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LAHORE: The remaining HBL-Pakistan Super League-6 matches will be played in Abu Dhabi from June 9 to 24, before the Pakistan men's side's departure for Manchester from the UAE capital on 25th June.

There will be six double-headers - five of them during the preliminary round and the sixth on 21 June, when Qualifier and Eliminator 1 matches will be played.

On 9 June, fourth-placed Lahore Qalandars will meet third-placed Islamabad United in what will be the 15th match of the tournament.

The delayed start due to logistical and operational challenges that were beyond the PCB's control will allow the sides sufficient time to train, practice and gear up for the biggest prize in Pakistan's cricket calendar.

United and Qalandars resumed training on Wednesday evening, while the other four sides will start training from Thursday. Players and player support personnel, who have completed the mandatory seven-day room isolation and returned three negative tests, are allowed to integrate with their sides and participate in training sessions, a PCB spokesman, said.

To make this schedule work in the best interest of the event, players, commercial partners and franchises, the PCB, in consultation with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), has agreed to delay the departure of the Pakistan men's side's players and players support personnel from Abu Dhabi to 25th June. The side will arrive on Manchester from where they will be transported to Derby for the mandatory room isolation period and training session. The side will move to Cardiff on 6 July where the first One-Day International will be played on 8 July.

PCB Chief Executive Wasim Khan said, "Since its inception in 2016, the HBL PSL has embraced and overcome numerous challenges, only to emerge as a stronger and competitive league year-on-year. The enhancement and credibility of the HBL PSL brand remains critical to the PCB and I am pleased that we have continued to take decisive actions in the face of ongoing pressures and major challenges outside of our control over the last 10 days. Everyone has worked tirelessly to find solutions and way forward, and I am delighted that we are now in a position to announce the complete schedule."

He said, "There was a consensus between the PCB and the franchises that it was imperative to complete the remaining matches in 2021 so that we have a clean 2022 for HBL PSL 7. Now, after overcoming all obstacles through due diligence and careful planning, I believe we have collectively achieved the desired objective that was set in March following the postponement. I can assure all the fans that our priority was always to deliver the complete tournament in Pakistan. However, due to extenuating circumstances we had to shift from that thinking for the remaining matches. Continuing to give the fans access to watch our emerging talent play alongside and against some of the world's very best will remain a priority for the HBL PSL 7 in 2022."

Khalid Al Zarooni, Vice Chairman - Emirates Cricket Board said, "ECB is pleased to once again host the HBL PSL matches in UAE as this is the place where HBL PSL was launched six years ago. This time the matches will be hosted at our world-class facilities at Abu Dhabi. Though the global pandemic has presented its challenges, under the guidance of our Chairman His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, ECB will continue to support PCB in delivering yet another memorable event."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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