IPL Fans in Dubai
Fans enjoy the first match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians at Moon Mood Cafe in Dubai on Saturday.. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The 13th edition of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) kickstarted in the UAE on Saturday, much to the delight of cricket fans here.

Remember IPL 2020 matches have been moved out of India and are being hosted in the UAE owing to rising number of coronavirus cases in India. This has been a windfall of sorts for fans in the UAE who always hesitated to travel to India to catch these matches live. 
Gulf News went around Dubai and caught the mood live as fans were seen soaking up the excitement at Makar Scottish Bar in Radisson Blu Waterfront in Business Bay and Moon Mood Cafe in Oud Metha Road

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IPL fans in Dubai
Supporters react during the IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, at the Kickers sports bar in Dubai Sports City. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Jaspreet Singh from Mumbai said it would be Mumbai Indians all the way. “They are a team who have always learnt from failures. They are well-planned and strategically stronger than Chennai. They have always defended low-scoring matches. They have a good chance to win tonight,” said Singh during the break after Mumbai Indians scored 162.

“It’s a treat for IPL fans in the UAE. Am rooting for Chennai Super Kings [CSK],” said Max Meitei, 39, a yoga teacher from the Indian state of Manipur.

IPL fans in Dubai
A Mumbai Indians supporter at Kickers sports bar in Dubai Sports City. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

He said both CSK and Mumbai Indians (MI) have a strong line-up and both the sides have charismatic captains in Rohit Sharma [MI] and Mahendra Singh Dhoni [CSK] would be looking forward to an early lead on the points table with a win on Saturday.

IPL fans
A Mumbai Indians and a Chennai Super Kings supporter keep the camaraderie going at the Citymax, Al Barsha. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani

Amit K. Mulani, 45, CEO, Oriental insurance Dubai, from Mumbai said by default he would be supporting Mumbai Indians. “With Rohit Sharma at the helm, we are looking strong here.”

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Another expatriate Raj Chauhan, a Mumbai fan, said MI had a strong batting line-up. “Jasprit Bumrah, as per ICC [International Cricket Council] rankings, is the No 1 bowler and he will win the match for us.”

However, Anant Chaturvedi disagreed. A CSK fan, Chaturvedi said CSK captain Dhoni was a very intelligent player and he would win the match for us.”