PSL trophy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Under the growing concerns over the coronavirus threat, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has decided to cut short the ongoing Pakistan Super League (PSL) 2020. On Friday, the board made some quick changes in the tournament’s format whereby the playoffs were substituted with the traditional semi-finals and now, the final will be played on March 18 instead of 22.

The change also meant that the final phase will see three games instead of four. This is the first time in the history of the PSL that the old-fashioned semi-finals and final will be played out. It will also allow overseas players to return home early.

Under the new schedule, both the semi-finals will be played at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, on March 17. The first game will start at 2 pm local time while the second will be played from 7 pm. The final will also be played at the same venue the very next day.

The semi-finalists were yet to be determined as the league phase was still not over. Four matches were yet to be played before the semi-finals though their scheduling was not changed. On Friday, Peshawar Zalmi will take on Multan Sultans in Karachi while on Saturday, Karachi Kings will take on Islamabad United, also in Karachi. On Saturday, Lahore Qalandars will face the Sultans in Lahore while the final game in Karachi will feature the Kings and Quetta Gladiators.

It’s still a tight race for the PSL 2020 semis

Sultans are the only team to have qualified for the last four with 12 points from eight games. The Kings and Zalmi are at nine points each though Zalmi have played nine games as against the Kings’ eight. The Qalandars are at eight points from nine outings. The final two slots have the United and Gladiators and both have seven points from nine matches. The tournament is still in an exciting phase to decide the semi-finalists.

The first semi-final will feature the first-ranked and fourth-ranked team in the points table while the second semi-final will witness the second and third teams. Under the playoff system, the first and second teams were to lock horns in the first qualifier with the losers getting a second chance to make the final by playing the winners of the third and fourth-placed sides in the second qualifier.