We are all set for a pretty different Indian T20 League this year with the matches shifted to UAE owing to the rising number of global virus cases in India. While we are used to having our dreaded summers cooled down by the gala festival that is the Indian T20 League, this time around, the tournament is also going to be played in a completely different season.
The challenges for teams are manifold and here, we highlight a few, along with the teams best poised to fight those challenges.
Weather and pitch
The weather in the UAE is pretty different to that in India. The sun burns down in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and placid wickets and dry heat contrast the humid weather in India. It will be a task for teams to acclimatise themselves to the conditions, particularly on the field during games where the nights are also hot without being overly humid. The result of this dry heat is a cracked surface and lots of turn on wickets. The wickets in UAE turn a lot more than in India and are also slower.
Best-equipped team: Chennai
The team best equipped to handle this condition are the Chennai who have a very similar climate in Chennai and a dry, slow wicket in Chepauk.
The grounds in UAE - at Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai - are huge and have longer boundaries as a result. The result of a slow wicket and long boundaries is that six-hitting is a huge task. Strike rotation and ground shots could be more productive here than in India as sixes could easily fall short and land into the deep fielders' hands. While teams generally pack their line-ups with big hitters in this format of the game, we could see a different set of teams thrive here mainly because of the unique conditions on offer.
Best-equipped team: Bangalore
Bangalore may not have an Indian T20 League title in their kitty but it's hard to argue the fact that they have one of the most promising batting line-ups in the league. With able strike rotators and dynamic batsmen in Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, Bangalore are covered in terms of ground-scoring and going aerial.
Add in the new signing Aaron Finch, who can clear big boundaries, and a spin-hitter in Moeen Ali and they are strong in the top and middle order. They also added Chris Morris, a huge striker of the ball, and have Shivam Dube and Devdutt Padikkal, also reputed for their big-hitting. Having covered strike-rotation and big-hitting equally well, Bangalore might just be better placed than a few other teams this time.
Defending low totals
Like we are seeing in the Caribbean Premier League this year, teams might not rack up massive 200-plus totals in UAE. The par totals here could be a lot lesser and teams might be left defending lower totals than they have ever done before. This could be a challenge for bowling units who have to deal with the pressure of having fewer runs to play with.
Best-equipped team: Hyderabad
Hyderabad have one of the most complete bowling attacks in the Indian T20 League with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi all known for their economical bowling in this format. Hyderabad have a history of defending very low totals in the past due to a well-rounded bowling attack and might be left doing that a lot more times this Indian T20 League. At least, they will know what to expect, unlike a few other teams.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SportsAdda.