Mumbai to face Chennai in IPL opener in Abu Dhabi

The 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) season begins with a clash of the titans when defending champions Mumbai Indians take on the Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi on Sept. 19 as the country's governing body announced the schedule on Sunday.

Mumbai beat Chennai by one run in the final last year to win their fourth title and become the IPL's most successful franchise.

This year's IPL, which was originally scheduled to begin in March in India, is being held in the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matches are set to begin at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm IST and will be held across three venues -- Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. The venues for the playoffs and final will be announced at a later date.

The IPL said last week that 13 members of the Chennai franchise, including two players, had tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the UAE and had been placed into isolation.

Chennai's Indian players Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh have already withdrawn from the tournament and returned to India for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, Mumbai had to replace the IPL's leading wicket taker Lasith Malinga with Australia's James Pattinson after the Sri Lankan fast bowler also opted out of the annual tournament.