The Indian men’s cricket team on Sunday defeated Pakistan in an Asia Cup 2022 encounter at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium by five wickets. The high-octane T20I encounter went down to the wire as Hardik Pandya sealed the game with a six and with two balls to spare, sparking celebrations across the country and at the venue, several videos of which were posted on social media.
Multiple Twitter users are now circulating a video, claiming that the “sheikhs in Dubai were jumping with joy” after the winning strike by Pandya. One user tweeted, “This may be a sad visual for few Indians and a lot of Pakistanis”, while another stated, “Even, Dubai Sheikh is also happy now, when INDIA WINS against Pakistan…!.
Newschecker first did a casual inspection of the viral video and found that it comprised two distinct audio styles — one, when the video focuses on the match and the second, when the Arab men are seen celebrating in the stands. The quirky effects along with the abrupt video transition between the match and the crowd raised doubts on whether two separate clips were patched together.
We then did a keyword search for “Arabs Asia cup”, “Arabs India win Pakistan, “Sheikhs Dubai India Pakistan win” on both Google and Twitter, but found only this particular video, which again raised our suspicions, considering such a celebration would have multiple videos and photos across social media and on news websites, channels. Also, no official sports broadcaster caught similar videos or photos of such fans during the latest match.
Newschecker then conducted a reverse image search of keyframes of the video, which did not lead us to any similar results, but we did catch something interesting in a few of the frames.
From the above frames, we can see in the encircled part that many stands were empty, barring the one section dominated by those wearing traditional Arab attire. We then looked up match reports of the Sunday clash and found this on Espncricinfo’s official match report.
“Some of the fans had been in queue for eight hours to buy premium tickets, knowing fully well the price was that of a round trip back home to India or Pakistan. The queues to get inside the stadium reportedly stretched as long 3.5 kilometres from as early as 2pm for a 6pm start. All entry points to Dubai Sports City were jammed, and those looking to get to their apartment complexes – and not the stadium – were the worst hit for no fault of theirs…no one was leaving the stadium halfway into the chase.” This suggested the match was jam-packed till the end and that the stadium capacity of 25,000 was filled. We later confirmed this with a photo of the match from Getty Images and also this tweet from the official Twitter handle of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’, which stated, “A country that sings together, wins together! 🇮🇳 The mood at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in UAE last night after India’s glorious win against Pakistan at Asia Cup 2022 was lit💥💯. Here’s the proof”. The video and the photo do not show any empty stands as seen in the viral video.
Another video, apparently captured by a fan and posted on Twitter, also confirmed that no stand was empty during the match. Also, official photos of the stadium showed blue seats, which was not the case in the video.
We also found the video on TikTok, via VPN, which was first posted by one @meraj_abudhabi. Scanning the comments section, we found several users stating that the crowd celebration part is from a football match in Saudi. Other social media users had commented that the celebration was during a club football match in Kuwait.
Using this information, we did a keyword search with the keyframe images for “Kuwait football”, “Saudi football”, which finally led us to a tweet by a Kuwaiti journalist named Khalaf Al-Anzi, who posted the full video of the celebration. The video was posted on September 22, 2020.
Taking a cue from this and the translation of the Arabic tweet, which read, “I turned on the phone at the last minute and pointed the camera at Aziz Ashour, president of the Arab Club. Tired, planted, harvested and lacked his brothers, members of the board of directors Congratulations to the Arab, and hard to Kuwait (sic),” we looked for news reports for the same.
A Google search led us to this Kuwait Times news report, dated September 22, 2020, stating “The football season came to an end with the final match of HH the Amir Cup, which was won by Al-Arabi Football Club after defeating Kuwait 2-1 in extra time on Monday evening.
The viral video that claimed Arabs in the Dubai cricket stadium celebrated India’s thrilling win over Pakistan in the Asia Cup used an old clip of the president of a Kuwaiti club celebrating his team winning a prestigious domestic football cup.
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