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IPL to begin on April 7

Starting from this season, afternoon matches will begin later, and night matches brought forward by an hour

Nagraj Gollapudi
Mumbai Indians savour their IPL success, Mumbai Indians v Rising Pune Supergiant, IPL final, Hyderabad, May 21, 2017


The 2018 season of the IPL will begin on April 7 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai with the final scheduled for May 27 at the same venue. Defending champions Mumbai Indians will play the tournament opener, and their opponent will be revealed when the IPL releases the match schedule this week.
Another significant decision taken by the IPL Governing Council on Monday was to change the start times for the matches. From this season on, afternoon matches will be begin at 5.30 pm, and night games will commence at 7 pm. Until last season, these matches began at 4 pm and 8 pm respectively. This means that the second innings of the first match and the first innings of the second will overlap on double-header days.
It is understood the shift in timings was agreed to by Star India, which in September bagged the global broadcast rights for the IPL for the next five years. "The timings were changed because the day matches were being played in peak summer-time heat," an IPL official said. "It (5.30 pm start) is a better time."
The IPL has also finalised the venues for the home matches for Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals. Kings XI will play four of their seven home matches at their home base in Mohali and the remaining three in Indore. As for Royals, Jaipur remains the franchise's first-choice venue, but the IPL has decided to wait for the court hearing on January 24 at the Rajasthan High Court. The hearing concerns the unanimous adoption of the Lodha Committee recommendations by the Rajasthan Cricket Association, which is housed at the Sawai Mansingh stadium in Jaipur.
ESPNcricnfo understands the IPL has already finalised Pune as the standby venue for Royals in case the court hearing drags on.

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo