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Abu Dhabi Cricket gears up for T20 World Cup after IPL success

Filed on October 13, 2021
Mumbai Indians captain Rohit Sharma with Manish Pandey of Sunrisers Hyderabad during their IPL match at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. (BCCI)

Kolkata Knight Riders' wicketkeeper-batsmen Dinesh Karthik praises the facilities in Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi leg of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) ended in dramatic fashion at Zayed Cricket Stadium last Friday, as Mumbai Indians beat Sunrisers Hyderabad in the highest scoring match since the tournament landed in the UAE last month.

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Mumbai Indians' stunning effort of 235-9 in their 42-run victory is the highest score of any innings this season, whether in India or the UAE, and record champions Mumbai Indians’ largest ever total in the IPL.

The combined 428 runs scored between the two sides means that Abu Dhabi has played host to the two highest scoring matches in the emirates.

Friday's game brought the curtain down on two weeks of world-class cricket at Abu Dhabi Cricket, which started on September 20 with Kolkata Knight Riders' victory over Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Since then, cricket fans in Abu Dhabi have seen 2,475 runs scored and 91 wickets taken at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

A total of 15,200 supporters safely watched the action unfold. With capacity capped at 2,000 each game, that means the stadium was 95 per cent full across the eight matches.

To ensure the safety of all involved, there were over 50 volunteers and marshals on hand for each game, as well as 50 members of Abu Dhabi Police and a further 47 Abu Dhabi Cricket staff members.

There were also over 150 hours of practice sessions at the venue as Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians both made Abu Dhabi Cricket their home.

Kolkata Knight Riders wicketkeeper-batsmen Dinesh Karthik was one of a number of players to hail the quality of the facilities at the venue.

"(Abu Dhabi Cricket) is second to none in terms that there is a main ground, two smaller ground and another ground where there are wickets and you can have a full run up for the bowlers. I can definitely say it's one of the best going around in the world," he said.

Zayed Cricket Academy duo Raees Ayan, 21, and Sailles Jaishankar, 18, were brought into train with Kolkata Knight Riders after being recommended by coach Oscar Nauhaus and they played an important role as net bowlers in the franchise's setup, helping the Knight Riders reach the knockouts at the expense of the team from Mumbai.

"All eight VIVO IPL matches in Abu Dhabi have been incredible, and it has been fantastic to see our cricket fans back in the Zayed Cricket Stadium. We cannot wait to build on that momentum by delivering another world-class tournament, with the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 soon on our doorstep at Abu Dhabi Cricket," said Abu Dhabi Cricket CEO Matt Boucher.

"We are also immensely proud of both Raees and Sailles, who have done us proud as vital members of the Kolkata Knight Riders' setup. It was an incredible experience for them and one that will not only have a lasting impact on their games but will also feed back into domestic cricket in the UAE."

Next up is the ICC Men's World T20, which gets underway in Abu Dhabi from 18 October.

The first-round matches of Ireland vs. Netherlands and Namibia vs. Sri Lanka will take place at Zayed Cricket Academy on October 18. Warm-up games between Afghanistan and South Africa, as well as New Zealand vs Australia will also be played on site at the newly built Tolerance Oval, at the same time.





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