Amid all the stress and anxiety of the pandemic over the last nine months, the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 came as a breath of fresh air for all the cricket lovers across the globe. After a five-month delay due to the pandemic, the cricket fest started on September 19 and has come to an end after eight weeks full of exciting encounters.
The tournament was shifted outside India to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). But, contrary to the earlier expectations, weather played a significant role throughout the tournament. While hot and humid conditions troubled players in the first half, persistent dew made bowling in the second innings a nightmare in the latter half of the tournament. Nevertheless, IPL 2020 is etched in our memories as a sporting extravaganza that kept everyone on their toes by being the most competitive season ever.
Only two more matches are to be played in the final week of this season: Qualifier 2 on Sunday and the Finals on Tuesday. While Mumbai Indians have already reached the finals, Sunday’s Qualifier 2 between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will determine the second finalist. The Qualifier 2 will be held at the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, while the Finals is set to take place at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Both the matches will start at 6 pm local time (7.30 PM IST).
The weather in UAE during the first half of November is pleasant with maximum temperatures of around 31°C and a minimum of around 21°C. The chances of rain increase marginally in November compared to the previous months. However, on both Sunday and Tuesday night, the chances of rain are almost zero at both the venues. Temperatures are likely to remain between 28-29°C during the match hours, while clear skies and average wind speed may prevail during both the crucial matches.
The biggest worry, however, for the players would be the high levels of humidity and dew forecast during the match hours. Over the past two weeks, almost all the evening matches were won by the chasing team, as bowling in the second innings was extremely difficult due to the persistent dew across all the three locations. Dew makes the ball and the outfield wet, making it extremely difficult for bowlers, especially spinners, to grip the ball.
Moreover, most of the recent matches remained low-scoring games due to a few incredible spells from the seamers. The moisture present in the atmosphere due to humid conditions helps fast bowlers to extract swing, making it harder for batters to score, especially in the first innings. The same humidity leads to higher dew accumulation in the evening hours, making it easier to score and harder to bowl in the second innings. Therefore, the teams winning the toss are better off batting second in the upcoming matches and therefore, toss could play a crucial role in determining the champion this year.
The relative humidity is forecast to remain very high at around 70-80% in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai during the Qualifier 2 and the Finals. The nighttime dew point temperatures are likely to remain high at around 20-21°C in both the venues, while minimum temperatures could hover around 20-22°C. The cold night conditions, high relative humidity and high dew point temperatures are likely to result in significant dew lingering in both the venues.
ENGLAND ANNOUNCES THEIR SQUAD
Surrey left-armer Reece Topley, who featured against Ireland earlier this year in his first international match since 2016, has been named in both squads. Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone – both of whom are uncapped in ODIs – have landed spots in the 50-over squad, while Warwickshire seamer Olly Stone could be in line to play his first ODI in over two years after his inclusion. Tom Banton does not find a place in either squad – but has been named as a reserve for both formats. Seamers Jake Ball and Tom Helm are the other two reserves. Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Ben Stokes are in the T20I squad but have been rested for the ODIs.
England T20I squad to play South Africa
Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Reece Topley, Mark Wood
England ODI squad to play South Africa
Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Tom Curran, Lewis Gregory, Liam Livingstone, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Olly Stone, Reece Topley, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
Reserves for both formats
Jake Ball, Tom Banton, Tom Helm