Shoaib Malik wasn't able to perform well in his first game at Hyderabad © Getty Images (File photo)
Shoaib Malik wasn’t able to perform well in his first game at Hyderabad and scored just eight runs and failed to pick up a wicket © Getty Images (File photo)

By Mohammed Shafeeq

Hyderabad: Sep 21, 2014

For former Pakistan cricket captain Shoaib Malik, it was a disappointment both on-and-off the ground in the hometown of his wife and tennis ace Sania Mirza. However, Mohammed Hafeez-led Lions had a sumptuous feast at the house of the Mirzas. The guests were treated to Hyderabadi biryani and other delicacies.

Sania was not in the city as her husband played his first match of the tournament. He, however, is happy over Sania’s great run this season and said the entire family and whole of India and Pakistan pray for her success. Sania’s absence did not deter Malik from hosting the Lahore Lions, the Pakistani team playing in CLT20, at his in-laws’ house.

Playing his first match here since their marriage four years ago, Malik failed with both bat and ball. The all-rounder scored just eight runs for Hobart Hurricanes after finishing with bowling figures of 2-0-15-0 against Cape Cobras in a Champions League Twenty20 match.

The Pakistani’s poor run continued while Sania bagged yet another title. The Hyderabadi and her partner Cara Black Saturday won the women’s doubles title at the WTA Toray Pacific Open in Tokyo.

With the first match involving two foreign teams, there was no big crowd at the 40,000-capacity Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium at Uppal here despite a holiday. The match between Cobras and Hurricanes saw an attendance of less than 12,000 in the first half. However, the turnout increased to 18,000 later and swelled further for the second match as the weekend crowd headed to the stadium in big numbers to watch the Kolkata Knight Riders vs Lahore Lions match, billed as an Indo-Pak encounter.

Aiden Blizarrd’s fireworks provided some excitement in the otherwise lack-lustre game. His 48-ball 78 including three boundaries and five hits over the fence steered the Hurricanes to a six-wicket win.

The stadium has a capacity of 40,000. However, access to several rows on the top tier at both the ends remained barred. According to Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) officials, construction is still on at both the ends.

It has been only two weeks after the HCA elections which saw a new panel headed by former test cricketer Arshad Ayub taking over the reins. HCA has no plans to take up any construction activity at the stadium at least till the next month. “Any new work we will be taking up only after the India-West Indies Test match,” HCA media manager Vikram Man Singh told IANS. The stadium will host the first Test on October 30.

Police made tight security arrangements with the deployment of about 1,200 personnel. A police officer said 56 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras were installed both in and around the stadium to keep a tight vigil.

A command and control room was also set up to monitor the CCTV footage. Quick response teams were also deployed to meet any exigency. The spectators were not allowed to carry bags, cell phones, cameras, binoculars, match boxes, eatables and even water bottles.

Catch the complete coverage of Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014 here