“The UAE has illustrated its deeply rooted value of tolerance and coexistence in playing a vital role in international cricket during such a challenging year,” His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance, Chairman Emirates Cricket Board & Abu Dhabi Cricket

Abu Dhabi, UAE – 3 JULY 2021: Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC), the UAE capital’s distinguished multi-purpose sports facility, has entered the challenging 2020/21 season record books having hosted more ICC-approved international matches than any other global operation, further cementing its standing as a world-leading cricket venue.

Over the 11-month season, ADC hosted 81 ICC-approved international matches, and, with the support of the Emirates Cricket Board, the UAE hosted a total of 123 matches – a combined tally unsurpassed by any other nation. 

With rigorous COVID-19 prevention protocols in place, in partnership with the National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority, Department of Health Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and with the support of the Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi, ADC hosted the Dream 11 Indian Premier League 2020, the Alubond Abu Dhabi T10, HBL Pakistan Super League 6 and international teams Afghanistan, Ireland, UAE, and Zimbabwe across Test, One Day Internationals, T20s and T10 formats.

Throughout the season, ADC accumulated impressive results across the game’s four formats including:

  • 244 practice sessions
  • 81 matches
  • 22,278 runs
  • 2,229 fours
  • 959 sixes
  • 904 wickets
  • 554 catches
  • 103 fifties
  • 26 teams
  • 15 countries
  • 10 centuries

ADC rose to the global COVID-19 pandemic challenges by supporting international federations such as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) through its highly effective and successful Covid-secure response which enabled the state-of-the-art facility to continue to take world-class cricket to the sport’s vast global fan community.

His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and Chairman of both the Emirates Cricket Board and Abu Dhabi Cricket Club, commented:

“The hosting of such a large amount of cricket in the context of the pandemic is testament to the UAE’s leadership in the hosting and organising of high calibre, global tournaments. Abu Dhabi Cricket has further bolstered the UAE capital’s flourishing reputation as an unmissable cricketing destination this season.”

HE Sheikh Nahayan said the record-breaking hosting against the backdrop of testing times also illustrated the deeply rooted value of tolerance shared by the UAE and cricket.

“The sport, like our nation, epitomizes the melting pot of the richness and diversity of our world’s cultures. I am gratified that we have acted in harmony and unity with our global friends and colleagues to proffer a pillar of support to international cricket this season,” he said.

“I would like to thank all government entities and parties involved for their tireless efforts and diligence in applying the highest global safety standards to ensure that all matches, tournaments and training sessions took place in a safe and bio-secure environment.”

His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council stated: “Abu Dhabi Cricket’s historic, record-setting year demonstrates how fully cricket is now integrated into Abu Dhabi’s thriving sports calendar; from the fast-paced Abu Dhabi T10 to the exciting drama of international test matches, cricket now takes centre stage with a burgeoning audience.”

Matt Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket: “It is with immense gratitude that I thank the team at Abu Dhabi Cricket and the Government stakeholders including Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Police, Department of Culture & Tourism – Abu Dhabi, Department of Health – Abu Dhabi and the National Crisis & Emergency Management Authority for spearheading our strategic and collaborative response to the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presented, which resulted in such great success.”

The ground-breaking season included the following highlights:

Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL)

From September 19 – November 10, 2020 ADC hosted the IPL for the second time in the tournament’s history, with 22 of the 60 games in the 13th edition of the wildly popular and highly prestigious tournament being played at Zayed Cricket Stadium, including the opening match.

Cricketing superstars such as Virat Kohli, Ben Stokes and MS Dhoni lived up to their awe-inspiring reputations in their performances. Tournament Champions, Mumbai Indians and the highly popular Kolkata Knight Riders made Abu Dhabi their home throughout the tournament, using ADC as their hub for preparations and training.

Sky247.net Abu Dhabi UAE v Ireland ODI Series

The IPL was followed by the UAE v Ireland ODI series, an exciting match up for the teams as they returned to international cricket for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. The home team stormed to an emphatic victory in the first ODI, however Ireland managed to level the score with spinner Simranjit Singh recording career best figures to lead Ireland to a comprehensive victory in the second ODI.

Kardan University Afghanistan v Ireland ODI Series

The Afghanistan v Ireland ODI series was hosted throughout January 2021. Afghanistan’s exciting young talent, Rahmanullah Gurbaz made an outstanding maiden ODI century on his debut in the series’ opening match. Gurbaz’s performance set the tone for the remainder of the series, as Afghanistan claimed a clean sweep and were named series’ champions despite an impressive knock of 128 from Ireland’s Paul Stirling in the third and final match.

Alubond Abu Dhabi T10

January 28 saw the return of ‘Cricket’s Fastest Format’, the Alubond Abu Dhabi T10. The fast paced and high energy tournament was conducted over ten days, with the eight teams, each stacked with emerging talent and international superstars, attracting global TV audiences of over 100 million.

