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Saturday June 15, 2024

Pak-NZ World Cup warm-up match to be held behind closed doors in India

Hyderabad police "unable" to provide adequate security citing religious festivals in the city

By Sohail Imran
September 19, 2023
New Zealand´s Mark Chapman (C) plays a shot during the fourth T20I cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi, on April 20, 2023. — AFP
New Zealand´s Mark Chapman (C) plays a shot during the fourth T20I cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Rawalpindi, on April 20, 2023. — AFP

LAHORE: The warm-up match between Pakistan and New Zealand — scheduled to be held on September 29 in Hyderabad, India — will be held behind closed doors without spectators due to "security concerns".

The development comes as Hyderabad police, citing religious festivals namely Ganesh Visarjan and Eid Miladun Nabi expressed their inability to provide security for the match, the Indian media reported.

"The processions will go on late into the night and the local police would not be able to provide adequate security for a match of this scale," said a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official.

However, the official added that there would continue to be full security for both the "teams during their stay and transit to the stadium".

The BCCI, in collaboration with the hosting association and ticketing partners, will arrange for ticket refunds for the affected spectators.

Previously, the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) had requested a change in the schedule for back-to-back matches scheduled for October 9 and 10, involving New Zealand-Netherlands and Pakistan-Sri Lanka, respectively, in the city due to security concerns raised by local police. Although a late change in dates was not feasible, security authorities have accommodated this request.

It must be noted that Pakistan is set to play a total of eleven matches in the World Cup, with four of them, including two warm-up matches and two group games, scheduled to take place in Hyderabad.

The Men in Green are expected to arrive in Hyderabad via Dubai on September 27.

Pakistan's schedule for the ICC World Cup 2023:

October 6 - vs Netherlands in Hyderabad

October 10 - vs Sri Lanka in Hyderabad

October 14 - vs India in Ahmedabad

October 20 - vs Australia in Bengaluru

October 23 - vs Afghanistan in Chennai

October 27 - vs South Africa in Chennai

October 31 - vs Bangladesh in Kolkata

November 4 - vs New Zealand Bengaluru (Day match)

November 11 - vs England in Kolkata

The day matches will start at 10:00 am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) while all other matches will be day-night fixtures starting at 01:30 pm (PST).

If Pakistan qualify for the semi-finals, they will play in Kolkata.

If India qualifies for the semi-finals, they will play in Mumbai unless playing against Pakistan, in which case they will play in Kolkata.