x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

All pals in Dubai as Friends win cricket final

It took 12 teams 25 days to sort out who was best, and last night The Friends Club were crowned champions of Dubai Taxi Corporation's first cricket tournament.

Dubai // It took 12 teams 25 days to sort out who was best, and last night The Friends Club were crowned champions of Dubai Taxi Corporation's first cricket tournament. A 200-strong crowd cheered on the contestants as the Friends scored 129 runs to The Lahore Club's 116 in the final in Al Muhaisanah. The match was tense but played in a sporting spirit, and the event proved such a success that a post-Ramadan tournament is already being organised, which will involve teams from other taxi companies.

Many supporters were still decked out in their uniforms, having gone to watch the match after their shifts. "This is very serious, and the players have played very well," said Imran Mohammed Sherif, a Friends supporter. "I have been coming every day after work to watch and support my club." Pointing at one of the bowlers, he described his technique in detail, adding that the player had scored 70 runs when batting. "He is also my friend, this is why I support him."

The tournament was organised in conjunction with the Roads and Transport Authority to keep the drivers entertained during the tough summer months. "The drivers become tired and stressed, so we decided to do something to relieve that stress and to improve fitness," said Mohammed Hussein, one of the organisers. "The teams are completely mixed. There are no divisions of nationality or religion. There is no discrimination."

The supporters, standing together, agreed, although they were quick to point out that the finalists were Pakistani teams. Iqbal Mohammed, the match commentator, said the tournament had generated a spirit of comradeship among the drivers and shown that the boundaries between nationalities could be broken. "Everyone has been really excited about the games and they have all participated from the sidelines," he said.

"We all live together, and this has brought us much closer, much friendlier." nsamaha@thenational.ae