Tragedy has rocked the T20 World Cup, with news that curator Mohan Singh has been found dead at his home in Abu Dhabi.
Singh was the head curator of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch in the United Arab Emirates, with news of his tragic death coming hours before New Zealand's win over Afghanistan at the ground.
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Authorities reportedly discovered Singh's body inside his home, with no cause of death immediately reported.
Abu Dhabi Cricket confirmed the devastating news in a statement before the match.
“It is with great sadness that Abu Dhabi Cricket announces that head curator, Mohan Singh, has passed away today," the statement read.
It is with great sadness that Abu Dhabi Cricket announces that Head Curator, Mohan Singh, has passed away today.
Mohan has been with Abu Dhabi Cricket for 15 years and has played a pivotal role in all of the venue’s success during that time.
— Abu Dhabi Cricket (@AbuDhabiCricket) November 7, 2021
“Mohan has been with Abu Dhabi Cricket for 15 years and has played a pivotal role in all of the venue’s success during that time.
“Sunday’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Super 12 game between New Zealand and Afghanistan went ahead as scheduled, with the support of Mohan‘s family and our groundstaff. Tributes to Mohan and his incredible achievements will be honoured in the coming days.
“Our thoughts are with Mohan’s family and we ask for media to respect their privacy at this tragic time.”
An ICC spokesperson added: “We are deeply saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, Abu Dhabi Cricket and everyone connected with the event.”
News of the tragedy spread quickly on social media, where shocked cricket fans paid tribute to the curator.
Devastating news out of Abu Dhabi regarding Curator Mohan Singh. He was a great supporter of Pakistan Cricket and key in making us such a formidable host while we were in the UAE. He prepared brilliant pitches recently for PSL 2nd leg in Abu Dhabi. Very sad news.
— Usman Iqbal Wahla (@u_wahla) November 7, 2021
As we watch #NZvAFG at Abu Dhabi, another reminder that life is so fragile…the chief curator at AD passed away before the game..a personal tragedy because I knew Mohan Singh (from Mohali) ever since he moved to the UAE. Prayers, Mohan. You will be missed
— Hemant (@hemantbuch) November 7, 2021
Very sad to learn that the head curator of the Sheikh Zayed Stadium passed away overnight. It was a very busy and successful year for Mohan Singh - PSL, IPL, a World Cup and everything inbetween. The runs continue to flow.
Our thoughts are with his family. #T20WorldCup #NZvAFG pic.twitter.com/XYbNXvhBGq
— 🏏FlashScore Cricket Commentators (@FlashCric) November 7, 2021
Oh, can not believe it, Mohan Singh was such a nice person & a very dedicated curator! I took his detailed interview during the Pak-Australia Test series a few years back. #Restinpeace good man! 😢 https://t.co/euEqC30TCY
— Aalia Rasheed (@aaliaaaliya) November 7, 2021
Mohan Singh - the pitch curator of AbuDhabi stadium who curated the pitch for NewZealand vs Afghanistan today has been found dead in his room , heartbreaking 💔
— Tanishq 🇮🇳 (@ItsMeTanishq) November 7, 2021
Mohan Singh, pitch curator at Abu Dhabi has died. Announced by Simon Doull after the toss before Afghanistan vs New Zealand game. RIP.
— Ashar Jawad (@AsharJawad) November 7, 2021
The ICC and Abu Dhabi Cricket send their condolences to Mohan Singh's family.https://t.co/13RKNXtWlO
— ICC (@ICC) November 7, 2021
New Zealand win hours after tragic news
Despite the awful news, New Zealand's match against Afghanistan went ahead as scheduled, as per a request from Abu Dhabi Cricket and Singh's family.
The Group II match saw the Kiwis end India's hopes of reaching the semi-finals courtesy of a comprehensive eight-wicket victory against Afghanistan.
Tournament heavyweights India needed the Black Caps to lose to have any hopes of progressing, but New Zealand romped home in 18.1 overs to become the second team from Group II, behind Pakistan, to make the semis.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson made an unbeaten 40 and Dean Conway added 36 not out to steer the Kiwis to victory after restricting Afghanistan to 8-124.
The Black Caps will now face favourites England in the T20 World Cup semi-finals.
In the other semi-final, undefeated Pakistan will play Australia in Dubai on Thursday.
India needed the Black Caps to suffer an upset defeat but that never looked likely after New Zealand's pace attack, led by Trent Boult (3-17) and Tim Southee (2-24) never allowed the Afghans to get a foothold on the contest.
Najibullah Zadran smashed a career-best 73 to rescue Afghanistan from a top order collapse but it was not enough against a rampant New Zealand side.
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