Twenty20 countdown

Dubai Sports City will light up tonight with the first Twenty20 match to be played in town

We're counting down already. The Twenty20 bug will hit Dubai tonight when the Dubai Sports City's new cricket stadium stages the first-ever international Twenty20 match in the UAE as Pakistan take on Australia in the one-off match of the Chapal Cup series.

"The stadium will become a cauldron of noise and we hope the match will entertain the crowd," U. Balasubramaniam, CEO of Dubai Sports City, said.

The 25,000-capacity stadium is expected to be full.

"The Dhs950 tickets are sold out and the Dhs250 and Dhs75 tickets are also selling out quickly," Ali Anwar Jafri, who in charge of the ticket sales, said.

Ticket counters will open at 11am today. Gates will open at 4.30pm to ensure that spectators can get seated early after passing through the security check.

The first ball of the Twenty20 will be bowled at 8.10pm and the match will conclude around 11pm.

"We have planned out excellent programmes during the breaks. It will be an unforgettable experience. There will be outstanding acrobatics by renowned artists," a Dubai Sports City official said.

The organisers claim to have fixed a good sound system to ensure that the entertainment programmes staged in between the match breaks can be enjoyed by the spectators.

Both the captains are upbeat about their team's chances.

Brad Haddin, the Australian team skipper told Gulf News that he is keen to win this Twenty20 match.

"We have won the One-day series and we want to win this tournament too and end this tour on a successful note. It is will be a good start for the Twenty20 World Cup in England," he said.

Though Michael Clarke, who led the team in the one-dayers, has been rested, Haddin said: "We want to win this match and more important we look forward to a bit of fun in a Twenty20 match."

Younis Khan, the Pakistan skipper, is keen to boost the morale of his team that lost the One-day series 3-2.

Except for two changes the same team will be playing in the Twenty20 World Cup in England.

The wicket at Dubai Sports City looks hard and suitable for batsmen and looks ideal for Twenty20 cricket.

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