The Emirates Airline Twenty20 tournament took the UAE public by storm last month with top stars like Yuvraj Singh, Alastair Cook and Paras Khadka showcasing their talents.
It was an arduous trip that saw him travel nearly 20,000 miles but the chance to watch a World Cup Down Under was one that Danube Lions’ owner Anis Sajan was never going to pass up.
With a fond love for the game since an early age, Sajan has always been a fan of Australian cricket, often getting up early to listen to their matches on the radio.
Since then, it has always been his dream to watch the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand and having missed out on the 1992 edition, he was determined to attend this year’s event.
“When the 1992 World Cup happened, I didn’t have the financial support and my desire came from that moment that one day I will go and watch the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand,” said Sajan. “And today in 2015, I can happily say I did that.”
With the knockout stages firmly on his mind and keen to watch India play, Sajan took no risks and booked tickets for each quarter and semi-final game, as well as the Melbourne final.
Accompanied by his wife and two sons, Sajan travelled to eight cities in Australia and New Zealand in just 14 days.
He admitted it was tiring but came away with some great memories that he will cherish forever.
Among those was the India-Bangladesh quarter-final at the MCG.
“The atmosphere inside the stadium between India and Bangladesh was electrifying. It was like I was watching the game in India,” he said.
And Sajan didn’t think long to pin-point his favourite moment given he was there to see Grant Elliott hit the winning six to take New Zealand to the final at the expense of South Africa.
“I will remember when New Zealand fans were cheering every ball even when South Africa was dominating,” he said. “The New Zealand fans were a real credit supporting their team even when the opposition team was doing well.”
His dream of seeing MS Dhoni’s India lift their second successive title was dashed after Australia’s 95-run semi-final win in Sydney. But it did not dampen his excitement at watching the final at the MCG.
“Out of all the matches that I saw it’s got to be Melbourne,” said Sajan, speaking of his favourite stadium.
“To be among the 90,000 people was great,” he added. “The only regret I had was India didn’t play. But the view was amazing and to see Michael Clarke win the trophy was a fitting tribute and one I will always remember.”
With his journey now over, Sajan has plans to attend the 2019 edition in England.
Team Logistics retained their Al Futtaim Invitational title with a comprehensive 23-run win over Logistic Solutions.
The defending champions, captained by Raman Kumar, posted an impressive score of 52 in their eight overs in the final.
With a tough total to chase, Logistic Solutions put on a brave effort but could only post 29.
The title-decider marked the end of the annual intra-company tournament which attracted 400 players from Al Futtaim’s Logistics, retail, electronic, automotive, engineering and real estate divisions in the two-day event.
The group matches provided some thrilling encounters but Foxcatchers, ALAC Warriors, Logistic Solution and Team Logistics did enough to reach the semi-finals.
Team Logistics had an easy victory in the last-four. Their mammoth score of 89 proved to be too much for Foxcatchers, who finished the game minus nine runs.
In the other semi, ALAC Warriors came short by five runs in their chase of 22, by Logistic Solution.