After nearly two years, the Indian Premier League is set to return home this April, with Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata hosting the event. The season will kick-start on 9 April 9 in Chennai with a clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The world’s richest T20 competition was shifted to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last year as India grappled with 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,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.

Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium— world’s largest cricket stadium—will host the playoffs as well as the 30 May final, with Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata being the other venues.

Each team is set to play at four venues during the league stage of IPL 2021. Out of the 56 league matches, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru will host 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and Delhi will host 8 matches each. All the matches this season will be played at neutral venues.

“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 added.

Smartphone maker Vivo returned as title sponsor of the league after pulling out of last year’s tournament amid a backlash against Chinese firms in India.

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