The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to commence on April 9, 2021 with a clash between the defending champions Mumbai Indians and Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore. The schedule of the tournament was announced the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Sunday. The Board also confirmed that the world’s largest cricket stadium- the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, will host the IPL Playoffs including the final, the latter of which is slated to be held on May 30, 2021. Meanwhile, it has also been confirmed that all matches will be played at neutral venues this season and no team will play at their home stadium. While the afternoon games are slated for a 3:30 pm (IST) start, the evening games will have a 7:30 pm (IST) start.
Six venues to host IPL 2021
As many as six venues have been shortlisted to organise the tournament- Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata. This implies that the tournament will return to India after nearly two years with the 2020 edition successfully being staged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Each team will play at four venues this season during the league stage of the competition. Of the 56 league fixtures, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata & Bengaluru will host 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and Delhi will have 8 matches.
No fans allowed for initial matches
IPL 2021 will host the initial set of matches behind closed doors. However, the orgainsers are yet to take a call on whether or not to allow crowds during the latter stage of the tournament. Keeping the coronavirus risk in mind, the schedule has been mapped in a way that requires teams to travel just three times for the entire T20 festival. Meanwhile, a total of 11 double headers have been announced with 6 teams set to play three afternoon matches & two teams to play two afternoon matches.
A final on May 30 will also allow the Indian players to prepare themselves for the ICC World Test Championship final scheduled to be played from 18 to 22 June 2021. The venue for the same is yet to be finalised with Southampton emerging as a potential venue.