Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) and Mumbai Indian captain Rohit Sharma - AFP
NEW DELHI, AFP: The Chennai Super Kings will take on defending champions Mumbai Indians in the IPL’s opening match, officials said Sunday, despite being the last team to start training after two players tested positive for coronavirus.
The fixture list for the league – which runs from 19 September to 10 November in the United Arab Emirates – was released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The lucrative tournament was delayed and then moved out of India because of the pandemic.
“The season will kickstart on 19 September in Abu Dhabi with a blockbuster clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings,” BCCI Honorary Secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
“There will be 10 double headers... In all, 24 matches will be held in Dubai, 20 in Abu Dhabi and 12 in Sharjah.” The venues for the playoffs and the final would be announced later, he added.
Two Chennai players – Deepak Chahar and Ruturaj Gaikwad – and 11 officials and support staff had tested positive for the infectious disease, delaying the start of the squad’s training.
A growing list of top names have pulled out from the competition.
Former India Test off-spinner Harbhajan Singh on Friday become the second key player to withdraw from three-time champions Chennai, after former Test batsman Suresh Raina’s withdrawal for “personal reasons”.
England’s Jason Roy of the Delhi Capitals will not go because of injury. Australian international Kane Richardson pulled out of Royal Challengers Bangalore to be at the birth of his first child.