The stage is elaborately set at the picturesque Zayed Cricket stadium saturday for the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
The event organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in cooperation with the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) will see 60 matches played in 56 days across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.
Abu Dhabi will stage 20 games while Dubai 24 and Sharjah 12 complete the group stage, followed by the play-off rounds and the final slated for 10 November.
The matches will be played behind closed doors and under strict safety protocols set by the UAE government.
His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, while welcoming the teams, players and the visiting delegations wished the event all the success.
“We are delighted to host the world’s best franchise cricket league and looking forward for the action to begin at the Zayed Cricket stadium in Abu Dhabi,” he added.
“We affirm the importance of the IPL and its massive role in supporting the sustainability of the sporting achievements of Abu Dhabi on the global sporting map, after it became the focus of attention and talk of the world for hosting elite events and forums.
“Abu Dhabi also demonstrates once again its great organizational capabilities in optimal handling and directing of the most important events in an impressive manner despite the current situation, based on the keenness and interest of the wise leadership and its pioneering role in achieving rapprochement and communication between peoples through sport.
“We are proud to have joined the IPL, its successful career and great value to the list of our sporting events hosted in Abu Dhabi.
“The hosting of the event also reflects the prestigious position and global confidence the UAE enjoys in light of its infrastructure, world class stadiums and sports facilities.
“Such large events contribute to strengthening the global leadership of the Emirates and its lofty open message towards the peoples of the world with harmony and love.”
His Highness praised the cooperation between the BCCI, ECB and all cricket councils in each of the three Emirates, in hosting the tournament.