Five-time champions Mumbai Indians will clash with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings in Dubai on Sunday.
The rest of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season will have spectators back in stadiums when it resumes in the United Arab Emirates later this week, organizers say.
The IPL was suspended in May with 31 games remaining after several players and backroom staff tested positive for COVID-19 amid a devastating second wave in India.
“Games will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with limited seating, taking into account COVID protocols and UAE government regulations,” the organizers said in a statement on Wednesday.
However, the competition did not specify the number of fans that would be allowed, or whether a vaccine certificate would be required for entry.
The tournament resumes with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings against the five-time champions Mumbai Indians at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, four months after the world’s richest T20 competition was halted halfway through the pandemic in India.
“This match will be a momentous occasion as IPL will welcome fans back to the stadiums after a short hiatus due to the COVID-19 situation,” the IPL statement said.
Tickets for the remainder of the tournament, which will conclude with the final on October 15, will be available from Thursday.
The IPL was moved to the UAE last year where it was held behind closed doors and fans stayed away during the first leg of this edition in India.
Broadcasters used virtual background sound of fan cheers and stadium roars for TV audiences as matches were played in empty stadiums in the UAE and India.
The remaining matches of the ongoing 14th edition will be played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah with players from all eight franchises in strict bio-bubbles.