IPL Twenty20 cricket is back in India after a year’s gap as Covid recedes

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IPL is back in India

The Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket matches will begin in Chennai on April 9 and the tournament will be played across six venues with no spectators being allowed in the initial games, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Sunday.

Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will host the playoffs as well as the May 30 final, while Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are the other venues on the list.

The Twenty20 competition was shifted to the United Arab Emirates last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The IPL this year at home will be played behind closed doors to begin with and a call on allowing spectators will be taken at a later stage of the tournament,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

“The fixtures of the tournament have been mapped in a way that every team will travel only three times during the league stage, thus reducing commute and minimising risk,” Shah said.

“After hosting the tournament safely and successfully in the UAE last year the BCCI is confident of hosting the IPL at home with health and safety of players and all people involved being paramount,” he said.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match. The tournament’s eight teams will play all their matches at neutral venues.

Chinese smartphone maker Vivo is back as title sponsor of the IPL after withdrawing from last year’s tournament amid the Ladakh military stand-off and Galwan clashes that triggered a backlash against Chinese companies in India.