IPL 2020 in the UAE – Sending us on a Trip Down Memory Lane

The game of Cricket has evolved rapidly over the last three decades. From the fierce rivalries between bordering nations to the fast-paced T20s played between local teams, the sport, as many would say, has had to adapt a lot to appeal to a bigger audience worldwide.

One of the earliest rivalries in the game – India vs Pakistan – dates back to the eighties. These two nations from the subcontinent were emerging as the biggest threat to the formidable West Indies side, who were almost invincible, winning two World Cups back to back, in 1975 & 1979.

However, in the late eighties and early nineties, Pakistan started to nurture and bring through their ranks a golden generation of deadly fast bowlers – the likes of Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. Soon, they had developed the most dreaded bowling line-up in the world with bowlers who could swing the ball both ways even on dry, subcontinent pitches.

India, on the other hand, saw an influx of raw batting talent who would go on to become the world’s best. Through the nineties, the trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid became the backbone of the Indian batting line-up, taking on the best of bowling attacks with ease.

The Sharjah Cup

To determine who was the superior cricketing team, India and Pakistan decided to battle it out in an annual competition played in a neutral venue – Sharjah in UAE. Although often played as a tri-series between India, Pakistan and a third nation, the Sharjah Cup was always a matter of pride between the neighbours. In the fifteen years of its existence, from 1987 to 2002, the tournament became the most awaited event for millions of households in the two nations.

From moments of individual brilliance displayed by the legendary Javed Miandad and Sachin Tendulkar – the young prodigy back then, to the nail-biting finales played on Fridays, the Sharjah Cup had it all. For all the cricket fans born in the eighties and nineties, memories of this annual affair between the fierce rivals will be engraved forever.

Thus, a sense of nostalgia is set to fill the hearts of many when the flashy franchises of the Indian Premier League take to the stadiums in the UAE. Cricket’s biggest T20 competition, the IPL 2020, is scheduled to begin on September 19 and go on till November 8, with 60 matches being played in 51 days.