IPL 2020 final and Qualifier 1 in Dubai; remaining playoffs in Abu Dhabi

Lasith Malinga holds the IPL trophy and celebrates with Krunal and Hardik Pandya Mahesh Kumar A / © Associated Press

The first qualifier and the final of IPL 2020 will be played in Dubai on November 5 and 10, respectively, while the eliminator - between the teams placed third and fourth - and the second qualifier will be played in Abu Dhabi on November 6 and 8. All the playoff matches will start at 7.30pm IST, which is 6pm local time.

Meanwhile, all four matches of the Women's T20 Challenge will played in Sharjah between November 4 and 9. Only the second of those four matches will start at 3.30pm IST (2pm local time) and the remaining three will start as 7.30pm IST.

The first game will be a re-match of the 2019 final, with champions Supernovas, led by Harmanpreet Kaur, facing off against Velocity, led by Mithali Raj. The third team, Trailblazers, is led by Smriti Mandhana.

The playoffs will end the tournament after more than seven weeks of action in the UAE, where the eight teams had to live in bio-secure bubbles since landing in August. The BCCI had initially announced the schedule of the league stage in early September, just under two weeks off from the start of the competition, with Abu Dhabi hosting 20 games, Dubai 24 and Sharjah 12.

It was the first time that the IPL has been played without crowds in the stadiums, and the second time that it has had to be played away from India in its entirety. The 2009 edition was completely played in South Africa, whereas the first 20 games of the 2014 edition were held in the UAE; on both occasions, the reason was the general elections in India, which led to limited security arrangements in the country. This time, however, the rising Covid-19 cases in India led to the switch.

As for the Women's T20 Challenge, there was a fair bit of uncertainty around it for the longest time, despite BCCI president Sourav Ganguly saying as early as on August 2 that it was "very much on". The plan to increase it to a four-team contest was shelved, but the tournament was confirmed despite a clash with the Women's Big Bash League, which meant that no Australian player, as well as a number of top-drawer players from other countries, could be a part of it.

Sophie Ecclestone, the No. 1-ranked T20I bowler among women, and batter Danni Wyatt, who both appeared in the 2019 edition, are the two England representatives in the competition, while other big names include West Indies allrounder Deandra Dottin, Sri Lanka's current captain Chamari Atapattu and former captain Shashikala Siriwardene.

Thailand, who are among the fastest emerging teams in the women's circuit, also have a representation in the form of batter Natakkan Chantam. The 24-year-old impressed with her quality stroke-making during Thailand's maiden T20 World Cup appearance in Australia earlier this year.