The five-time champions of Mumbai Indians will clash with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings on Sunday in Dubai.
The rest of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) season will have spectators in the stadiums again when it resumes in the United Arab Emirates later this week, organizers say.
The IPL was suspended in May with 31 matches still to be played after several players and staff in the back room tested positive for COVID-19 amid a devastating second wave in India.
“Matches are being played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi with limited seating, taking into account the COVID protocols and UAE regulations,” organizers said in a statement on Wednesday.
However, the league did not specify the number of supporters that would be allowed, or a vaccine certificate would be required for admission.
The tournament resumes with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings playing against five-time champions Mumbai at Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday, four months after the world’s richest T20 league was halted halfway through the pandemic in India.
“This match will be an important occasion as IPL will welcome the fans back to the stadiums after a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 situation,” the IPL statement read.
Tickets for the rest of the tournament, which ends on October 15 with the final, are available from Thursday.
The IPL was moved to the UAE last year, where it was kept behind closed doors and fans stayed away in the first leg of this issue in India.
Broadcasters use virtual background sounds of fans cheering and stadium glasses for the TV audience, while matches are played in empty stadiums in the UAE and India.
The remaining matches of the ongoing 14th edition are played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah with players from all eight franchises in strict bio-bubbles.