WELLINGTON: The fourth Twenty20 International between New Zealand and Australia has been shifted after new Covid-19 cases were reported in Auckland on Saturday.

Auckland was placed in limited lockdown for seven days from 6 a.m. Sunday with travel restrictions into and out of New Zealand’s largest city, strict limits on public gatherings, and a ban on sports events.

The third Australia-New Zealand T20 is due to be played in Wellington on Wednesday and the fourth match of the five-match series will also be played in that city on Friday, both without crowds.

While Auckland is at alert level 3, the rest of New Zealand is at level 2 which has fewer restrictions but limits public gatherings to 100 people.

The last T20 of the series is due to be at Tauranga on March 7 and might be able to be played with crowds if New Zealand moves back to level 1.

The alert level changes were announced late on Saturday after two new coronavirus cases were located in the community which could not directly be linked to earlier cases. Auckland recently returned to level 1 after a small community cluster of infections.

The Australia cricket team reportedly had already been reluctant to travel to Auckland because doing so likely would have required players to quarantine on their return home.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2021

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