IPL kicks off today
Published: 12:15 PM, 19 September 2020 Updated: 04:23 PM, 19 September 2020
Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 will finally kick off on Saturday after months of uncertainty because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 53-day tournament begins without its customary glitz and glamour, but the Twenty20 tournament is expected to be a welcome relief to cricket fans during the coronavirus pandemic.
There will be no gala opening ceremony for the world's most famous and most popular franchise league, and the games will be played behind closed doors at three venues including Dubai and Sharjah.
All the eight teams have been in strict, bio-secure "bubbles" since landing in the UAE.
The short-form extravaganza normally starts in March but along with other major international sporting events was postponed as countries went into virus lockdowns. It was then moved to in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as coronavirus infections rose in India.
The Mumbai Indians (MI) will begin their title defence with a clash against the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi today. And while much of the focus will be on both these teams as they are two most successful franchises with four and three titles respectively, this season could pan out to be the most even of all the editions.
For one, unlike the tournament held in India, teams won't have home advantage with the fixtures to be played at three away venues in the UAE: Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. That presents a level-playing field for all the teams.
Success will also depend on how the teams adapt not just to the conditions but also the mental aspect of living in a bio-bubble. Another aspect would be the absence of fans, at least, in the initial stages.