The 2020 Indian Premier League is off and running. After nearly 20 days of action, the three venues staging the tournament this year, owing to the coronavirus pandemic, have found mixed reviews come their way for the nature of the surfaces on offer.
In the past, Test matches have happened in the United Arab Emirates, involving Pakistan at this time of the year and mainly those matches have been dull, tedious affairs with batsman dominating a large part of the game.
The story has been similar in this IPL as well, particularly at one venue, where bowlers have thus far failed to find an answer to stop the batsman from getting big runs.
The one difference between India and UAE thus far has been that teams who have opted to chase have struggled to get over the line, despite the boundary sizes at one venue being smaller.
Here is a detailed look at how these three surfaces have played out so far:
Dubai International Stadium, Dubai: The unique aspect to this venue is that there are four pitches on offer. As a result, the boundary sizes have varied based on the pitch used on that particular day. Hence, the scores at this venue have swung from the 160-mark till about the 200+ run mark.
Matches have oscillated between entertaining and tedious depending on the kind of pitches
that are on offer and the boundary sizes. But, in totality, Dubai has given a contest between
bat and ball, for a large part of the match.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi: The dullest pitch on offer in this tournament so far. The venue at Abu Dhabi has seen scores in the middling range with more equal sized boundaries and as a result, a contest on view between bat and ball.
The venue for the playoffs is still unknown, but if Abu Dhabi gets picked to host any of the matches, then the curators may want to work a bit in getting the pitches a bit more batting-friendly to give more entertainment to the fans watching and betting on the cricket matches back home.
Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah: The most batting-friendly wicket out of the three pitches on offer, in this tournament. Short boundaries and a flat pitch have meant no score has felt insurmountable at this venue. The Rajasthan Royals chased down the highest score in the history of the IPL here against the Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders came close to beating the Delhi Capitals in another high scoring match.
The venue has been called a bowler’s graveyard and for the right reasons. Over 1000 runs have been scored at this ground so far in the tournament and with more matches to go, it remains to be seen whether a change will come in the way bowlers tackle the issues present at the venue.
The ground resembles the closest to an Indian venue. However, the difference so far has been that at Sharjah, no team has been able to figure out the right length to succeed with the ball.