Dubai gears up for Pakistan-New Zealand ODI

Denzil Pinto 29/11/2014
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Hurry up: Some tickets are still available for the Pakistan-New Zealand T20s and ODI in Dubai.

Pakistan and New Zealand will clash in three limited-over matches at Dubai Interna­tional Stadium with tickets still available to buy. The two interna­tional teams will meet in a back-to-back two-match Twenty20 series on December 4 and 5, before renewing their rivalry in a ODI on December 8.

 – New Zealand coach Mike Hesson reflects on the difficulty of playing conditions

 – The first Test between Australia and India is postponed after Phillip Hughes’ death

The T20s and ODI will represent a final chance for Pakistan and New Zealand fans to see their teams in action in Dubai before next year’s World Cup.

And with tickets starting from Dh30, organisers are keen to see as many people turn up for what will be a promising series.

Dubai Sports City general manager – sports business, Maqbul Dudhia, said: “Both teams are very strong and some of the best inter­national players will be on show. They both play the short games very well and there are some big hitters and wicket-takers in both teams, so it promises to be thrilling encounters.

“And with the T20 series being played back-to-back on a Thurs­day and Friday night, as well as it being alongside the UAE national holidays, it’s a perfect opportunity to bring the family and friends and be entertained in what will be the last international games at Dubai Sports City for the year.

“The atmosphere inside the stadium is always good. When Pakistan played Australia in October, we had the matches sold out and this isn’t new as all our limited-over games sell out very quickly given that it’s very popular with the fans.

“So I advise people to buy their tickets early to avoid disappoint­ment.”

Among the players likely to feature are Pakistan T20 captain Shahid Afridi and New Zealand’s Corey Anderson, who shot to fame by scoring the fastest century in ODI history by reaching the three-figure mark off just 36 balls against West Indies.

Tickets are available at the Dubai Sports City box office next to the Dubai Stadium, plus selected Jacky’s and Samsung retail outs, and a host of locations across the UAE including Sharjah Cricket Sta­dium and Abu Dhabi Cricket Club. Alternatively, tickets can be bought online at www.ticketmaster.ae.  

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Sporting world in deep shock after Phillip Hughes tragedy

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Grieving: Melbourne Victory supporters pay their respect to Phillip Hughes during an A-League match between Melbourne and Adelaide United yesterday.

Flags flew at half-mast and thou­sands of fans and players paid trib­ute on Friday as Australia and the world cricket community united in an outpouring of grief for the tragic death of batsman Phillip Hughes.

Cricketers the world over paused to remember the player, and a spon­taneous #putoutyourbats campaign received a massive response with thousands posting pictures of bats on Twitter.

Hughes was knocked uncon­scious while batting in a domestic game on Tuesday. The 25-year-old died two days later on Thursday from massive bleeding in his brain, becoming one of the highest profile deaths in sport since Formula One icon Ayrton Senna in 1994.

Shock at the freak accident pulsed around the globe as Hughes featured on front pages world­wide and flags were at half-mast at Lord’s, the home of cricket in Lon­don.

New South Wales authorities an­nounced a public memorial service for Hughes, while next week’s first Test against India hung in the bal­ance.

Australia’s stunned Test team comforted each other in an extraor­dinary team meeting at the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday.

Four players in Australia’s Test squad – David Warner, Brad Had­din, Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon – were on the field when he collapsed after being hit by a Sean Abbott delivery.

“Six or seven days is not a long time, but right now with where we all are, it seems like a million miles away,” said Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, refer­ring to next week’s game in Bris­bane.

Sutherland said the “understand­ing and empathy” of the Board of Control for Cricket in India has been “absolutely outstanding”.

“They understand that these are unique and extraordinary circum­stances,” he said, adding: “Cricket will go on and it will go on when we’re ready.”

Both the Sydney Cricket Ground and the cavernous Melbourne Cricket Ground lowered their flags to half-mast, while club teams from Australia to India paused in a minute’s silence.

Before play in the third Test against Pakistan, New Zealand’s players lined up their bats and caps outside their dressing room in som­bre tribute. Both teams in Sharjah, who cancelled play on Thursday in shock at the news, also held a minute’s silence and donned black armbands.

Rank-and-file fans and su­perstars alike contributed to #putoutyourbats, posting pictures of bats leaning against front doors, stadiums and statues.

Previously anonymous Sydney­sider Paul D. Taylor, who started the campaign, said he was “humbled by the outcome”.

The tragedy transcended sports. Golf No1 Rory McIlroy wore a black ribbon as he played the Australian Open in Sydney, and tennis star Rafael Nadal offered his condolenc­es. Fans of Western Sydney Wan­derers planned a minute’s applause at 63 minutes – Hughes’ score when he was struck down – during Satur­day’s derby match against Sydney FC. Australia’s rugby team will wear black armbands when they play England at Twickenham today, and a message of sympathy came from New Zealand’s All Blacks.

Doctors said the ball cannoned into the base of Hughes’ skull, split­ting his vertebral artery and caus­ing massive bleeding in his brain.

Hughes, who was struck below his helmet while facing New South Wales pacer Sean Abbott, remained standing for a few seconds after the blow, before crashing to the pitch face-first. Experts called it a freak injury with only 100 cases ever reported. 

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No joy for New Zealand’s dominating performance against Pakistan

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Difficult day: New Zealand coach Mike Hesson.

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson spoke of the gloom that has descended on their dressing room as the team took absolutely no joy out of their dominating performance in the Test match on Friday.

– New Zealand coach Mike Hesson reflects on the difficulty of playing conditions

– Record century from Brendon McCullum hands New Zealand advantage

– World cricket provides moving Phil Hughes Twitter tribute with #putyourbatsout

Speaking after the day’s play, Hesson started his media confer­ence reading a statement from the players and officials on Australian star Phil Hughes, who passed away on Thursday after being hit on his head during a first-class match Down Under.

Hesson said: “I think everybody dealt it in different ways, everybody in the team is affected, some very deeply.

“Today wasn’t about cricket, today was about supporting one of our fellow players. I think the key for us was to help the individuals in the group who were struggling more than the others and get through the day.

“The time was difficult. We weren’t conscious of the perform­ance, we were just looking after each other.

“The game was irrelevant at that stage. That (not celebrating) was just a natural reaction by a group of people whose mind was elsewhere.

“We didn’t have anyone in the close field under a helmet and didn’t bowl any bouncer and that was to show respect.”

Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez, who scored his career best Test knock of 197, dedicated the innings to Hughes and said one of the reasons his team lost seven quick wickets in the morning ses­sion was because they weren’t able to concentrate properly.

“The mood was really depress­ing and while batting, thoughts of Phil came to my mind. I just took it one ball at a time and I would like to dedicate my highest Test score to Phil Hughes,” he said.

“There is no doubt that the in­nings played by McCullum was outstanding. He just put the entire pressure on us.

“It was a bad day for us. Really, this was the first time in almost four-five weeks since we started playing Tests here that we did not win a single session during the day. So, we will have to plan better tom-orrow to come back into this Test match,” he added.

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