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25,000 fans turn up for Twenty20 drama in Dubai

Full house at Dubai International Cricket Stadium for the first time

Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
Fans flock to the Dubai Cricket Stadium to watch the match between Australia and Pakistan.
Gulf News

Dubai: It was a memorable night for the 25,000 fans that turned up at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium to watch the second Twenty20 match of the Cool & Cool Cup series between Pakistan and Australia.

Never before had all the seats in the Dubai International Cricket Stadium been sold out and the game saw the Twenty20 format at its best, with the match being decided in a super over eliminator.

Though it ended almost an hour after its scheduled finish, the capacity crowd stayed till the very end.

The finish was so thrilling that almost all spectators stood up from their seats.

Roadworks around the stadium had caused huge traffic jams before the match, meaning many fans were unable to reach the stadium before the start.

Mohammad Hafeez, the skipper of the Pakistan team, hailed the fans’ response and said that he felt as if he was playing in his home country.

“I was really happy to see the huge crowd. They had come in large numbers to support Pakistan,” said Hafeez, who waved to the crowd after the victory.

“We have not been playing in our home territory for the last three years and the boys were missing the home crowd. This time we really felt like we are playing at home.”

Though the third match of the series on September 10 is of only statistical importance as Pakistan have already won the series, both teams do not want to lose, especially as it is their last match before the World Twenty20 competition in Sri Lanka starts on September 18.

Crowd favourite Shahid Afridi is likely to miss the third match.

“I don’t want to take any chances with Afridi because I want him for the World Cup. He is the match-winner for Pakistan,” said Hafeez.

“If he recovers in time fully for the third match he will be my first choice to be in the XI. At the moment I don’t think he will be available for the third game.”