Chennai: The United Arab Emirates was today awarded the hosting rights of 20 matches in the IPL's first leg with defending champions Mumbai Indians opening the tournament by squaring off against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 16 in Abu Dhabi.
The IPL Governing Council announced the schedule for the first phase of the tournament after a meeting here.
The UAE leg of the IPL, a part of which has been shifted out of the country due to general elections, will wind up on April 30 with Mumbai facing Sunrisers Hyderabad in Dubai.
“The opening match on April 16 will be played in Abu Dhabi between @mipaltan and @KKRiders (8 pm IST/6:30 pm local),” the IPL organisers announced in a series of tweets.
“20 matches will be played in 3 stadiums: Sheikh Zayed Stadium- Abu Dhabi, Sharjah CA Stadium, Dubai International Cricket Stadium #PepsiIPL.
“The IPL GC has confirmed that the first phase of the #PepsiIPL 2014 season matches will be played in the UAE from April 16-30,” another tweet said.
The second leg of the tournament has been tentatively kept for Bangladesh but could be held in India between May 1-12 if the government agrees to provide security to the event.
The IPL has been refused security by the government as its schedule is clashing with the general elections, scheduled to be held in nine phases from April 7 to May 12.
The last leg of the IPL from May 13, including the play-offs and the final slated for June 1, will be held in India.
This is the second time the event has had to be forced out of the country due to elections.
In 2009, the entire tournament had to be shifted to South Africa, a country which was in contention to host the event even this time.
Due to the lesser number of teams, the duration of the league has also been shortened this time to 47 days and 60 matches - much less than the 76 games played last season which was spread over 54 days.
The schedule of the second and third phase of the tournament will be released later.