ABU DHABI, 29th May, 2023 (WAM) — Team Abu Dhabi has added the ECB U16 Inter-Emirates trophy to its cabinet, beating Ajman in the final to make it two wins from two for the UAE capital sides.
“This is a major milestone for cricket in Abu Dhabi and the first time the emirate has won both the U16 and U19 ECB Inter-Emirates tournaments in the same year. Our congratulations go to both sets of boys, who have now set a new benchmark to build further success upon,” said Matt Boucher, CEO of Abu Dhabi Cricket & Sports Hub (ADCSH), which is home to the victorious sides.
Having already romped to the U19 title, Team Abu Dhabi U16 claimed glory thanks to captain Yayin Rai’s sparkling unbeaten century. Rai, 14, was the U19’s Player of the Tournament and starred once again in the final, hitting 119 from 104 balls as Team Abu Dhabi successfully chased down a target of 222 with more than 8 overs remaining.
Ajman had earlier posted 221-5 from their 50 overs, with Rai also picking up a wicket before his captain’s knock comfortably saw Abu Dhabi over the line.
Rai and Arshil Husain (64) put on 150 for the first wicket in a dominant opening partnership which allayed any nerves in the run chase and set up a comprehensive victory.
The Inter-Emirates double represents a bright future for cricket in the capital and is an immediate return on Abu Dhabi Cricket Council’s Team Abu Dhabi Player Pathway Programme which has established a clear route from academy cricket into the Team Abu Dhabi representative set up.
This has resulted in back-to-back trophies for Team Abu Dhabi and seen a number of players from Zayed Cricket Academy, the capital’s premier cricket academy, called up to UAE youth teams in recent months.
“It’s very satisfying to win the U16 tournament and I’m extremely proud we’ve been able to win both the U16s and U19s in the same year,” said Mervyn Pereira, Abu Dhabi Cricket Council’s Manager of Cricket Operations.
“We’ve previously underperformed in the U16 category, which made us go away and look at our pathway programme and we’re clearly seeing its rewards. We now have an incredible group of youngsters coming through our ranks and we’re excited to see where they all end up.”
The Inter-Emirates tournament has pitted the best teams from across the country against each other, with Team Abu Dhabi claiming U16 glory just a month on from lifting the U19 crown.
Victory in the U19 competition was the second time Team Abu Dhabi emerged as the best in the UAE at that age group, while the U16 win was their first.