The schedule for the inaugural season of the ILT20 cricket competition has been announced, with the tournament to begin on January 13 at the Dubai International Stadium.
The ILT20 (International League T20) is a new franchise-based competition organised by the Emirates Cricket Board. The tournament is set to feature 34 matches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
The opening match at the Dubai International Stadium will be contested by the Dubai Capitals and the Abu Dhabi Knight Riders. Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Cricket Stadium (pictured) will stage its first match on January 14 when the MI Emirates take on the Sharjah Warriors.
The Emirates and the Warriors will also meet in the first fixture at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on January 17. Sharjah will host eight matches in total, with Abu Dhabi and Dubai to stage 10 and 16, respectively.
The six competing franchises will play each other twice before the playoffs, which will culminate in the final at Dubai International Stadium on February 12.
The ILT20 has received multi-year approval from the International Cricket Council. The teams will comprise 84 international and 24 UAE-based players.
Mubashshir Usmani, general secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board, said: “This is a very exciting time for the league and, collectively, we are delighted to announce the 2023 ILT20 playing schedule. To have superstars such as Dubai Capitals’ Dasun Shanaka and Abu Dhabi Knight Riders’ Andre Russell open their teams’ accounts is very exciting.
“We cannot wait for the teams to arrive and battle it out on the park and provide world-class entertainment to the cricket fans here, in the UAE, and around the globe. It is very important for us to launch the first season in an emphatic style, and the league management is very excited to have engaged with globally recognised artists in Badshah and Jason Derulo, both of whom will undoubtedly energise the teams and the fans leading into the opening match. We are confident that the ILT20 will be a huge success.”