The UAE will host Expo 2020!
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UAE scores victory as cricket host

posted on 23/04/2009: 1895 views

It was a great victory for Pakistan last night over the cricket world champions Australia in a tense game at Dubai Sports City. But for the city and the nation, the historic first match marked an even greater milestone.

The game heralded the emergence of Dubai as an international cricket venue and could lay the foundations for major tournaments to be hosted in the UAE in the near future.

The large Pakistan community and close geographical proximity have made the UAE the favoured "second home” for Pakistan, following the terror attacks last month that made domestic fixtures untenable. Shahid Afridi, the all-rounder and crowd favourite, made sure his fans weren't disappointed when he took six wickets to pave the way for a four-wicket win over Australia.

Following the success of the Abu Dhabi-hosted West Indies series in November, the addition of another world-class stadium and the visit of the world champions have put the cricketing spotlight firmly on the UAE.

With terrorism and political instability making cricket in the subcontinent a risky proposition, the UAE's emergence as the leading neutral venue could not have come at a better time. The series serves as a showcase to demonstrate that the UAE has the infrastructure, security and cricketing culture to replace Pakistan as a World Cup host in 2011.

The festival of cricket in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which will include five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and a Twenty 20 match, started with a bang yesterday as both teams sought to entertain the passionate crowd.

The arena, which has taken three years to complete, welcomed its first cricket supporters and thorough organisation and planning helped avoid the chaos that has marred some sporting events in the city in the past.

The majority of the crowd were drawn from the city's large Pakistani community, many of whom wore face paint and waved giant flags from the terraces of the state-of-the art, 25,000-capacity stadium.

However, a small but vocal group of Australians assured that the match was played in a competitive, carnival atmosphere. – The National


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