Dubai: The action moves to Sharjah - the oldest venue of the three in the UAE - to host a potential cracker of a IPL contest between an upbeat Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals who are looking to turn the corner under the captaincy of the prolific Steve Smith on Tuesday.
There have been some good news for both camps on the eve of the match. Smith, who had suffered a concussion during the white ball series against England and missed all three one-dayers, will be leading out his men from the first game while Ruturaj Gaikwad, the young Chennai batsman who had tested positive for coronavirus, has finally joined the squad.
“Yeah obviously missed the last three ODIs in England. Been in Dubai for a couple of days now with some good rest and then got into a bit of running. Yesterday I did a bit of zig-zag running, which is part of the protocols to pass to get back to play and today I’ll have a hit in the nets. Hopefully, pull up well from the hit and be good to play tomorrow,” Smith was quoted as saying in the team’s media release.at
“The guys have been here for a month now, and from all reports, the training’s been magnificent. It’s been good to catch up with both the old and the new Royals, we’re in a good place and have got an outstanding squad this year, really strong, and we’re ready to get going. Chennai and Mumbai both have been two solid teams for a long time now. We obviously watched a bit of the game the other night, the Super Kings played really well to get over the line in the end. Hopefully, we can put on a good show and get our campaign off to a good start,” he added.
“The first thing you wanna see on a Monday morning. Look who’s back! #Ruturaj #WhistlePodu,” CSK tweeted while posting a picture of Gaikwad. Three-time champions Chennai had shrugged off a troubled build-up to beat Mumbai Indians by five wickets in the opener in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
If the wickets in the first two games of IPL 2020 are any indication, Sharjah is also expected to leave a tinge of green where the ball will come on nicely to the bat in the initial stages. This would well mean a red alert to the cars passing by what is the smallest venue of the three as there could be a shower of sixes from the likes of Shane Watson, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Sanju Samson or David Miller.
Meanwhile, Issa Hilal Al Hazami, Chairman of Sharjah Sports Council and Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) visited the stadium on Sunday and expressed their satisfaction with the preparations.
Hosting the delegation were Waleed Bukhatir, Vice Chairman of Sharjah Cricket Stadium and Khalaf Bukhatir, Managing Director of Bukhatir Group and CEO of Sharjah Cricket Stadium, who acknowledged the efforts of the government to encourage sport at the highest level and thanked them for their support and guidance.
The stadium, scheduled to host 12 league games, will also be hosting some classic rivalries this season - including Royal Challengers Bangalore versus Kolkata Knight Riders on October 12 and Chennai Super Kings versus Mumbai Indians on October 23.
Catch the match
Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Start: 6 pm
Live telecast on BeIn Sports