Game on: The Sharjah Cricket Stadium is hosting seven of the 20 matches Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Indian Premier League (IPL) ticket holders for Thursday matches in Sharjah are bracing for some potentially testing times on the road.

The Sharjah Cricket Stadium is hosting seven of the 20 matches assigned to the UAE. Two of those games fall on back-to-back Thursdays from 6.30pm right in the middle of rush-hour traffic.

“It’s possibly the worst day of the week traffic-wise and I don’t even know if I ever will make it on time,” said Indian expat Gaurav Banerjee, who finishes work every day at 6pm.

Banerjee anticipates the roughly 30-km drive from his workplace on Khalid Bin Al Waleed Street (Bank street) in Bur Dubai to take him at least ‘an hour and a half’, by when a side’s innings will have been over. His side, Kolkata Knight Riders, take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament’s 11th match on Thursday, April 24. Sadly, he insists, he doesn’t have the luxury of taking a half-day or leaving early from work and is, therefore, desperately looking to trade his Thursday ticket, bought for Dh250, for another day.

Those who have managed days off, on the other hand, are not willing to take chances and are keen to start from Dubai up to four hours earlier.

“We are about 10 of us heading to the second IPL match on Thursday (April 17). The Sharjah-bound traffic is always bad and it is the worst on Thursdays, so we are planning to leave for the match immediately after lunch at around 2.30pm,” says Royal Challengers Bangalore fan Sunil Kumar, 46. The general manager of a private firm is taking a casual leave to be able to watch his team take on Delhi Daredevils right from ball number one.

Busy traffic isn’t the only issue on the fans’ minds though, as parking at the stadium is limited to the teams and generally scarce elsewhere around the stadium. XPRESS did a survey of the area earlier this week and found only a few parking options.

“Try arriving at the venue approximately 45 minutes to one hour before the start of the match as parking will have to be done in parking lots around the stadium. Since some of the parking spaces are unpaved, sandy lots without markings, it is advisable to leave your contact number on the dashboard of your car in case you are blocking someone,” advises a stadium staff.

Mazhar Khan, general manager of the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, says, “Drive into Sharjah as early as you can and savour the glamour and excitement of this venue which has always lived up to its reputation for producing exciting matches.”

Vivaan Prasad, a Sharjah resident, says he will ditch his car for matches in Sharjah. “Taxi is the best option, even for those coming from Dubai. They could park their car in a nearby Sharjah mall and hop in a cab.”