The National Stadium, also known as the National Bank Cricket Arena for sponsorship reasons, is a cricket stadium in Karachi, Pakistan, owned by the Pakistan Cricket Board. It is the home ground of the Karachi Kings and many other Karachi national cricket teams. It is the largest cricket stadium in Pakistan with a capacity of 34,228 spectators.
It was built in the early 1950s under the supervision of senior civil engineer Mr. Abdul Rasheed Khan (WP) and Mr. Kafiluddin (EP), it was formally inaugurated in April 1955. In October 2022, the National Bank of Pakistan and the PCB agreed to a five-year naming rights deal, and it resulted in the stadium’s new title, National Bank Cricket Arena.
The Pakistan cricket team has a remarkable Test record on the ground, having only lost twice in 45 Test matches (against England December 2000–01 and South Africa October 2007–08). The stadium has witnessed several memorable moments such as Viv Richards’s 181 against Sri Lanka in the 1987 Cricket World Cup, Mohammad Yousuf’s record-breaking ninth century in breaking Viv Richards’ record for most runs in a calendar year, and the famous century of Kamran Akmal. against India on a very difficult ground in 2006, after Pakistan collapsed to 39 for 6, as part of a memorable come-from-behind win.
|Built In:||21 April 1955|
|Home Teams:||Karachi Kings|
National Cricket Stadium History
The stadium was established in April 1955. At the time, Karachi was the capital of Pakistan, but the only cricket ground was the Karachi Gymkhana, which had limited seating capacity. A plan to develop a new stadium was formulated for which land of 174.5 acres was acquired by the Pakistan Department of Public Works through the Karachi Commissioner. After which, under the direction of Mr. Kafiluddin Ahmed, Senior Civil Engineer of East Pakistan, and Mr. Abdul Rasheed Khan, Senior Civil Engineer of West Pakistan, it was formally inaugurated in April 1955. The stadium was built, which became Karachi’s fifth and Pakistan’s. 11th first-class wicket.
The inaugural first-class match was played at NSK between Pakistan and India on 20-24 April 1955 and became a stronghold of Pakistani cricket. In 34 tests between that first match and December 2000, Pakistan has won 17 and has never been beaten. They lost their first test on the ground against England in 2000-01.
In November 1989, Sachin Tendulkar and Waqar Younis played their first test match at this stadium.
The first ODI at the National Stadium came against the West Indies on 21 November 1980, coming down to the last ball when Gordon Greenidge imperiously brought Imran Khan to the cover limit with three needed. It has been a much less successful limited-overs venue, with defeats outnumbering wins. In fact, in just under five years from the start of 1996, Pakistan failed to win on the ground. It was also the site of a quarterfinal match at the 1996 World Cup.
A 75-meter-long and 44-meter-wide screen was installed on the ground in 2007 at a cost of Rs. 7 million.
In September 2019, Pakistan Cricket Board named it as one of the venues to host matches in the 2019-20 Quaid-e-Azam Trophy.
In October 2022, the Pakistan Cricket Board renamed the stadium from Karachi National Stadium to National Bank Cricket Arena after signing a successful deal with the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) for 5 years. This was the first naming rights deal for a stadium in Pakistan. According to the agreement, the NBP will be able to use the signs and nomenclature of the venue outside the playing area.
Return of international cricket
PCB Chairman Najam Sethi announced in 2017 that the Karachi National Stadium will host the final match of the 2018 Pakistan Super League on 25 March 2018. The stadium’s changing rooms and VIP boxes were renovated for the final, along with the fields and gardens. Around 800 CCTV cameras and several elevators were also installed. Around Rs. $1.5 billion was spent on this renovation, which was taking place for the first time since the 1996 Cricket World Cup.
The historic match, which was played between Islamabad United and Peshawar Zalmi, saw the return of international stars to the National Stadium after a nine-year gap, ended up relatively one-sided as 2016 champions Islamabad United were crowned champions. once again. The match was the first major cricket event since 2009 in the port city and was very well received by the crowd and the stadium was packed for the big game. In order to make it a successful event, many security forces were deployed in and around the stadium to maintain the public order situation, thanks to their efforts, the event was held successfully.
