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Dubai: GMR’s Dubai Capitals and Knight Rider Group’s Abu Dhabi Knight Riders are set to meet in blockbuster opening clash of the first edition of the International League T20 at the Dubai International Stadium on January 13.

According to a press release from ILT20, the much-anticipated schedule sees the competition played through to the final on February 12. Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Cricket Stadium’s first game is on January 14, a mouth-watering clash between Reliance Group’s MI Emirates and Capri Global’s Sharjah Warriors. They again clash swords at the famed Sharjah Cricket Stadium on January 17 in the home and away format where each of the six teams play each other twice.

Exciting times

The top four teams after the 10-match league phase will qualify for the play-off stages, where the first and second will play in the Qualifier 1 in Dubai on February 8, while the third and fourth will play in the Eliminator in Sharjah on the following day. The winner of the Eliminator and the loser of Qualifier 1 will play in the Qualifier 2 to determine the second finalist.

Speaking about the ILT20 schedule, Mubashshir Usmani, General Secretary, Emirates Cricket Board said: “This is a very exciting time for the league and, collectively, we are delighted to announce the 2023 ILT20 playing schedule. To have superstars such as Dubai Capital’s Dasun Shanaka and Abu Dhabi Knight Rider’s Andre Russell open their teams’ accounts is very exciting. We cannot wait for the teams to arrive (in early January) and battle it out on the park and provide world-class entertainment to the cricket fans here in the UAE, and around the globe.

Huge success

“It is very important for us to launch the first season in an emphatic style, and the league management is very excited to have engaged with globally recognised artists in Badshah and Jason Derulo, both of whom will undoubtedly energise the teams, and the fans leading into the opening match. We are confident that the ILT20 will be a huge success.”

With ten matches scheduled in Abu Dhabi, 16 in Dubai and eight in Sharjah, the competition will set the UAE-cricketing stage on fire with stars such as Shimron Hetmyer, Moeen Ali, Kieron Pollard and Wanindu Hasaranga as well as a number of UAE’s elite playing in a total 34 matches.

The schedule boasts of five weekend double-headers culminating in the thrilling final in Dubai on February 12.

World-class facilities

Making its debut in January (2023), the inaugural ILT20, which has received multi-year ICC approval, will be played across the UAE’s world-class Cricket facilities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. Cricket fans across the world can catch the LIVE telecast of this exciting cricket league on ZEE’s linear channels.

Franchise teams, comprising 84 international and 24 UAE-based players, include Abu Dhabi Knight Riders (Kolkata Knight Riders), Desert Vipers (Lancer Capital), Dubai Capitals (GMR), Gulf Giants (Adani Sportsline), MI Emirates (Reliance Industries), and Sharjah Warriors (Capri Global).

Full schedule of UAE ILT20. Image Credit: Supplied