Supported by cricketing superstars Yuvraj Singh (India) and Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), alongside 12,000 spectators, Laing O’Rourke triumphed by 147 runs over CoEX Project Team in the final of the third annual Expo 2020 Dubai cricket tournament at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Friday.
The popular tournament forms part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s strategy to advance worker welfare and health, safety, quality and environment (HSQE) standards, known as ‘Better Together’ – a programme based on the core values of Care, Respect and Pride.
Expo 2020 Dubai aspires to bring together millions of people from around the globe for one of the biggest and oldest event in the world, celebrating human brilliance and achievement under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.
25 million visits are expected, with many visitors expected to come more than once and 70 per cent of visitors anticipated to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion of international visitors in the 169-year history of World Expos.
In the final of the 2019-2020 edition, last year’s runners-up Laing O’Rourke batted first and posted an imposing total of 226 for 8 in their 20 overs – and it proved too much for their opponents CoEX, who were all out for 79. Mohammed Irfan led the way for Laing O’Rourke, smashing a 15-ball half century on his way to a tournament-winning 76 runs off 22 balls.
World Cup-winning Indian all-rounder Singh and former Pakistan captain Afridi gave the two teams pre-match pep talks, interacted with the crowd during the match and participated in the closing ceremony.
The tournament’s opening draw comprised 32 teams from Expo’s consultants and contractors who battled it out for a chance to take home the trophy.
Yuvraj Singh said: “It was good to see so much enthusiasm, involvement and love for the game of cricket. It was heartwarming to see so many people coming out to cheer on both teams and supporting the aim of the competition – celebrating the workers of Expo 2020 Dubai.”
Shahid Afridi said: “Sport has a fantastic ability to bring people together, and cricket is so important to the countries of the workers who competed and attended today – I hope they enjoyed the day as much as I did.”
Dr Rob Cooling, Vice President, Health, Safety, Quality and Environment, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Our Better Together programme has been implemented to demonstrate the care, respect and pride we hold for the tens of thousands of workers helping to build Expo 2020. The annual cricket tournament is one of the ways we show our appreciation – and today’s game was a fitting finale to this year’s competition.”