The Northern Warriors, led by West Indian star Nicholas Pooran, were crowned Champions after defeating Dwayne Bravo’s Delhi Bulls by eight wickets in the final held on Saturday February 6, 2021.

Abu Dhabi Sunshine Series 2021

ADC’s international bilateral season closed in March with the Afghanistan v Zimbabwe Test & T20i series. The teams shared the Test Series trophy with Zimbabwe’s Sean Williams named Player of the Series, smashing a total of 264 off 500 balls over three matches. However, Afghanistan claimed a clean sweep over the T20i format, winning all three matches with outstanding performances from Rashid Khan, Karim Janat (Player of the Series) and Rahmanullah Gurbaz.

HBL Pakistan Super League Season 6

After Covid-19 brought the tournament in Pakistan to a halt half-way through the season in late March 2021, the Pakistan Cricket Board relocated it to Abu Dhabi Cricket for the remaining 20 matches of HBL Pakistan Super League Season 6.

Multan Sultans took on Peshawar Zalmi in an exciting final hosted on Thursday 24th June. Multan batted first and posted an impressive 206-4 before their bowling attack broke Peshawar Zalmi down, with Imran Tahir taking 3 wickets in just 4 balls, keeping Zalmi to just 159. Multan Sultans lifted the HBL PSL Season 6 trophy surrounded by a spectacular fireworks display!

For more information about the venue visit www.abudhabicricket.ae or follow ADC on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook: @abudhabicricket.

  • ENDS –

About Abu Dhabi Cricket

Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC) is one of the most pioneering cricket organizations in the world. It hosts the Abu Dhabi T10, the first internationally approved ten-over format tournament along with numerous international tournaments, and is home and developer of the largest world-class, multi-sports facility in the United Arab Emirates which caters to elite, professional and emerging sporting stars as well as over 12,000 community athletes who use the facility every week.

ADC is supported by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and operates under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Tolerance who chairs the Emirates Cricket Board as well as Abu Dhabi Cricket.

In line with its aim of fostering great interest in, and uptake of cricket, ADC also runs its own cricket academy for youngsters under 7 to under 19 with more than 10 professional coaches, 350 active members and over 100 youngsters competing in leagues weekly.

ADC has undergone, and continues to undergo, significant upgrades in facilities and operations. In addition to its iconic 22,000 capacity Zayed Cricket Stadium, the venue caters to over 40 sports and boasts of 2 floodlit international cricket ovals, 20 international cricket turf nets, 4 floodlit netball courts, a 5-a-side ‘Soccer City’, 4 multi-purpose floodlit AstroTurf pitches, 5 floodlit FIFA approved grass football pitches, 5 tennis hard courts, 6 padel tennis courts, a fully equipped community fitness studio, a restaurant and sports café.

Today ADC is the venue of choice for all of Abu Dhabi’s international cricket matches having welcomed tournaments between India, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies to also hosting the 2014 & 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) and the 2018 Asia Cup. It also serves as a training venue for international clubs and associations including the England and Wales Cricket Board’s (ECB) England Lions, the Afghanistan National Team, and numerous English County Cricket Clubs as well having recently served as a training camp for the reigning HSBC World Rugby 7’s champion All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens teams, and as a training base for 10 of the 24 competitors in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, including finalists Japan.

ADC’s current international flagship event – the bold Abu Dhabi T10 – brings together over 120 of world cricket’s biggest names to compete in the game’s fastest format. The fifth edition of this highly popular cricket spectacular will be held over 15 days from November 19-December 4, 2021 taking in the UAE’s 50th National Day weekend.

 About Abu Dhabi Sports Council

Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) was established in 2006 by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

ADSC is aligned to the emirate’s leadership vision to develop sport and youth activities. The Council promotes an effective, emirate-wide sports calendar that stimulates the desire to participate in quality sports among all Abu Dhabi residents and helps the talented and motivated reach their sporting potential.

The sports council supports the organisation and hosting of many international sporting events in Abu Dhabi. These include the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, UAE Tour, WTA Abu Dhabi International Women’s Tennis Championship, World Triathlon Championship, Leaders Sports Business Summit, Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and IJF Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam, Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, ADNOC Abu Dhabi Marathon, Spartan World Championship, World Swimming Championships, Mubadala World Tennis Championships, and many other international events, cementing the reputation and position of Abu Dhabi as a global destination for sport.

ADSC believes that global and community sporting events provide many positive opportunities, most notably the encouragement of all segments and groups of society to practice sports activities.

ADSC firmly believes that sporting events deliver a host of benefits for the emirate and its residents, these include improved health and wellness, the building of community spirit, the discovery of local talent and enhancement of the reputation of the emirate as a world-class sporting destination.

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Tara Grewal

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