounding of flights bound for Pakistan – in the recent days had led to the league reassessing its options.

Each of the three venues, in Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi, were consulted over the viability of staging the matches that are scheduled for Lahore and Karachi.

However, Mani addressed a press briefing alongside members of the management teams of five of the six franchises, and said all were agreed to continue as planned.

“The PSL matches will all be played in Pakistan as scheduled,” said Mani, speaking at the Dubai International Stadium ahead of the fixture between Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars.

“There are eight matches scheduled to be played in Pakistan, and those will be taking place.

"There has been no doubt in anyone’s mind that the PSL will continue in Pakistan, this was a unanimous decision of all of us.

“I’m also very grateful to our overseas players. They have all been supportive.”

The league’s organisers had already faced logistical issues caused by the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan.

Indian broadcaster IMG Reliance withdrew from its contract to produce coverage of the tournament following the deadly attack in Kashmir in mid-February.

“The team here got together and made a seamless transition [with the TV broadcasts], and I am absolutely confident the matches will be in Pakistan as planned,” Mani said.

Wasim Khan, the PCB’s managing director, said the board were grateful for the unanimity shown by the respective owners of the franchises.

“On behalf of myself and the executive team, the support of the owners who have been working really hard in making this happen, shows a great strength of unity,” Wasim said.

“[It shows] a great strength of passion and resilience, based on what has gone on over the past few days. We are getting prepared for the PSL in Pakistan, and we are going to put up a fantastic event.

“The grounds are going to be sold out. This is going to be a unique event, and something we are really looking forward to.”

The penultimate day of matches in the Dubai phase of the tournament started with Peshawar Zalmi beating Multan Sultans by seven wickets.

Umar Amin and Kieron Pollard shared a rapid unbeaten stand worth 89 to take Zalmi to the win, which also took them to the top of the table.

“We are ticking the boxes through the tournament with different match-winners,” Daren Sammy, the Peshawar captain said of a side that are looking to reclaim the title they won two years ago.