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West Indies to play final Pakistan T20 match despite Covid outbreak

West Indies batsman Shai Hope in action against Pakistan on Monday. He has since tested positive for Covid. ©AFP

Karachi (AFP) - The West Indies looked set to play Pakistan in a third Twenty20 match Thursday despite a growing Covid outbreak in the touring squad, but the fate of the one-day international series hangs in the balance.

Both teams were seen at Karachi stadium for the final match of the three-game Twenty20 series, which the hosts lead 2-0.

Earlier, officials said a decision would be made on the fate of the tour after more West Indies players and staff tested positive for Covid-19 -- bringing the total to nine since they arrived in Pakistan last week.

By late afternoon, however, no announcement had been made save for a tweet by Pakistan cricket officials saying the final Twenty20 match would go ahead.

The ODI series due to start Saturday is part of the qualifying round for the 2023 World Cup.

Any cancellation would be a huge blow to Pakistan, which has seen tours by New Zealand and England called off in recent months on security grounds.

West Indies officials said the latest positive test results came from wicketkeeper-batsman Shai Hope, left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein, all-rounder Justin Greaves, assistant coach Roddy Estwick and physician Akshai Mansingh.

Left-arm pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell and all-rounders Roston Chase and Kyle Mayers tested positive on Saturday, along with a team official.

In October, New Zealand quit their first tour to Pakistan in 18 years shortly before the opening match was due to start after a security alert.

That was followed by England's decision to withdraw visits by their men's and women's teams scheduled for October.

Pakistan officials were furious with the cancellations, arguing security measures were lock-tight.

The cricket-mad nation endured a long spell without a visit from an international team following a terror attack on a bus carrying the Sri Lankan team in Lahore in 2009.

Pakistan were forced to play their home international matches abroad -- mostly in the United Arab Emirates -- until 2015, when normal service tentatively resumed.

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