This year, United Arab Emirates hosted grounds for international cricket to take place. Expats in Emirates were extremely excited, as the competition was tough between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Pakistan versus Sri Lanka 2011 consisted of three test, five ODI matches and one Twenty20 that were hosted by the UAE in October and November 2011. The Pakistan vs. Sri Lanka 2011 bilateral series was a part of the Future Cricket Tour Programs (FTP) prepared by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Starting off on 18th October, Pakistan cricket team captain, Misbah-ul-Haq proved his great captaincy as the team managed to clean sweep Sri Lanka in the test series. The first two tests were played in Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi, while the last test was played in Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium. Securing 1-0 at the test series, Pakistan team attained the test series by winning one of the tests, while the other two were draw.
Coming to the One Day International [ODI] series, Sri Lanka faced hardships and disappointment as Pakistan battled and secured the ODI by 4-1. The first three matches were held in Dubai Sports Stadium, fourth in Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium and the final one in Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
|Pakistani fans thrilled as they clean sweep Sri Lanka in the test series|
Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi top scored with 75 and then took 5-35 to earn his team a dramatic 26-run win against Sri Lanka in their fourth one-day international on Sunday, sealing victory in the five match series.
Afridi’s mature strike from 65 balls lifted Pakistan from the peril of 120-7 to a competitive 200 all out off 49.3 overs at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. The player scored fourth position in the ODI Top Ballers ranking, while Saeed Ajmal reaches the first position.
The Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi saw a huge crowd of supporters in the only T20 match between the two countries on 25th November, 2011. Pakistan overtook the win, as Shahid Afridi’s two sixers were the turning point of the match, according to captain Misbah-ul-Haq.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan batsman Dinesh Chandimal has been fined 10 percent of his match fee for showing dissent at the umpire's decision during the one-off Twenty20 against Pakistan on Friday. The Pakistan opening batsman Mohammad Hafeez has been officially reprimanded for the same offence, in a separate incident.
|Sri Lankan cricket fans cheer their team on|
Thus, Sri Lanka team supporters did face a little disappointment but at the end of the day, they do realize that the team tried their best in the field, facing difficulty and hardships, yet not giving up so easily.
On the other hand, it was a moment of pride for all the Pakistanis as the young baller Aizaz Cheema bagged five wickets, and led the team to the victory.
After battling over the prolonged spot-fixing scandal and facing hardships in England, the revitalized Pakistan cricket team has now proved that it takes courage, determination, unity and hard work to be victorious in any field.
The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has expressed a desire to host a highly anticipated series between India and Pakistan, if it was to be held at a neutral venue. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Chairman Zaka Ashraf will be visiting India early next month to hold discussions on the issue. International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat also hoped for a bilateral series in the UAE, since the last game was played in 2007.
Waqaar Ali Khan, a Pakistani cricket fan studying in Manipal University, Dubai said, “It is extremely exciting to hear about UAE planning to host a neutral series between Pakistan and India. It’s been long since fans like me got the opportunity to actually support our teams in UAE itself. I am curious already.”
Fans are already awaiting the good news of Indo-Pak series to be held by the UAE, where they can once again relive true competition and view their countrymen trying hard to triumph the game, since 2007.
Report by Maria Hussain