The Indian Premier League is being hosted in the United Arab Emirates rather than India this year. So far, it's quite obvious the weather is going to affect the form of the players and the results of the teams.
Seasoned professionals entirely used to navigate the climate associated with Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan, Punjab, and other Indian cities have suddenly had to get to grips with the heat, humidity and other weather elements of Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
For Indian stars like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit Sharma and others, this isn't proving too problematic, as they've travelled to the gulf for cricket on a few occasions in the past. The same can be said for Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi - Afghanistan cricketers who are currently with the Sunrisers Hyderabad - and know what to expect in the UAE.
But for batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders from countries such as New Zealand, South Africa and England - where the weather is a bit less harsh - it's proving taxing. From Jos Buttler and Dale Steyn to Mitchell Santner and Pat Cummins, it's rather obvious this is taking some getting used to.
Understanding the impact of the weather during the IPL in the UAE is part and parcel of useful betting tips for cricket. The predictions take into account how the conditions could influence the result - one way or the other.
One of the most obvious ways the weather is affecting the IPL cricket on the go in the UAE is the influence of dew. When late afternoon turns into the evening in Dubai and surrounds, the ground begins to sweat and conditions start to moisten. This becomes progressively more evident through both innings. It particularly shows in the second half, when bowlers have a hard time keeping the ball dry. They struggle to grip it properly. It slips out the hand, not quite in the position the spinner or seamer wanted, and can be met with harsh results from the willow of the batsmen on the other end. Players such as Kane Williamson have described the pitches on offer as "skiddy" because of the influence of the weather. Coaches like Grant Flower have labelled the decks "sticky" - also because of the surrounding conditions.
The heat can be sapping and drain the players accordingly. Bowlers who only have to get through four overs sometimes have to complete that allotment in two or three bursts because it's too tough for them to bowl all four on the trot. These are professional sportsmen, with high levels of fitness, but even the UAE heat can get to them in a negative way.
The first couple of weeks of the IPL 2020 didn't have double-headers. But thereafter, each Saturday and Sunday have two matches each. That means there's an afternoon fixture as well as one in the evening. It's the one in the afternoon that is of greater concern. At least the evening provides some cooler climes, even if just by a couple of degrees celsius. The Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab and other franchises involved in the first half of the weekend, double-headers have an unusual set of weather-related problems to navigate in the UAE.
Fewer shortened fixtures
Most domestic T20 leagues have to endure a handful of matches that are shortened due to rain. This isn't really the case in the UAE, where wet weather is not that much of an issue, if at all. Therefore, teams who have plans to chase adjusted goals are thwarted. Sides who prefer to pursue rather than set targets have to think alternatively. On the plus side, fewer washed-out matches mean a tighter look to the eight-team standings. If teams are to be separated by points, it'll always be in two-point increments, rather than one - the number of points given to each team when a match is not completed.