M S Dhoni, captain of Chennai Super Kings
MS Dhoni will lead Chennai Super Kings in IPL once again Image Credit: AP

Dubai: This year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) will begin in Chennai on April 9 and will be played across six venues, initially without spectators, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on Sunday.

Last year’s edition of the popular Twenty20 competition was held in the United Arab Emirates as India grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium will host the play-offs as well as the May 30 final, with Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata being the other venues.

All matches will be played behind closed doors, with the BCCI saying that a call on allowing spectators will be taken at a later stage of the tournament.

Each team will play at four venues during the league stage. Out of the 56 league matches, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru will host 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and Delhi will host eight matches each.

The board said that matches have been designed in such a way that each team will travel only three times during the league stage.

"One of the highlights of this edition of the VIVO IPL will be the fact that all matches will be played at neutral venues, no team will play at their home venue. All teams will play at four out of six venues during the league stage," said the BCCI in its statement.

There will be a total of 11 double headers where six teams will play three afternoon matches and two teams will play two afternoon matches. The afternoon games are slated for a 3.30pm IST start while the evening games will have a 7.30pm start.