In 2017, the PCB Chairman had announced that the West Indies would tour Pakistan for the 3-match T20I series which was scheduled to be played in Lahore, the matches to be played in November 2017. However, in early November 2017, reports announced that the West Indies team would not travel to Pakistan for security reasons. Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Najam Sethi stated that the original schedule was changed due to unforeseen weather, logistical issues and challenges with security. In March 2018, the PCB confirmed that the fixtures would take place in April at the Karachi National Stadium after the conclusion of PSL 2018. The last time an international cricket match was played in Karachi was in February 2009, when Sri Lanka tours Pakistan. That series was cut short following a 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka national cricket team.
It was the first tour in Pakistan of more than one match against another Test nation since the Zimbabwe tour in May 2015.
Sri Lanka vs Pakistan (2019)
In May 2019, at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) meeting in Singapore, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was requested by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to play the two Test matches in Pakistan. In July 2019, the SLC sent a security expert to assess the situation in Pakistan, and Sri Lanka Cricket said it was “likely” they would play a test match in the country. Sri Lanka made another decision after a security delegation inspected the facilities in Lahore and Karachi in early August 2019. The delegation gave Sri Lanka Cricket “very positive feedback”, suggesting that Sri Lanka may be willing to play a Test match in Pakistan. On 22 August 2019, the Sri Lankan Minister of Sports confirmed the deal for him to play a three-match ODI and T20I series in Pakistan in October, but ruled out playing test matches. On August 23, PCB announced the dates of the ODI and T20I series. Sri Lanka would play the three match ODI series at the National Stadium, starting on 27 September. This was supposed to be the first time since 21 January 2009 that an ODI match will take place at the National Stadium. But, the first ODI match was abandoned due to heavy rain. It was the first time an ODI match had been knocked out at the venue. As a result, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) rescheduled the second ODI match, pushing it back one day to 30 September 2019, to allow the ground staff more time to prepare the grounds. As a result, the Estadio Nacional had to wait a few more days to host an ODI match.
In October 2019, the PCB proposed to host the two test matches in Pakistan, rather than the United Arab Emirates, at venues in Rawalpindi and Karachi. Sri Lanka Cricket said that they were “very positive” regarding the progress of playing Test cricket in Pakistan. In November 2019, PCB confirmed the dates and locations for the Test series. The National Stadium hosted the second test match, starting on December 19.
National Cricket Stadium has a seating capacity of 34,228.
National Cricket Stadium Seating Plan
- Highest team total: 765/6d, by Pakistan against Sri Lanka in 2009.
- Lowest team total: 80, by Australia against Pakistan in 1956.
- Highest run chase achieved: 315/9, by in 2009.
- Highest partnership: 437, by Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera against Pakistan in 2010.
One Day International
- Highest team total: 374/4, by India against Hong Kong, 25 June 2008.
- Highest run chase (Won or Loss) 288/5 by Pakistan against India, 13 March 2004.
- Lowest team total: 115, by Bangladesh against Pakistan, 4 July 2008.
- Highest run chase achieved: 310/4, by India against Sri Lanka, 3 July 2008.
- Highest individual score: 181, by Viv Richards against Sri Lanka, 13 October 1987.
- Highest partnership: 201, by Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara against Bangladesh, 30 June 2008.
- Highest team total: 221/3 by England against Pakistan, 23 September 2022.
- Lowest team total: 60/9 by West Indies against Pakistan, 1 April 2018.
- Highest individual score: 110* by Babar Azam against England, 22 September 2022.
- Highest partnership: 203*, by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan against England, 22 September 2022.
National Cricket Stadium pitch record
The pitch at the National Stadium is known to be a balanced one, with something on offer for both batsmen and bowlers. The pitch is generally good for batting in the first innings, with a lot of runs being scored, but it tends to slow down and assist spin bowlers as the match progresses. In recent years, the pitch has been known to offer some turn and bounce for the spinners, which has helped the home team in their matches. However, the pitch can also be unpredictable and has produced some high-scoring matches as well. Overall, the National Stadium in Karachi is considered a good cricket wicket and has played host to many high-profile matches over the years.
Read Also: Top 5 Cricket Stadiums in Pakistan