The IPL fixture has been finalised!
The final schedule has been released by the IPL, an exciting sign that the 11th season of the premier T20 league in the world is nearing. The release of the schedule reveals some important changes from last season, and gives us a chance to check out when the most exciting matchups will be taking place.
Changes from last season
Perhaps the most significant change in the fixture in comparison to last year is the handling of double-headers. This season, each and every one of the 13 double-headers will be played over Saturday and Sunday. This is a logical change, and one which will ensure maximum exposure of the games.
Mumbai will this season host the final, after it was held in Hyderabad last season. Incidentally, it was the Mumbai Indians who won the tournament last season. The location of the rest of the finals remains unannounced at this time.
One element of the schedule which is unchanged from last season is the time of games. Afternoon matches - of which there will be 12 throughout the regular season - will kick off at 4pm IST, while evening matches - of which there will be 44 - will start at 8pm IST.
When the game will be played in your time zone
Of course, the IPL is a terrific display of international cricketing talent, meaning there is interest in it around the globe. The below will help you determine what time games will be starting in your home town, allowing you to plan accordingly!
Delhi, India: Afternoon games start at 4pm, evening games start at 8pm
Sydney, Melbourne: Afternoon games start at 8:30pm, evening games start at 12:30am
London, United Kingdom: Afternoon games start at 11:30am, evening games start at 3:30pm
Johannesburg, South Africa: Afternoon games start at 12:30pm, evening games start at 4:30pm
Colombo, Sri Lanka: Afternoon games start at 4pm, evening games start at 8pm
Lahore, Pakistan: Afternoon games start at 3:30pm, evening games start at 7:30pm
Auckland, New Zealand: Afternoon games start at 10:30pm, evening games start at 2:30am
Bridgetown, Barbados: Afternoon games start at 6:30am, evening games start at 10:30am
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Afternoon games start at 2:30pm, evening games start at 6:30pm
New York, USA: Afternoon games start at 6:30am, evening games start at 10:30am
Games to watch
Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings, Saturday April 7 at 8pm IST: The season opener! The Mumbai Indians were deserved winners last season, having finished atop the table. In the first game of this season, they will host a Super Kings team rejoining the league after two years suspension for the alleged involvement of their owners in spot-fixing.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni will captain the talented side which includes Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf Du Pleases and Shane Watson. Mumbai will be led by Rohit Sharma, who will be ably supported by the likes of Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Saturday April 14 at 8pm IST: Last season, the Knight Riders knocked out Sunrisers Hyderabad in a controversial eliminator. After Kolkata restricted the Sunrisers to just 128 in their 20 overs, rain interrupted play early in the second innings. With just six overs able to be played in the Knight Riders’ innings, they were set a total of 48 runs to win using the Duckworth-Lewis Method. They promptly made this total with four balls to spare, but the Sunrisers no doubt felt aggrieved that they were unable to play out the entire game. With Sunil Narine and Mitchell Starc heading a talented bowling lineup, and Andre Russell and Chris Lynn boasting some of the most devastating hitting ability in the world, they’ll be looking to get back at KKR in this game.
Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals, Friday April 20 at 8pm IST: The two bad boys of the IPL will go at it in what is sure to be an entertaining battle a couple of weeks into the season. Both of these teams were suspended for corruption in 2015, and have missed the past two seasons. Each was one of the founding teams of the IPL, with the Royals winning the inaugural championship in 2008 and the Super Kings saluting in 2010 and 2011. Chennai are not widely tipped to feature at the business end of the season, but they have some talent and will be looking to take it up to the more highly fancied Royals. Both are proud teams, and having suffered a tumultuous couple of years, will be desperate to return to the top of the table.
Mumbai Indians v Sunrisers Hyderabad, Tuesday April 24 at 8pm IST: These were two of the best teams in it last season, finishing first and third respectively, and the two have opened as equal favourites for this year’s tournament as well. Mumbai have potentially the most damaging batsman in the world at his best in Rohit Sharma, while Kieron Pollard is more than capable of launching balls out of the stadium. From a bowling perspective, Bumrah and Pandyah will act as a lethal fast-bowling duo. For the Sunrisers, expect absolute fireworks at the top of the order as David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan open up proceedings. Shakib Al Hasan and Kane Williamson are terrific test players who can play a variety of roles in the middle order, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Manish Pandey will lead the bowling attack.
The Indian Premier League is edging ever closer, and now that the fixture has been released, excitement is reaching fever pitch. There are a litany of mouthwatering matchups throughout the schedule, and this guide will hopefully have given you some idea of what to look out for.