Heads of World Cricketing Club Giants Give Zayed Stadium & Abu Dhabi Cricket Top Rating After Thrilling T20 Tournament in Abu Dhabi

The UAE capital’s Zayed Cricket Stadium has been given top ranking from some of the world’s most successful T20 franchises cricketing greats following the success of this weekend’s thrilling inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 which saw the Lahore Qalandars lift the debut trophy by 15 runs from close rivals the Multiply Titans.

Cricketers, team owners and coaches from the six international teams which battled for honours  – the Auckland Aces, Lahore Qalandars, Hobart Hurricanes, Yorkshire Vikings, Boost Defenders and Multiply Titans – were universal in their praise of the new stadium facilities and management by Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC), the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) – supported entity charged with raising the sport’s profile in the emirate.

And the cricketing greats were full of optimism for the potential of the tournament which is set to run annually through to 2020.

Sameen Rana, COO of the Lahore Qalanders commented:  “We have had a tremendous tournament, obviously culminating in the pinnacle of becoming the Abu Dhabi T20 champions.

“All the team has been impressed with what we have found here – the facilities, the organisation and the very clear commitment to cricket that Abu Dhabi is now living up to.

If invited, we will certainly be back next year and are happy to endorse Abu Dhabi on the international cricket scene. Tournaments like this open up huge opportunity for our up-and-coming young players. It was an honour and privilege to be here and our thanks to Abu Dhabi Cricket and Abu Dhabi Sports Council for making this tournament a reality.

It is a tournament which further develops the game and will greatly contribute to the lives of young talent helping them to make a career in cricket.”

The T20 tournament was launched by ADC as part of its campaign to take Abu Dhabi’s name into the higher echelons of cricket.

The campaign, said Jacques Faul, CEO, of South Africa’s Multiply Titans, had met with considerable initial outing success.

“Abu Dhabi has shown itself to be a true world sporting destination – there’s nowhere else like it in the world. The tournament provided thrilling, unscripted entertainment for all and I was very impressed with the project management – I’ve only praise for the organisation. It’s been well communicated, and the facilities are world class.  My batsmen want to play on this wicket everyday!

“The tournament has huge potential and I can only see it growing as it’s a format that reaches into peoples’ hearts and minds.

It was also great for our brand and a wonderful opportunity for our players to compete here. Tournaments can turn players into heroes which inspires others: that’s the power of hope. Look at Tony de Zorzi – a great innings yesterday and the phones have already started ringing.

The sad history of our country meant 20 years ago, kids like him wouldn’t have been able to play but now they are heroes and role models for others.”

ADC is now turning its attention to building on the momentum to turn in an enhanced performance in 2019.

“This was a very solid start to Abu Dhabi’s own – unique – T20 concept. As with every inaugural Sports Council event, year one is all about ensuring the highest levels of player and team welfare, as well as delivering a truly world-class television production to broadcast our destination product and the commercial roster of our competing teams. Without these dual priorities and the subsequent wave of player endorsements, future editions become all the harder. The players and teams are critical, said Boucher.

We wanted to deliver our own event; an event we could sustainably grow with a suite of hand-picked global partners who shared Abu Dhabi’s vision. I’m thrilled we’ve delivered what we set out to achieve and to receive the endorsement of globally-recognized CEOs, wanting to return and play in 2019, is icing on the cake and everything would could have asked for. ,” said Matt Boucher, Acting CEO, ADC.

“What we have witnessed this past weekend is cricketing action at its very best. Who will forget the highlights of the blistering maiden centuries from Multiply Titans’ youngster Tony de Zorzi and Lahore Qalanders’ Captain Sohail Akhtar.

Our desire to host our first ever owned product is now fully crystallised, with six of the world’s best T20 franchises here in our own backyard, competing to a truly international multicultural audience under the Abu Dhabi night sky.

We’re fresh off the back of hosting 55,000 fans over five games for the 2018 Asia Cup and ready to once again build our product and strengthen our international cricketing credentials,” said H.E Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, ADSC.

“We’ve navigated the global cricketing landscape with great prowess – and my thanks to everyone at Sporta Group for their consultation, and I’m pleased to say the Abu Dhabi T20 event is here to stay. First-time events are never easy, but it’s been exciting and we’re already looking to build on these foundations for 2019.”
Captain Sohail Akhtar

Having injected significant investment in the iconic Zayed Cricket Stadium and its world-standard Academy, ADC is now looking to further build the UAE capital’s cricketing credentials and inspire a new generation of stars from within the emirate.

Improvements at the Zayed Stadium include an increase in capacity from 20,000 – 22,000, newly renovated wickets, the installation of 17 grass and eight AstroTurf nets, new changing rooms and office facilities and 500-lux LED Musco floodlights on the two nursery ovals, allowing for evening matches and community cricket. Alongside major upgrades to the Stadium’s thriving academy, the investment now sees ADC hosting over 25 operators driving an impressive footfall of 12,000 children and adults on a weekly basis.