IPL 2019: All you need to know as cricket stars descend on India

Getty Images

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni will go head-to-head in the opening game of the 2019 Indian Premier League as defending champions Chennai Super Kings face Royal Challengers Bangalore.

An eight-wicket win over Sunrisers Hyderabad brought a third title for Chennai last year and they have assembled a star-studded squad in an attempt to retain their crown.

The IPL will act as a Cricket World Cup warm-up for some of the leading stars over the coming seven weeks, while there are returns for some controversial figures.

Ahead of match one, we run through everything you need to know about IPL 12.

 

When does it start?

Saturday sees the tournament kick-off in Chennai as the Super Kings host RCB, with the home side looking to win a seventh successive game against their opening-day rivals.

When is the final?

As well as hosting game one, Chennai will also provide the stage for the final on May 12, but there are 59 games to play before the showpiece contest.

Which teams are competing?

The line-up shows the same eight franchises that competed 12 months ago, although the Delhi Daredevils have renamed themselves as the Delhi Capitals for 2019.

What happened at the auction?

Two players topped the auction list in December – Indian seamer Jaydev Unadkat and compatriot legspinner Varun Chakravarthy.

Unadkat will turn out for the Rajasthan Royals this year – his fifth IPL team – after they paid an eye-watering 8.4 crores for his services, a figure matched as Kings XI Punjab secured Chakravarthy.

England all-rounder Sam Curran was the most expensive overseas player after he signed for Kings XI for 7.2 crores, while household names like Cheteshwar Pujara, Brendon McCullum and Alex Hales went unsold.

Who are the star players?

Chennai have the likes of Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson to choose from, while RCB will be led by India skipper Kohli.

The new-look Capitals have teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw in their squad, while Shikhar Dhawan has joined from Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah make up a strong Mumbai Indians line-up, while IPL legend Chris Gayle joins Curran at Kings XI.

Kolkata Knight Riders have big-hitter Chris Lynn within their ranks, while fellow Australians Steve Smith and David Warner return following their 12-month suspensions.

The duo will be eligible to compete for the Royals and Hyderabad respectively from March 29, when their bans are lifted.

England hopeful Jofra Archer joins Smith at the Royals, with Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler for company. Meanwhile, Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan is one of Warner's team-mates.