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T20 World Cup – Crowd trouble mars Pakistan-Afghanistan clash as ‘thousands’ of ticketless fans attempt to force entry

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ICC promise ‘thorough investigation’ after disturbances outside Dubai Stadium

The ICC have asked the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to “undertake a thorough investigation” following crowd trouble caused by “thousands of ticketless fans” at Pakistan and Afghanistan’s Super 12s game in the men’s T20 World Cup in Dubai.

The sides’ previous World Cup meeting, at Headingley in 2019, had been marred by crowd trouble, security lapses and pitch invasions and despite a pre-match plea from Rashid Khan to “remain cool and calm and just focus on enjoying the game”, huge crowds descended on Dubai International Stadium in attempts to gain entry.

In a statement issued at midnight local time, the ICC said that more than 16,000 tickets had been issued for the game but that “thousands” of fans without them travelled to the stadium “and then attempted to force entry”. At least one external barrier was pushed over, with a surge of supporters gathered outside the stadium’s main gates throughout the game itself.

“Dubai Police and security staff secured the stadium to ensure the safety of everyone inside and brought in significant additional resources to disperse the crowd and calm the situation,” the statement said. “At approximately 7pm, Dubai Police directed that all gates should remain closed and no further entry was permitted to maintain a safe and controlled environment inside the venue.

“The ICC has asked the ECB to undertake a thorough investigation into tonight’s events to learn any lessons and will work closely with authorities to ensure there is no repeat of this situation in the future.”

Fans have been permitted at 70-80 percent capacity throughout the World Cup depending on local restrictions, with tickets for matches involving Asian teams selling well. The ICC’s statement included an apology to “any fans with valid tickets who were unable to enter the stadium tonight”, who were advised to contact the ticket provider.

Mohammad Nabi, Afghanistan’s captain, said in his post-match press conference: “For the Afghan fans, please buy a ticket and come to the stadium. Don’t repeat again. This is not good.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

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