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IPL 2020: What to expect from the conditions in UAE

Finally, following all the uncertainties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the much-anticipated 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) between September 19 and November 10. This will be the first time since the tour of New Zealand earlier this year (which ended in the first week of march) the Indian cricket fans will get to see their beloved players back in action.

Already, there is a lot of buzz amongst the sports deprived fans surrounding this cricket extravaganza and in order to cater to their enthusiasm, CricketNews has decided to provide you an overview of the conditions, which the IPL teams will encounter in UAE this year.

The three venues in UAE are in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, which will host the IPL 13 matches. The 53-day tournament will witness 10-afternoon matches starting at 15:30 IST (2 PM UAE Time) while the evening matches will start at 19:30 IST (6 PM UAE Time). In all, 24 matches will be held in Dubai, 20 in Abu Dhabi and 12 in Sharjah.

Meanwhile, the conditions in the UAE are going to be vastly different to those in India. Here, the franchises generally build their squad based on their home conditions, where they get to play a minimum of seven matches. For instance, in the last auction Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) spent an handsome amount to rope in Australian pacer Pat Cummins, who would have an ideal choice on that fast and bouncy Eden Gardens track.

However, this year, the entire tournament will be restricted to just three venues, where the pitches will be slow and low and as the tournament progresses the wickets will deteriorate further. Hence, in this IPL we might not see the high-scoring games very often.

For instance, Abu Dhabi, has only witnessed one 200-plus total in the 45 T20 Internationals played over there whereas in Dubai, out of 51 T20Is, teams have reached the 200-run mark only on four occasions. Even in Sharjah, where the boundary size a bit smaller compared to the other two venues, the numbers are not in favour of the batters as out of 28 T20Is, teams have managed to reach that magic figure only once.

Therefor, considering the slowness of the pitches, the gameplans of the teams will change drastically. This year, it is believed that batting first will be preferred by most of the captains. And of course, there will be a barrage of slow-bowling options in the playing XIs.

Meanwhile, a team like Chennai Super Kings, which already has a a plethora of quality spinners, won’t really mind this slowish nature of the UAE pitches.

Furthermore, along with these on-field conditions, team will also need to deal with the extreme heat of UAE, especially during the afternoon matches and practice sessions. Definitely, the under these circumstances, the physical fitness of the players will be tested.

Overall, for each and every IPL side, this 13th edition of the tournament is going to be a challenging experience.

Sandipan Banerjee is a senior cricket journalist with experience stretching across more than a decade. Having founded a number of cricket information resources and prior experience of working in big-ticket events like ICC Cricket World Cup, IPL and ICC Champions’ Trophy; he joined the team at CricketNews.com in 2019 to provide strategic guidance and to assume a brand ambassador role as principal correspondent. Due to Sandipan’s commitment towards the game, it’s safe to assume that if India are involved in a Test, ODI or a T20I, he’ll be there covering the match!

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