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T20 World Cup social distancing pods compared to a 'Squid Game concept'

Mirror logo Mirror 23/10/2021 Matthew Cooper

The T20 World Cup clash between South Africa and Australia saw fans seated in socially distanced pods at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

On one side of the stadium there is a grassy bank and, in order to maintain social distancing, organisers have introduced the pods for spectators.

Cricket fans were quick to react to the set-up on social media, with one labelling it "the most aesthetically pleasing form of social distancing at any sporting event so far".

"Looks like some sort of squid game concept," added another.

"I think ‘the pods’ in Abu Dhabi look awful. Am I alone in that?" asked a third.

Cricket fans at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi are watching the T20 World Cup in socially distanced pods © Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC via Getty Images Cricket fans at the Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi are watching the T20 World Cup in socially distanced pods

"Should be a thing, even in post-covid times imo," claimed another.

The ICC revealed their plans for the pods earlier this month in a statement which read: "In the UAE all venues will be operating at approximately 70% of maximum seated capacity, whilst Abu Dhabi has also introduced new socially distanced ‘pods’ of a maximum of 4 spectators on their east and west grass mounds."

Abu Dhabi Cricket's CEO Matt Boucher added: "Thanks to the incredible work of The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority, Department of Health and Abu Dhabi Sports Council we are now able to safely increase our maximum seat capacity to 70 percent and introduce new socially-distanced pods of four spectators to our family west and east grass mounds.

"This brings our capacity up to well over 10,000 as we ready ourselves to hear the real roar of cricket’s incredible fans!"

During the game, South Africa struggled to post a decent total, with Aiden Markram the only batter scoring more than 19 in their innings.

They lost three wickets in the powerplay, with captain Temba Bavuma, the in-form Rassie van der Dussen and the dangerous Quinton De Kock all departing.

Despite Markram's 40 and some useful lower-order runs from Kagiso Rabada, South Africa's 118-9 was undoubtedly a below-par total.

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