Ian Bell will captain the MCC at the Emirates Airline Twenty20. The MCC and the UAE National side will take on English counties for 2016 Emirates Airline Twenty20 trophy.

First class cricket returns to Dubai on 18 March 2016 as the United Arab Emirates national team take on Yorkshire, Lancashire and the MCC for the Emirates Airline Twenty20 trophy.

Returning to the picturesque Sevens Ground in Dubai for its seventh year, the star-studded event will bring top-class Twenty20 cricket to the UAE just as Twenty20 fever will grip the globe as the ICC World Twenty20 tournament gets into full swing in India.

Last year England stars Jonny Bairstow and Adil Rashid shone as Yorkshire’s one-day captain Alex Lees lifted the trophy. The White Rose County, fresh from adding a second successive County Championship title to their bulging trophy cabinet, are back in 2016 to defend their Emirates Airline Twenty20 crown.

Yorkshire will face strong opposition in the defence of their Dubai crown in 2016. Their Roses rivals Lancashire lifted the NatWest Twenty20 Blast trophy for the first time in 2015 and were also promoted back to Division One of the County Championship. Steven Croft will lead a Red Rose side to the Emirates Airline Twenty20 that is packed with talent and keen to confirm they are the best Twenty20 side in England.

Ian Bell will captain the MCC side, which will also include Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara. These stars of world cricket boast 500 first class caps between them. They will be joined in the MCC side by star names yet to be confirmed.

The United Arab Emirates were unfortunate not to qualify for the ICC World Twenty20, but their loss is the Emirates Airline Twenty20 Trophy’s gain. Who can forget their gallant efforts at the ICC World Cup 2015 where they proved their right to go toe-to-toe with the best in the world and came away with many plaudits?

In the first semi-final Lancashire play the United Arab Emirates, then Yorkshire take on the MCC in the second semi-final, before the winning teams meet in the evening’s showpiece finale.

The Emirates Airline Twenty20 is now established as a key event on the UAE’s sporting calendar. Tournament Director Matthew Jackson is thrilled that the seventh annual event promises to be the best yet.

“Twenty20 cricket is getting bigger all the time and the line-up of players we have at this year’s Emirates Airline Twenty20 in Dubai is mouth-watering,” Jackson said. “The Sevens Ground is the perfect venue for cricket fans to get close to the action. It’s a true family event where children and adults can enjoy the fun, get close to the stars at autograph signing sessions and watch some of the best players in the world.

“Cricket in the UAE is going from strength-to-strength and I’ll be fascinating to see whether the United Arab Emirates side can triumph over their English opposition,” he added. “This is a real chance for youngsters in the UAE to come along and see their heroes up close and hopefully they’ll be inspired to be the cricket stars of the future. Under 12s will be admitted free of charge”.

Previous winners of the Emirates Airline Twenty20 trophy are Yorkshire (2015), Sussex (2012, 2013, 2014), Nottinghamshire (2011) and a Fly Emirates XI (2010).

Tickets for the Emirates Airline Twenty20 competition on 18 March 2016 will be available for February 2016 through Event Partner Sport360. Hospitality Brunch packages will be available. Follow the EmiratesTwenty20 Twitter page @EmiratesT20 for updates and visit www.emiratest20.com/tickets.

The Press Conference will be held on Wednesday 16th March in Dubai (location TBC). Press and Media professionals can register for passes to the conference and tournament day by visiting www.emiratesT20.com/registration.

Media enquiries should first visit the Media Portal at www.emiratest20.com/media for press releases, images and logos. All media enquiries should be directed to the PR and Marketing Coordinator, Sam Wicks, on sam.wicks@sportarabia.co.uk. General enquiries should be directed to info@sportarabia.co.uk.

The Emirates Airline Twenty20 is owned by Sport Arabia Worldwide. Sport Arabia Worldwide is the leading sports tour management company in the UAE and their clients include England Cricket, the MCC, many of the English Counties and the UK’s top schools. Visit www.sportarabia.co.uk for more information.