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Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Cricket in the desert ~ Eliminator at Abu dhabi

In their first meeting on Sept 21, 2020 – RCB beat SRH .. .. and something happened.  Mitchell Marsh bowled just 4 balls was injured, came out to bat and was out for a first ball duck .. .. that paved way for Jason Holder.  West Indies Test skipper Jason Holder who was not part of the original squad, arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to join the SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) squad as a replacement and was confined to his room for six days in quarantine as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus. He had to return  three negative COVID tests to join his team and play.  .. .. and today, perhaps he has taken SRH possibly to the next level.

The fall of wickets tells it all :  1-7 (Virat Kohli, 1.2 ov), 2-15 (Devdutt Padikkal, 3.3 ov), 3-56 (Aaron Finch, 10.2 ov), 4-62 (Moeen Ali, 10.4 ov), 5-99 (Shivam Dube, 15.4 ov), 6-111 (Washington Sundar, 17.1 ov), 7-113 (AB de Villiers, 17.5 ov).  A target of 132 looks inadequate or the one which SRH would feel very happy to chase.  Jason Holder celebrated his birthday with a grand spell of 4-0-25-3.  Other bowlers Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan (2/33), Shabaz Nadeem & Rashid Khan too bowled well.  Holder dismissed Virat Kohli, Padikkal and Shivam Dube. AbD’s 56 with no sixers perhaps would not be enough.

As we wait for the result, remember Rothmans Asia Cup in Apr 1984 – when Cricket was first played in the desert.  India won the 3 match – 3 Nation tournament with ease.  Surinder Khanna was the Man of the Series.  The first ever match at Sharjah  was played on Apr 6 1984 when Srilanka won easily defeating Pakistan by 5 wickets and 15 balls to spare.  Arjuna Ranatunga took 3 wickets and Roy Dias was the man of the match.

Cricket in gulf, rather desert was a great conception of Bukhtair. Today’s match is not in Sharjah but in Abudhabi  [Appi thabhi correctly as thalaivar Vadivelu introduced this – Dubaila enga ! ~ Vivekanandar kurukku theru fame !]

The pearl diving business was a key industry prior to the discovery of oil reserves. The  Persian Gulf was the best location for pearls. It was a time when divers dived for a short duration of a minute to one and a half as there were no air tanks or medical aids.    The divers had a leather nose clip and leather coverings on their fingers and big toes to protect them while they searched for oysters.   Life has changed since !  - today Sunrisers are chasing at stadium named after President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan

Abu Dhabi  is the capital and the second-most populous city of the United Arab Emirates (after Dubai). The city of Abu Dhabi is located on an island in the Persian Gulf, off the Central West Coast. Most of the city and the Emirate reside on the mainland connected to the rest of the country.  Abu Dhabi houses local and federal government offices and is the home of the United Arab Emirates Government and the Supreme Petroleum Council. The city is home to the President of the UAE, who is a member of the Al Nahyan family. Abu Dhabi's rapid development and urbanization, coupled with the massive oil and gas reserves and production and relatively high average income, have transformed it into a large, developed metropolis.  

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918 –   2004) was the ruler of Abu Dhabi for more than 30 years. He was the founding father and the principal driving force behind the formation of the United Arab Emirates, becoming the Union's first Raʾīs (President), a post which he held for a period of almost 33 years – the cricket stadium is named after him.  At the time the British withdrew from the Persian Gulf in 1971, Zayed oversaw the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Arab Economic Development; some of its oil riches were channeled to some forty less fortunate Islamic nations in Asia and Africa during the decades that followed. Using the country's enormous oil revenues, Zayed built institutions such as hospitals, schools and universities and made it possible for UAE citizens to enjoy free access to them.  

But Cricket first came to Sharjah .. .. as stated in 1984.  The Sharjah Cricket Stadium   is in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. It holds the record for the most number of ODIs hosted in a venue.  Abdul Rahman Bukhatir has enough business interests - in real estate, trading, hotels and banks - not to bother about flannelled fools. Bukhatir is also fascinated by the Indian subcontinent. He grew up studying in Pakistan and loves Hindi films. In less than a decade, he transformed his desert fantasy into a million-dollar business - attracting top cricket teams for a week to Sharjah twice a year, and offering the kind of prize money that was unthinkable in the pre-Packer era.

Now at 10 pm – SRH needs 84 runs in 84 balls with 8 wickets in hand. Hopefully, they would win .. .. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Nov 2020 @ 22.00 hrs. 

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