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T20 2021: Smashing the Boundaries of Cricket in the UAE

14 June 2024 Written by Staff Writer

Sports are among the activities that can bring people from all walks of life together - not just as players but as spectators. Whether you are in the stands during a match or sitting around a table at your neighbourhood sports pub, there is a sense of camaraderie and bonhomie that few other hobbies inspire. In a city such as Dubai that boasts a mind-boggling array of diverse nationalities and cultures, having a common interest to bond over is more important than ever. And for many of the city’s inhabitants, there is one sport that rouses communal spirit like no other - cricket. Beloved by expats from South Asia, the United Kingdom and various parts of Africa, the sport has attained a level of reverence and become one of the UAE’s unofficial ‘national’ sports. In 2021, we are witnessing a new chapter in the country’s love for cricket as two hugely popular tournaments are being hosted in the UAE. Last week, the last leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament kicked off, and will culminate with the final in Dubai on the 15th of October. Only two days after that will mark the start of the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup (being jointly hosted by the UAE and Oman). The latter is especially significant as the tournament, normally played on Indian soil, is shifting venues for the first time in its 14-year history. UAE residents are ready to welcome it with open arms.

T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE

T20 World Cup 2021 in UAE

The UAE's connection with cricket predates the formation of the Union, with the sport being played in local clubs formed by expatriates from India and Pakistan. The Sharjah Cricket Stadium was constructed in the early 1980s, and shortly afterward, in 1989, the UAE became a member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport's governing body. During that same decade, the Sharjah Cup, an international tournament, was established and held annually at the stadium until 2003. The t20 world cup 2024 also highlighted the UAE's enduring relationship with cricket.

In 2005, the ICC, which had been headquartered at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London since its inception, moved its offices to Dubai. Four years later, the Dubai International Cricket Stadium was inaugurated in Dubai Sports City and became a major cricket hub. In that same year, the national team of Pakistan suffered some tensions in their home country and ended up adopting the Dubai stadium as their ‘home ground’, a role that it continues to fulfill in the present day. Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city, unveiled Zayed Cricket Stadium in 2006, which is one of the host venues for the IPL and T20 World Cup tournament alongside the Dubai and Sharjah stadiums. The latter will have an additional venue in Oman’s Al Amerat stadium.

One of the most significant phases of the UAE’s cricketing history came in 2018, when it hosted the Asia Cup - a competition that is particularly popular in the subcontinent.

However, the UAE is not just a playground for international teams - a national team was formed in the early 90’s and has played in several locally and internationally hosted tournaments.

ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Stage, Group and Team Details:

Stage Group Terms
Round 1 Group A Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands and Namibia
Round 1 Group B Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea and Oman
Super 12s Group 1 England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2
Super 12s Group 2 India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, A2 and B

