Dubai Sports City’s Cricket Stadium opened with Pakistan providing an outstanding display of international cricket in front of a passionate crowd.
The hosts took an early lead in the series with a four wicket win over Australia in front of 17,486 spectators.
“Today, Dubai has taken another step towards becoming an international sporting destination,” said Khalid Al Zarooni, President, Dubai Sports City. “To see two exciting teams competing at the highest level in front of a passionate Dubai crowd is exactly what Dubai Sports City is all about.”
The captains of both sides praised the performance of the pitch, the facilities, and the atmosphere inside the ground.
“The stadium looked fantastic and the main thing was that we had a lot of local supporters,” said the victorious Pakistan captain, Younus Khan. “We have really been looking forward to playing here, and I believe it is good for us, and good for Dubai.”
The Australian captain, Michael Clarke said: “We are a little bit disappointed with our batting and the middle order didn’t do as we would have liked.
“The facilities have been fantastic, I would say as good as anywhere in the world. We hope that all the Australian fans come out and join us again on Friday,” he added.
Former Pakistan captain Imran Khan, who was a special guest at the opening game said: “It is the first time I have seen a stadium where cricket is been played, that is anything like this. The lighting system is even more unique – I have never seen anything like this.”
He added: “I bowled the first ball at night in cricket history, so I know the difference. It is a very innovative, beautiful cricket stadium, and a beautiful outfield.”
Supporters in the crowd also expressed their delight with the new venue. Kashif Rahman, a keen Pakistan supporter, commented on his experience: “There is only one word best to describe the stadium – WOW. It is the best stadium I have ever been to, and I have been to a few. It was a truly memorable experience.”
Steve Wheeler, an Australian ex-pat said: “It was a disappointing start for the boys in the Series, but we have still had a great time, and fallen in love with the stadium. For a new ground it has a brilliant atmosphere, and you can get really close to the action.”
The Chapal Executive Director, Ahmed Chapal, said: “I congratulate the Pakistan team and our community with this triumph more than ever, as it’s been a long time since they last played.”
“For the Pakistan team to play cricket with the Australians, who are globally renowned as one of the strongest, and to start this series with such a craze, makes me very happy for the whole community.”