The Indian Premier League is set to restart in the United Arab Emirates following its earlier Covid-19 postponement.
The 2021 campaign was called to a halt during the group phase after rising cases in India.
Tournament officials have now decided to host the rest of the competition in the UAE after it successfully held the entirety of the previous year’s event.
A change in conditions could suit some bowlers more than others when the action finally gets underway in September.
Let us take a look at five players that excelled in the UAE in 2020 and will be targeting a repeat this time around.
1. Kagiso Rabada
The South Africa pace ace picked up the coveted IPL Purple Cap last year when taking 30 wickets in 17 matches for beaten finalists Delhi Capitals.
That showing in the UAE saw him installed as the 8.0 joint-favourite with Funbet and the other best betting sites in India to take the honour for a second year running.
He had eight wickets in seven games prior to IPL 2021 being postponed but could be handed some extra momentum with a return to the UAE.
Delhi will resume the tournament sitting at the top of the group standings and with hopes of going one better than the year before.
A firing Rabada would go a long way to them realising that dream.
2. T Natarajan
The Sunrisers Hyderabad left-armer shone when the IPL was last in the UAE.
He bagged 16 in 16 matches to make the top 10 wicket-taker list and earned himself a debut India call-up across all formats.
The medium-pacer caught the attention of national selectors with his excellent yorkers and variations and could welcome resuming in the place he had so much success.
Natarajan only featured in two IPL matches in 2021 and only took two wickets despite being among the favourites for a big campaign.
He is another that could spring back to life once back in the surroundings that suited him so well previously.
The 29-year-old hitting top gear would be a big boost for a SRH side that took the captaincy off David Warner after such a poor start to this year’s tournament.
3. Ravi Bishnoi
The young spinner from Punjab Kings enjoyed conditions in the UAE as he stormed onto the IPL scene in 2020.
The 20-year-old was one of the finds of the tournament as he took 12 wickets in 14 matches.
He wasn’t selected for Punjab’s opening few matches but soon had an impact when he was handed another opportunity in this year’s edition.
He was among the wickets and took some impressive catches in the field before action was halted.
Getting back to the pitches that served him so well the previous year is sure to bring more wickets again.
4. Yuzvendra Chahal
The Royal Challengers Bangalore spinner hasn’t managed to have the same success in 2021 as he did in 2020.
A return to India for the start of this year’s tournament saw him bag just four wickets in seven matches, despite RCB’s excellent early-season form.
The pitches in the UAE will likely be much slower than in India and spinners like Chahal and Bishnoi can have a lot more joy.
This was evident the last time he was in the UAE when he came fifth in the top wicket-taker charts with 21 in just 15 matches.
5. Ravindra Jadeja
While Jadeja didn’t shine in the 2020 edition of the IPL, he makes this list as a name that could be one to follow in the UAE this time around.
The all-rounder suffered as Chennai Super Kings struggled last season but was quick to come to the fore during an impressive start to the 2021 edition.
Jadeja has excelled so far with runs, wickets and catches to bolster Chennai’s playoff ambitions. CSK are one of the most successful sides in IPL history but need him to fire in what is considered by many a transition period for the franchise.
His form in 2014 when the UAE first hosted the Indian Premier League also offers encouragement. Jadeja was fourth in the wicket-taker table that year with 19 in 16 matches.