T20 World Cup 2021 Schedule

First Round
Match No Date Teams Time Venue
1 17-Oct-21 Oman Vs Papua New Guinea 3:30 PM Muscat​
2 17-Oct-21 Bangladesh Vs Scotland 7:30 PM Muscat
3 18-Oct-21 Ireland Vs Netherlands​ 3:30 PM Abu Dhabi
4 18-Oct-21 Sri Lanka Vs Namibia 7:30 PM Abu Dhabi
5 19-Oct-21 Scotland Vs Papua New Guinea​ 3:30 PM Muscat
6 18-Oct-21 Oman Vs Bangladesh 7:30 PM Muscat
7 20-Oct-21 Namibia Vs Netherlands​ 3:30 PM Abu Dhabi
8 20-Oct-21 Sri Lanka Vs Ireland​ 7:30 PM Abu Dhabi
9 21-Oct-21 Bangladesh Vs Papua New Guinea 3:30 PM Muscat
10 21-Oct-21 Oman Vs Scotland​ 7:30 PM Muscat
11 22-Oct-21 Namibia Vs Ireland 3:30 PM Sharjah
12 22-Oct-21 Sri Lanka Vs Netherlands 7:30 PM Sharjah
Super 12 - Group 1 Matches:
Match No Date Teams Time Venue
1 23-Oct-21 Australia Vs South Africa 3:30 PM Abu Dhabi​
2 23-Oct-21 England Vs West Indies 7:30 PM Dubai
3 24-Oct-21 A1 Vs B2 3:30 PM Sharjah
4 26-Oct-21 South Africa Vs West Indies 3:30 PM Dubai
5 27-Oct-21 England Vs B2 3:30 PM Abu Dhabi
6 28-Oct-21 Australia Vs A1 7:30 PM Dubai
7 29-Oct-21 West Indies Vs B2​ 3:30 PM Sharjah
8 30-Oct-21 South Africa Vs A1​ 3:30 PM Sharjah
9 30-Oct-21 England Vs Australia 7:30 PM Dubai
10 01-Nov-21 England Vs A1 7:30 PM Sharjah
11 02-Nov-21 South Africa Vs B2 3:30 PM Abu Dhabi
12 04-Nov-21 Australia Vs B2 3:30 PM Dubai
13 04-Nov-21 West Indies Vs A1 7:30 PM Abu Dhabi
14 04-Nov-21 Australia Vs West Indies 3:30 PM Abu Dhabi
15 06-Nov-21 England Vs South Africa 3:30 PM Dubai
Super 12 - Group 2 Matches:
Match No Date Teams Time Venue
1 24-Oct-21 India Vs Pakistan 7:30 PM Dubai​
2 25-Oct-21 Afghanistan Vs B1 7:30 PM Sharjah
3 26-Oct-21 Pakistan Vs New Zealand 7:30 PM Sharjah
4 27-Oct-21 B1 Vs A2 7:30 PM Abu Dhabi
5 29-Oct-21 Afghanistan Vs Pakistan 7:30 PM Dubai
6 31-Oct-21 Afghanistan Vs A2 7:30 PM Abu Dhabi
7 31-Oct-21 India Vs New Zealand​ 7:30 PM Dubai
8 02-Nov-21 Pakistan Vs A2 7:30 PM Abu Dhabi
9 03-Nov-21 New Zealand Vs B1 7:30 PM Dubai
10 03-Nov-21 India Vs Afghanistan 7:30 PM Abu Dhabi
11 05-Nov-21 New Zealand Vs A2 3:30 PM Sharjah
12 05-Nov-21 India Vs B1 7:30 PM Dubai
13 07-Nov-21 New Zealand Vs Afghanistan 3:30 PM Abu Dhabi
14 07-Nov-21 Pakistan Vs B1 7:30 PM Sharjah
15 08-Nov-21 India Vs A2 7:30 PM Dubai

ICC T20 World Cup 2021 Final & Semifinal Matches:

Date Semi-Final | Final Teams Time
10 Nov 2021 TBC vs TBC 1st Semi-Final 7:30 PM
11 Nov 2021 TBC vs TBC 2nd Semi-Final 7:30 PM
14 Nov 2021 TBC vs TBC Final 7:30 PM

A Sporting Haven

A Sporting Haven

Sporting events in the UAE are not just about the competitive aspect - they tend to be lavish social affairs that provide a good excuse for some communal bonding. Autumn is when Dubai’s sporting season begins in earnest, with key highlights being the DP World Tour Championship, Omega Desert Classic and Emirates Rugby Sevens. The IPL and T20 World Cup tournaments are a very welcome addition to that lineup, and there are already cricket tournaments being lined up for 2022. For the city’s sports lovers, it just adds even more variety and sets the stage for a very exciting winter.

As the country with the highest vaccination rate in the world, the UAE is a fantastic retreat for visitors the world over. It is one of the factors that led to the tournament being hosted here, creating a space that is safe for spectators and for the players.

Future of the Sport

Future of the Sport

The T20 tournament is expected to be the start of a bold new era of cricket in the UAE, taking the country’s long love affair with the sport to the next level. Shortly after the conclusion of the World Cup, the fifth season of the Abu Dhabi T10 will begin, running for a span of 15 days across November and December, with the final match taking place shortly after the 50th National Day celebrations.

The UAE is all set to introduce its very own T20 cricket franchise next year, and January 2022 will mark the beginning of the championship that will formally be known as the Premier League T20. Comprising six teams to start, this is expected to become an integral part of the nation’s cricket calendar.