Defending champions Mumbai Indians will clash with 2012 winners Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match of the 2014 Indian Premier League. The match will be played in Abu Dhabi on April 16. The first leg of the tournament will be played in the United Arab Emirates till April 30. (Also read: Kevin Pietersen eager to work with coach Gary Kirsten)
Twenty matches will be played in three Emirates stadiums: Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah's CA Stadium, Dubai International Cricket Stadium. Top Indian cricketers will return to Sharjah and Dubai after a gap of 14 years. Sharjah was banned as a venue in 2001 by the Indian government after reports of match-fixing involving top players emerged in the Nineties. (What Australian batsmen learnt from Virender Sehwag)
UAE was chosen an off-shore venue because the tournament clashed with the general elections. The second phase of the IPL, scheduled between May 1-12, is expected to be held in India. Bangladesh is an alternate venue. From May 13, all matches will be played in India. The final is scheduled on June 1.