Familiar scenes: Fans watching a match during IPL 2014 at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. The turnout in all venues, even during the day matches, had fascinated the BCCI mandarins on that occasion. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

There is good news for cricket fans in the UAE as the second phase of IPL 2021 will welcome the fans back to the stadia after a gap of more than one and-a-half seasons due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Ticket sales will open from Thursday (September 16) on the official website www.iplt20.com while they can also be purchased on PlatinumList.net.

The VIVO IPL 2021 resumes in the UAE on Sunday (September 19) with the five-time champions and current title holders Mumbai Indians taking on three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. While the BCCI statement does not mention about the number of fans that be in attendance, it’s expected that upto 50 per cent of the capacity will be seen in all three venues.

Fans, an integral part of the spectacle of IPL, will be coming back after a gap of one and-a-half seasons as the entire IPL 2020 in the UAE, along with the first half of the season in India, were played behind closed doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic. With the UAE authorities opening up the entry of fans in public events in a phased manner, it’s also expected that the T20 World Cup which follows soon after in October-November will also have crowds in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah with ‘limited seating’ available keeping in mind the Covid protocols and UAE government regulations.

‘‘We are, of course, looking forward to hosting both the IPL once again and the ICC WCT20 in the UAE. We have proven experience in hosting and delivering high-profile sporting events. Aside from a team with an exceptionally strong cricket administration pedigree, we have a UAE-wide team of highly experienced events and logistics companies and individuals, therefore we are confident in facing and working confidently through any challenges that may arise,’’ Mubashir Usmani, general secretary of Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), told Gulf News in an interview sometime back.