Chennai Super Kings take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2024 opener on March 22

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NEW DELHI: The much-anticipated 17th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will kick off on March 22, with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), breaking the cash-rich league’s long-standing tradition of the opening match between last edition’s winners and runners-up.
MS Dhoni-led CSK will play their first match in front of their home crowd at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
The BCCI on Thursday unveiled the schedule of 21 matches for the first 17 days of the tournament, taking into consideration the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. The complete IPL schedule will be disclosed at a later date, pending the finalisation of the general election dates.

During the 17-day period, 21 matches will be played across 10 cities, with each team playing a minimum of three matches and a maximum of five.
The first weekend will feature two double headers, beginning with the Punjab Kings hosting the Delhi Capitals on Saturday afternoon, followed by the Kolkata Knight Riders hosting the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the evening.
On Sunday afternoon (March 24), the action will shift to Jaipur, where the home team Rajasthan Royals will face the Lucknow Super Giants.
Sunday evening will witness the home team Gujarat Titans, the 2022 champions and finalists of the last season going head-to-head with five-time winners Mumbai Indians.

Having chosen to play their first two home matches in Visakhapatnam, the Delhi Capitals (DC) will first host the Chennai Super Kings on Sunday, March 31 in the port city and will then face the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the same venue on Wednesday, April 3.
As per the format, 10 teams are divided into two groups of five. In the group stage, each team plays 14 games facing the other four sides in their group two times each (home and away basis), four teams in the other group once, and the remaining team two times.

Despite the upcoming general elections, the tournament will take place entirely in India.
“As in the past, the BCCI will work closely with government and security agencies, following all necessary protocols and advisories related to the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections in India.
“Once the dates for the 18th Lok Sabha elections are announced, the Board will review and address any issues pertaining to the schedule of the first two weeks.

“Subsequently, the BCCI will work in tandem with local authorities to finalize the schedule for the remainder of the season, taking into account the polling dates,” stated a BCCI media release.
The IPL was held entirely overseas only once, in 2009, in South Africa. In 2014, a portion of the tournament was held in the UAE due to the elections. However, in 2019, the IPL took place in India despite the elections.
Hardik Pandya is all set to make his debut as the captain for the Mumbai Indians, taking over from Rohit Sharma, who serves as the skipper for Team India across all formats.
Adding to the excitement, the emerging talent from New Zealand, Rachin Ravindra, will be making his maiden appearance in the IPL, following a notable performance in the ODI World Cup last year.
Meanwhile, the iconic figure and CSK stalwart, Dhoni, who led his team to five IPL titles, has been out of competitive cricket since their victorious campaign in the previous season.
The IPL players’ auction for the 2024 season took place in December last year, with Australian pacer Mitchell Starc becoming the most expensive player in IPL history after being bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 24.75 crore.

IPL 2024 SCHEDULE:
March 22: CSK vs RCB
March 23: PBKS vs DC; KKR vs SRH
March 24: RR vs LSG; GT vs MI
March 25: RCB vs PBKS
March 26: CSK vs GT
March 27: SRH vs MI
March 28: RR vs DC
March 29: RCB vs KKR
March 30: LSG vs PBKS
March 31: GT vs SRH; DC vs CSK
April 1: MI vs RR
April 2: RCB vs LSG
April 3: DC vs KKR
April 4: GT v PBKS
April 5: SRH vs CSK
April 6: RR vs RCB
April 7: MI vs DC
April 7: LSG vs GT.

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