Abu Dhabi Cricket (ADC), with the full support of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), will host the UAE capital’s first owned T20 cricket tournament this October. Six of the world’s best limited overs teams will descend upon the city to contest the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy at Zayed Cricket Stadium from 4 – 6 October.
A star-studded line up has been secured, which will see some of the best existing and established teams from the sub-continent, Australia, Africa and the UK gather for a one-of-a-kind international tournament.
The contenders includes: Yorkshire Vikings, the T20 team of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, the most successful team in English cricketing history; Afghanistan’s first-class Boost Defenders, who, bearing the historic name of Lashkargah city carry the honour of Helmand Province on their shoulders; Tasmania’s ‘Purple Army,’ the Hobart Hurricanes, who hold the three highest run chases in Australia’s Big Bash domestic T20 league; the Lahore Qalandars, a mainstay of the Pakistan Super League and the second most expensive franchise in limited overs history and the Multiply Titans, South Africa’s most award-winning and successful domestic franchise.
The line-up will see some of the sport’s marquee players take to the Zayed Cricket Stadium pitch. The Boost Defenders have recruited big-hitting batting powerhouse and world-class T20 superstar Chris Gayle; Tymal Mills, the 25-year old English international who’s claimed the title of England’s fastest bowler averaging speeds of around 93mph will don the Hobart Hurricane’s purple; Lahore Qalandars’ Yasir Shah, the Pakistani international who’s the fifth fastest bowler in the history of Test cricket to take 100 wickets with his leg break googlies; Gary Ballance the striking left hander who was the first Yorkshire captain to score two hundreds in the same first class match and Titans’ flashy middle order batsman Farhaan Behardien, who was recently crowned Titans’ T20 Player of the Year and whose team will be led by the experienced South African veteran Albie Morkel – another of the rainbow nation’s strong all-rounders.
An exciting announcement is also imminent about a sixth and final team to round out the competition comprising of some of world cricket’s biggest T20 names.
“Make no mistake, this a dynamic field of the best of the best,” said His Excellency Aref Al Awani, General Secretary, ADSC. “With this level of player power, the tournament allows Abu Dhabi to deliver on our mandate of ushering in an exciting new era of cricket in the emirate.
“Fans can look forward to three days of thrilling entertainment in what we anticipate will be fiercely fought action to lift the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 trophy. The tournament will certainly help cement Abu Dhabi’s international sporting credentials, reinforcing its major events hub reputation and expand awareness of our world-class facilities.”
The tournament has also won support of global cricket’s governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC) together with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB).
“All the ingredients are there,” said David East, ECB’s CEO. “The ever-improving facilities, the fan base, the support of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and ADC’s proven organisational expertise in world-class events all set the scene for a wonderful event which we hope to see expand annually.”
“We wanted to set ourselves apart from the rest of the world and offer a different product, without creating another franchise-led league,” said Matthew Boucher, Acting CEO, ADC.
“It’s an absolute honour to see the best of the best from around the world’s established teams gather in Abu Dhabi to offer fans an experience that does not currently exist anywhere else.
“We are very grateful to all the teams and their management for backing this initiative and getting on board.”
Each day of the three-day tournament is expected to see over 20,000 fans fill the rafters of the iconic Zayed Cricket Stadium, closely followed by millions worldwide through various broadcast channels.
“Given the considerable number of sub continental, British, South African, and Australian, residents in Abu Dhabi, the wider UAE and Gulf region, we are confident of packing the increased 24,000 capacity of the iconic Zayed Cricket Stadium.” said Boucher.
“We’re looking forward to delivering a wonderful experience for our fans at the stadium but the tournament will certainly not be contained to the stands. We expect millions around the world to follow the action on TV, radio and social media – again, cementing Abu Dhabi’s position on the international cricket scene,” he concluded.
The ADT20 has been eagerly welcomed by the international cricket family with Dr Jacques Faul, CEO of the Multiply Titans commenting, "The Titans are very excited to be involved in this ground-breaking T20 event. Having dominated our domestic T20 league for the last few seasons, it’s fantastic to have an international platform to assess where we are at as a franchise. There has been a vacuum in this regard, ever since the Champions League tournament fell away.
"When you look at the calibre of teams from around the world, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic event to be a part of. Abu Dhabi has certainly ramped up its cricketing landscape, and it is important to us as a franchise to take the Titans brand around the world. We’re honoured to have been recognised as a marquee franchise to play in this inaugural event which we hope will be an annual gathering.”
The Boost Defenders’ CEO and owner, Ali Arshad Azimi said his team regarded inclusion in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 line-up as a matter of pride and a means of building international bonds.
“It gives me immense joy that the Boost Defenders have been chosen to be part of ADT20. This step onto the international stage means a lot to our fans, sponsors and well-wishers. We have great confidence in our players who have been working hard over the last few months in preparation for this event. This is the modern phenomenon of the globalisation of sport in action, so it’s great to be able watch our players rub shoulders with a battalion of international cricketers and be part of the Abu Dhabi T20.”
“We’re thrilled to have such a diverse mix of teams committed to this wonderful tournament and our thanks go to all the respective management teams,” said Boucher.
“Not only is this proving to be a major player in Abu Dhabi’s strong sports events arena, we anticipate that our local partners in tourism and hospitality will also reap the benefits too, with strong interest from international tour organisers trickling through.”
ADC plans for the tournament to run for the next three years and a strategy is in place to enable the event to grow year on year.
Tickets and hospitality packages are available, with general admission tickets starting from just AED25 and are available through Ticketmaster.ae, from Virgin Megastores and the Zayed Cricket Stadium box office.
For more information visit: www.abudhabit20.ae