Dubai to host IPL and T20 World Cup finals

Dubai - The Indian Premier League, world's richest cricket tournament, is being held in the UAE for second year in a row

By Government of Dubai Media Office

Published: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 5:11 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Sep 2021, 5:26 PM

Dubai, the International Cricket Council headquarters, 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, and the ICC Men's Twenty20 World Cup.

The Indian Premier League, 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. This follows 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 ICC Twenty20 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 traditional rivals India and Pakistan renew their colourful cricketing rivalry here in Dubai on Sunday, October 24, in the most popular format of the sport.

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. His Excellency Saeed Hareb, Secretary General of Dubai Sports Council said: "Several people from India and Pakistan call UAE their home. A lot of Indian and Pakistani fans will be coming to the UAE from around the world for the tournament, and for this match in particular. I expect there will be a great buzz around this game, both inside and outside the stadium.

"We have a huge community of cricket lovers here in the UAE, people who are really passionate about the sport and we are really pleased for them – they will get to see their favourite teams and stars in action here, in person, and cheer them on.

"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.

"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.

"Last year, the IPL family was here for more than two months and the logistics was mindboggling. Eight teams play in the IPL, so you had hundreds of players as well as support and administrative staff here, along with their families living in bio-secure bubbles. In addition, there was an over 700-strong TV production crew and more than 90 commentators.

"It was a daunting endeavour, but together as one team, we pulled it off and we are now looking forward to another great season of IPL ahead – this time with fans in the stadium."

The IPL 2021 resumed in Dubai on September 19 with Chennai Super Kings defeating defending champion Mumbai Indians at a sold-out Dubai International Cricket Stadium, which will also host the final on October 15.


>> IPL will welcome fans back to stadiums in UAE, says BCCI

Dubai International Cricket Stadium had also hosted the final of the 13th season of the IPL last November after the Indian cricket board decided to host the entire tournament in the UAE due to the Covid-19 situation in India.

A staggering 405 million viewers in India – out of a total TV viewership of 836 million – watched the 2020 tournament, shattering all previous records by any broadcasting property in India. The opening match of the 2020 IPL in UAE was viewed by a whopping 158 million, which was 21 per cent higher than 131 million viewers recorded during the opening match of IPL 2019.

The 405 million Indian viewers of the 2020 IPL spent a total of 400 billion minutes watching the tournament, which was a 23 per cent jump in total consumption over IPL 2019 (326 billion minutes), and a 12.4 per cent increase over ICC World Cup 2019 (356 billion minutes).

Launched in 2008, the IPL – a franchise-based Twenty20 cricket league - has grown in stature since and it now ranks among the top sports league in the world in terms of average attendance. The brand value of the 2019 Indian Premier League was estimated to be US$6.8 billion, according to New York-based financial consultancy firm Duff & Phelps.

The eight teams taking part in the IPL are: defending and five-time champions Mumbai Indians, three-time winners and 2019 runners-up Chennai Super Kings, two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders, who Indian film star Shahrukh Khan owns, 2008 winners Rajasthan Royals, 2016 champions Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals, and Kings XI Punjab.

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