Dubai set for finals of two major cricket tournaments

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Dubai will be the cynosure of more than a billion people over the next two months as it co-hosts along with Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup.

The IPL, the globe’s richest cricket tournament and one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, is currently taking place across three venues in the UAE following the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) decision to conduct the remainder of their marquee tournament’s 14th season in the UAE after concerns over the COVID-19 situation in India forced the suspension of the tournament in May with 31 of the season’s 60 matches still to be played.

The BCCI also decided to host the 16-team ICC Twenty20 World Cup in the UAE and Oman.

Dubai will host the final of the World Cup on November 14, after a total of 45 matches, with 12 of them being played in Dubai.

The IPL 2021 final will also take place in Dubai, on October 15, and it will host 13 of the tournament’s 31 matches.

Most of cricket’s one billion-plus fans from around the world will, however, be waiting for day two of the ICC Twenty20 World cup when India and Pakistan renew their colourful cricketing rivalry in Dubai on Sunday, October 24.

According to a survey conducted by the ICC, Twenty20 cricket, which is the shortest format of cricket after Tests (five days) and one-day Internationals (50 overs each side), is favoured by 92 per cent of cricket fans.

India vs Pakistan is one of the most intense and enduring rivalries in sports, and with 90 per cent of cricket’s billion-plus fans coming from South Asia, the match at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 24 will be the biggest talking point of the tournament.

The game will be a bonanza for South Asian cricket fans in the UAE.

"This will be the first match between India and Pakistan in more than two years – the first since their clash at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England. Few contests in international sport come close to matching the on-field intensity of an India-Pakistan cricket match, or the electrifying atmosphere in the stands that this duel inevitably creates. So I, like millions of cricket and sports lovers from around the world, have already circled October 24 on my diary," said Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council.

"But before that, there is plenty of cricket to be played. We are proud to welcome the Indian Premier League back. They were here last year and their return reinforces Dubai and UAE’s reputation as the world’s leading host of top international sports tournaments, especially in this challenging COVID-19 era.

"Thanks to our wise leadership, Dubai and UAE have emerged as one of the safest destinations in the world for top sports stars and tournaments," he added.

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