DP World ILT20: Desert Vipers boss Moody urges squad to capture the momentum early

The Vipers will be looking to go one better in Season 2 after finishing runners-up to Gulf Giants last year

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Tom Moody. - Desert Vipers
Tom Moody. - Desert Vipers

Published: Fri 3 Nov 2023, 4:37 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Nov 2023, 4:46 PM

The Desert Vipers fixtures for season two of the DP World ILT20 in the UAE have been released and Director of Cricket Tom Moody has urged the players to ‘capture the momentum’ of a congested schedule ‘and smash it out of the park.’

With the Vipers looking to go one better than in season one after finishing runners-up to the Gulf Giants in Season 1, they get their new campaign underway with a match at their home venue at the Dubai International Stadium (DIS), against the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders on Sunday, January 21.

The side wraps up the round-robin phase with an encounter against the Sharjah Warriors in Sharjah, on Sunday, February 11. The Vipers play back-to-back games on two occasions, first against Abu Dhabi Knight Riders and the Sharjah Warriors on January 27 and 28 in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

This pattern is repeated on February 3-4 when the Desert Vipers take on the Gulf Giants and MI Emirates in Dubai and Abu Dhabi respectively.

Reflecting on the fixture announcement, Tom Moody said: “It certainly is (a tough schedule), there is no question about that. There will not be many lazy days playing golf and cruising around Dubai. It is down to business and then focus on match day, then recovery and preparing for the next game.

“We have got a very good and professional support team that will be able to make sure the players are well prepared and well recovered every single time. It is the nature of franchise cricket; we play in these small windows and the pressure is on the players to perform.”

Speaking about the Desert Vipers’ late start compared to the other teams, the Director of Cricket felt this would allow for a greater awareness of local conditions.

“It does give you a feel for how conditions will play out, but I would imagine given that we had the experience last year of seeing how Dubai plays in January and February we have a better idea coming in to season two,” said Moody.

“But it is always nice to see how other teams shape up and let them dip their toe in the water to begin with, to see what happens performance-wise and how the surface is playing and if the ball is swinging more or less than the previous season, and that shapes how you select your side.”

Speaking about how the Desert Vipers have four-day games, compared with two last season, Tom Moody felt it could be a positive and said: “I think it is an advantage for us because we are playing an extra two day games purely on the basis of the number of games we have got in a short period of 22 days.

“This enables you to finish the game earlier and have the chance for a proper recovery in the early evening, without coming back to the hotel late at night, where sometimes you can have sleep compromised and recovery compromised, so this has worked in our favour.”

The Vipers play six matches in a span of nine days, including two sets of back-to-back games, and this will definitely be a gruelling test for the players.

Short window

“It is not ideal, having such a condensed number of games in such a short window but the support staff and players need to take a positive route and see how to make this work for them,” said Moody.

“They will need to see what advantage they can take out of this and those are the conversations I will be having with the support staff on making sure this works in our favour.

“One of the things we need to put in place to ensure that we take advantage of all these games coming in a rush is momentum which, as we know in franchise cricket and T20 cricket, is really an important thing.

“We need to capture that momentum in the early parts of that condensed window and smash it out of the park,” Moody added.

Looking ahead Tom Moody said the announcement of the fixtures brought the realisation that the DP World ILT20 was drawing closer, and that he was excited about what lay ahead for the team.

“The first year was an exciting year for everyone involved in a newly-formed franchise that has been put together in Dubai,” said Moody.

“So many positives that can be drawn from that from a local perspective. Also having some of the internationals who are playing in the ILT20 are world-class players who are raising the profile of this tournament.

“From a team perspective, we started something last season and we got close to getting that final honour of being champions, so we have got one step further to take in 2024. And we will and embrace that challenge and everyone on and off the field will work very hard to try and make that happen.”

The Desert Vipers will play six matches at the DIS, as well as two each at the other two venues for the tournament – Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi and the Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Desert Vipers DO World ILT20 match schedule (playing against)

Jan 21 Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at Dubai International Stadium (DIS)

Jan 24 Gulf Giants at Dubai International Stadium

Jan 27 Abu Dhabi Knight Riders at Zayed Cricket Stadium (ZCS) Jan 28 Sharjah at Sharjah Cricket Stadium (SCS)

Jan 30 MI Emirates at DIS

Feb 01 Dubai Capitals at DIS

Feb 03 Gulf Giants at DIS

Feb 04 MI Emirates at ZCS

Feb 09 Dubai Capitals at DIS

Feb 11 Sharjah Warriors at SCS

The play-off matches then follow with three matches on 13, 14 and 15 February before the Final on Sunday 17 February at Dubai International Stadium.

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