The IPL 2020 schedule is going to be out on Friday, with the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly finally announcing that preparations for the tournament are on track. It is widely reported that Mumbai Indians, the four-time IPL champions will take on three-time winners Chennai Super Kings in the opening game on September 19 in Dubai. However, the coronavirus situation in the Chennai Super Kings camp, that put their preparations in disarray has resulted in MS Dhoni’s team being the last team to prepare for the tournament.
In such a scenario, will it be feasible for Chennai Super Kings to play their opening game against Mumbai Indians with so little practice? There has also been reports that travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is also a constraint due to the different quarantine rules in both cities. So, which teams might play the opening game of IPL 2020 in such a situation?
BCCI looking at it
Looking at the situation in the Chennai Super Kings camp, all players have tested negative in their second COVID test and will start training today. Mumbai Indians have been practicing well and their preparation is on course.
In case Chennai Super Kings are not yet match ready, then the opening game might be between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. IPL 2020 might get off to a blockbuster start with Rohit Sharma locking horns with Virat Kohli in Dubai. It makes sense probably for teams based in Dubai to dominate the first week of matches as six out of the eight sides are based in Dubai.
If there are travel hassles for Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, then it would be ideal to begin the opener with any of the six teams based in Dubai. Thus, like in 2019, we might see the Kaveri Derby open IPL 2020 again this time with Royal Challengers Bangalore taking on Chennai Super Kings.
In both cases, Royal Challengers Bangalore might benefit with an opening game. Perhaps, if the BCCI are keen to ensure Mumbai Indians do not face a travel issue and Chennai Super Kings need time to get match fit, then it might be wise to start IPL 2020 with Rajasthan Royals against Kings XI Punjab. Both nations have been in the UAE for the longest and it makes sense to kickoff the tournament with two sides who are well aware of the conditions.
However, the BCCI would be aware of all the logistics and one hopes that they release the schedule in full or part looking at the COVID situation.