IPL Schedule Released: UAE to Host 60% of Matches

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IPL Schedule Released: India, UAE and Bangladesh will host IPL-7 due to national elections being conducted in India in May

India Premier League IPL

Shrouded in controversies as it is, the Indian Premier League still gives its fans some reasons cheer every now and then. The latest bit of cheerfulness about the League is with regard to the IPL schedule released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

With India set to go to polls in May – electoral dates have been scheduled from the 7th of May to the 12th – it was quite obvious that the initial stages of the Premier League couldn’t be held in the country due to clashing electoral dates. Taking the election factor into account, the BCCI had deliberated upon alternate venues to host the Premier League with South Africa, Bangladesh and UAE all in consideration.

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Of the three, taking due consideration of the logistical advantages and disadvantages and the cost factor that the franchise owners would have to invest for shifting match itineraries to other venues, UAE – and to a smaller extent Bangladesh – were unanimously chosen as the alternate destinations to host the IPL matches during the course of the national elections in India.

According to the schedule released by the BCCI, though it is still an approximate scheduling, nearly 60% of the IPL matches – essentially, the initial stages of the event consisting of 16-matches spread across from 16th to 30th April – will be held across three major cities of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Matches from 1st to 12th May will be held either in India – if approved by the Indian Home Ministry – or Bangladesh, in case the scheduling isn’t approved by the Indian Home Ministry. The concluding stage of the tournament will however move back to India to be held from 13th May to the final – to be held on 1st June.

Significance of UAE as an IPL Venue

United Arab Emirates boasts of a rich sub-continental culture thanks to the scores of people from the Indian sub-continent living in the country. Apart from the nation’s flourishing interest in cricket, thanks to its sub-continental population there’s always been interest and passion about Indian, Pakistani and other international cricketing events as well.

Dubai and Sharjah have always been well-renowned for hosting some of the most memorable ODIs in the 90s and even now, in the new millennium. Indian cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar has scored some of his flamboyant cricketing scores at matches held in Dubai and Sharjah. The most evocative being the one against Australia at the latter venue, amidst the sandstorm that brought all except him to their knees, literally.

VIDEO: India’s now retired start player Sachin Tendulkar’s Sand Storm Innings | 143 vs Australia Sharjah 1998

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Though these tournaments and matches are restricted to cricketing fans’ memories, the more contemporarily held events – including the recently concluded Under-19 ICC World Cup – continue to uphold the distinguished tradition of matches being hosted in the United Arab Emirates.

And it is this rich tradition that will add to the already bubbling flavour of T20 cricket conducted under the banner-head of Indian Premier League.

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