Dubai: Assistant coach Mohammad Kaif reckons the first match in the second half of the Indian Premier League will set the tone for the rest of the tournament for table toppers Delhi Capitals.
The second leg of the T20 league, which was suspended in May due to the increasing COVID-19 cases in India and multiple infections in the IPL bio-bubble, is scheduled to resume in the UAE from September 19.
The Capitals are currently perched on top of the points table with 12 points from eight matches.
"There has been a big break after the first half of the IPL, but we are fortunate that most of the players have been playing international cricket regularly," Kaif was quoted as saying in a media release.
"We have a well-balanced side as there are players with international cricket experience and domestic players, who have been putting in good performances. The first match is going to be crucial for us.
"Our performance in the first match will set the momentum for us," he said.
Kaif added that the roles of some of the players in the team may change because of the change in venue from India to UAE.
"We played well in India and now we have to carry forward our performance here in the UAE. The roles for some of the players compared to the first half of the IPL may change because the conditions are different here.
"We have to start afresh in the second half of the tournament. We are looking to get used to the conditions here in the next few days and also play a couple of practice matches," said the 40-year-old.
Star batsman Shreyas Iyer, who missed out on the first half of the season due to a shoulder injury, his returned to the side for the second leg.
"There are not many changes to the squad as compared to the first half of the tournament, however the biggest plus for us is that Shreyas Iyer is back in the squad.
"He is a fantastic player and he's been playing well for us in the last couple of seasons. We are looking forward to seeing him play this season," Kaif said.
The Capitals are set to take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad on September 22.
Limited spectators to be allowed
New Delhi: Limited spectators will be allowed into the stadiums when the much-awaited Indian Premier League resumes in the UAE this weekend, the event's organisers announced on Wednesday. The IPL, which was suspended midway in May due to COVID-19 cases in its bio bubble, will resume from Sunday with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on Chennai Super Kings at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. "This match will be a momentous occasion as IPL will welcome the fans back to the stadiums after a brief hiatus owing to COVID-19 situation," an IPL statement said.
"Matches will be played at Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with limited seating available keeping in mind the COVID protocols and UAE government regulations," it added.
It will be the first time since 2019 when the IPL will be played in front of an audience.
Last year, the league was played behind closed doors in the UAE while the first half of the 2021 edition was also played inside a strict bio-bubble.
Although the league organisers did not specify the exact number of fans who would be let in but sources said their presence would be 50 per cent of the stadium capacity.
"Fans can buy tickets starting September 16 for the remainder of the tournament on the official website www.iplt20.com. Tickets can also be purchased on PlatinumList.net," the league organisers said.
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