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Australia's T20I tour of New Zealand hit by community coronavirus outbreak

FP Sports
·2 min read

Wellington: The upcoming T20Is between New Zealand and the Australia men's team and England women's side, to be played at the Eden Park next week, were on Saturday moved to Wellington due to fresh COVID-19 lockdown restrictions imposed here.

Both the matches will now be held behind closed doors, the country's cricket board (NZC) said on Saturday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has ordered Auckland, New Zealand's largest city and the centre of the outbreak, into a seven-day lockdown from Sunday, requiring people to stay at home except for essential shopping and work.

The remainder of the country faces Level Two restrictions which limit the size of public gatherings.

A New Zealand Cricket spokesman said the third match in the current T20 series, to be played in Wellington on Wednesday, will go ahead but without spectators.

Game four, scheduled for Auckland on Friday, has been moved to Wellington and, again, will be played behind closed doors.

The spokesman said they would wait for government advice on whether crowd restrictions are to be lifted before deciding if there will be spectators at the final game of the series in Tauranga on Sunday, 7 March.

Sport is not allowed under Level Three and Ardern's snap decision meant it was unlikely the start of the America's Cup final between holders Team New Zealand and Italian challengers Luna Rossa would go ahead on 6 March.

In Super Rugby Aotearoa, the Waikato Chiefs play the Otago Highlanders in Hamilton on Friday, while the Canterbury Crusaders host the Wellington Hurricanes on Saturday with both matches presumably in empty stadiums.

The Auckland Blues celebrated beating the Wellington Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday and then faced the prospect of finding a new short-term home.

Although they have a bye next week, coach Leon MacDonald said if they returned to Auckland, they would not be allowed to train.

With inputs from PTI and AFP

Also See: New Zealand won't block players from IPL participation if league clashes with first Test in England

Kane Williamson says he will not prefer skipping New Zealand tour of England due to IPL

New Zealand could travel with 20-man squad for 2021 T20 World Cup, says coach Gary Stead

Read more on First Cricket News by Firstpost.