Bengaluru, October 1: Twelve days into the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, the organisers can heave a sigh of relief.
With the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic sending the global calendar for a toss, IPL too was a casualty as it could not be held in the usual April-May window.
Though international cricket returned in July with England hosting bilateral series with the West Indies and Pakistan, the future of IPL remained under cloud.
Finallly with the World T20 getting postponed, a window opened for the most popular cash-rich Twenty20 franchisee-based tournament.
The UAE, which had hosted a few matches of the 2014 edition, expressed its willingness to be play host again and this time it was a different challenge with the whole tournament slated to he held in the Gulf country, that too without fans due to the COVID-19 health protocols.
Three venues -- Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai -- were ready to host sixty matches in 56 days as the tournament started on September 19 with Chennai Super Kings stunning defending champions Mumbai Indians.
Twelve days into the tournament, evey drama has happened including matches being decided in Super Overs a record run chase.
Going by the early trend, it can well be presumed that whether you like it or not, the tournament is here to stay.
"Choosing the UAE to host this major tournament at this particular time has great significance and is indicative of the world's trust and confidence in UAE's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Players and officials from around the world are here for the IPL, and they are here because they feel safe and secure in the UAE," said Dubai Sports Council (DSC) Chairman Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
HH Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Sports Council, has congratulated all the stakeholders for the scintillating start and organisational success of the 13th Indian Premier League (IPL). pic.twitter.com/lgVvx07bIZ— Dubai Sports Council (@DubaiSC) September 30, 2020
Dubai will host 24 matches in the tournament including the final on November 10. So far single matches have been the order of the day with matches starting at 6pm local time (7.30pm IST).
But from Saturday (October 3), the weekend double headers will start with the first match beginning at 2pm local time (3.30pm IST) and the organisers are gearing up for it.
"The decision of our friends from India to host one the world's premier sporting events here is a confirmation of UAE's distinctive position on the global sports map and our ability to organise major tournaments in different sports because of our top-notch infrastructure," Sheikh Mansour added.