IPL2020: Schedule announced, MI to face CSK in opener

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Defending champions Mumbai Indians will face three-time winners Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi in the opening match of the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

After much anticipation, the BCCI have officially announced the schedule for the Dream11 IPL 2020.

The tournament starts on 19 September and will be entirely in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) behind closed doors amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

MI and CSK were originally scheduled to play the opening match of the 2020 season at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on 29 March. However the outbreak of the pandemic in India and the subsequent lockdown led to the tournament being postponed indefinitely.

After the tournament opener, Dubai will host its first game on 20 September with the Delhi Capitals taking on Kings XI Punjab, followed Sunrisers Hyderabad facing off with the Royal Challengers Bangalore on 21 September.

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There will be 10 double headers, with the first match starting at 3.30 p.m. IST and the second at 7.30 p.m. IST. 24 matches are scheduled to be held in Dubai with 20 matches in Abu Dhabi. Sharjah is slated to host the fewest matches at just 12.

The final game of the group stage will be played on 3 November between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Mumbai Indians. Schedule for the playoffs and the final will be announced at a later date.

Due to the current IPL dates and quarantine requirements, most Australian and English players will start the tournament only after 26 September. Players like Aaron Finch, David Warner, and Steve Smith are part of the 21-man squad that will tour England between 4 September and 16 September.

Although the games will commence behind closed doors, fans are optimistic that spectators will be allowed in games by the latter half of the tournament, depending on the COVID situation in the UAE then.