Abu Dhabi to become new home of UAE T10 Cricket League

Shahid 'Boom Boom' Afridi has been one of the stars of the T10 League so far. (Getty Images)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Abu Dhabi to become new home of UAE T10 Cricket League

  • UAE League to move base from Sharjah to UAE capital.
  • Shajji Ul-Mulk, the league’s chairman, hopes move takes the newest form of the game to the next level.

LONDON: Abu Dhabi is set to become the new home of T10 cricket for the next five years, starting from this October.
The UAE-based league has been based in Sharjah for its first two editions, attracting big crowds and big-name players. England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan, West Indies all-time great Chris Gayle and Pakistan icon Shahid Afridi have all taken part in the newest — and shortest — form of the game over the past two years at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.
That old venue is famous for holding the record number of ODIs, but the UAE capital has moved in and run out its neighbor to become T10’s new home.
For Shajji Ul-Mulk, the league’s chairman, the move could help take the format to the next level.
“We are very pleased to be moving to Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, as we take one of the world’s most exciting sporting cities by storm,” Ul-Mulk said.
“The third season of T10 cricket will give over 100,000 fans the chance to see some of the biggest names in cricket battle it out on the pitch over 90 fast minutes of action.”
Abu Dhabi, while not having the rich cricketing history of its UAE northern neighbor, has hosted some Test matches, ODIs and T20s, but it is hoped that hosting the T10 league will further establish it in the minds of cricket fans as a global venue.
Matt Boucher, the acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket, said: “This move to Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium represents a big next step in the growth of Abu Dhabi’s cricketing ecosystem, by giving fans access to a combined sports and entertainment offering through hosting all forms of the game.
“Whether it’s international Test matches or the now shortest form of cricket the game has to offer, we are continuing to be the home of the sport in the UAE.”
The T10 format — in which both sides have 10 overs to score as many runs as possible — was introduced in the UAE two years ago. In its short lifespan so far, it has already made a name for itself and has designs on going global.
Ul-Mulk has grand plans to export cricket’s latest white-ball phenomenon far and wide.
“(Cricket) boards are coming to us and it’s all about how we fit in commercially. We will probably have one more T10 in 2019; that’s our ambition,” he said last November.
“We are talking to a few boards, but it depends on how it goes. One thing is very clear: We only want to work with boards.”
Ul-Mulk did not reveal which boards he is in direct talks with, but did hint at the format having a possible future not only in traditional cricket heartlands such as England and South Africa, but also the US.
“The US market is great, the UK market is excellent for cricket, and South Africa, too, for that matter,” he said.
“With T10 the way it is, with 90 minutes (of) cricket, (it) actually opens up new markets that cricket doesn’t have now.
“For us, the US is one of those big markets where we feel that we can reconnect cricket there. Cricket can have a strong place in the US, which it doesn’t have at the moment.”


Liverpool seal semifinal date with Barca after beating Porto

Updated 18 April 2019
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Liverpool seal semifinal date with Barca after beating Porto

  • Barcelona eliminated Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate on Tuesday
  • Tottenham advanced on away goals despite a 4-3 loss at Manchester City on Wednesday

PORTO, Portugal: For the second year in a row, Porto had no answer to Liverpool’s attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
A year after the forward scored all goals in a 5-0 rout of the Portuguese champions in the round of 16 of the Champions League, the trio combined again to lead Liverpool back to the semifinals of the European tournament.
They netted a goal each in a comfortable 4-1 win over Porto on Wednesday, with Virgil van Dijk also scoring as Liverpool advanced 6-1 on aggregate after winning the first leg 2-0 at home.
Liverpool, which lost in the final last season, will now face Barcelona, which eliminated Manchester United 4-0 on aggregate on Tuesday. Tottenham advanced on away goals despite a 4-3 loss at Manchester City in the other quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Mane had a hat trick at the Estadio do Dragao last season, with Salah and Firmino adding a goal each. The Senegalese player led the way again this time, opening the scoring with a 26th-minute goal that was confirmed by video review after being initially disallowed for offside.
Porto had started well and showed signs it might be able to reverse the first-leg deficit, but Liverpool took control after Mane’s goal and cruised to victory.
“We knew they wouldn’t be able to keep up the pressure of the first 30 minutes,” Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp said. “In the second half Porto’s energy levels dropped, so it was easier for us to control the game.”
Liverpool had barely gotten close to Iker Casillas’s goal when Salah picked up a pass inside the area and sent a low pass to Mane, who came sliding in behind the defenders near the far post to score his 14th goal in 21 Champions League appearances.
Mane looked offside at first, and few Liverpool players complained when the flag went up, but video review showed he was in legal position before making his run to the ball.
“I was thinking it was offside, to be honest,” Mane said. “I was surprised.”
The goal hurt Porto’s morale and the team struggled to keep pushing forward. The pace slowed significantly and Liverpool took advantage, with Salah finding the net from inside the area after a pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold on a quick counterattack in the 65th.
Firmino, who came off the bench after halftime, and Van Dijk added to the lead with late headers — in the 77th and 84th minutes, respectively. Porto’s lone goal came through a 69th-minute header by Militao, the defender who is joining Real Madrid at the end of the season.
Mane could have scored his second goal of the game in the 73rd but he missed an open net after dribbling past Casillas on a breakaway.
Porto, which eliminated Roma in the round of 16, had won all of its four home games in the Champions League this season, outscoring opponents 11-3.
It was playing in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014-15, and was trying to reach the semifinals for the first time since it won the tournament in 2004 under Jose Mourinho for its biggest triumph.
After eliminating the Portuguese champions last season, Liverpool eventually made it to the final and lost to Real Madrid.
Porto was boosted by the return of two key players who missed the first leg because of yellow-card suspensions: captain Hector Herrera and defender Pepe, a three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid.
“The result is unfair, but these things happen in football,” Pepe said. “We had a fantastic Champions League campaign.”
Klopp made a series of changes to the lineup from the first leg, revamping the midfield and using Firmino as a second-half substitute.