It will be MS Dhoni vs Virat Kohli at the start of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) as the league announced the fixtures for the first two weeks on Tuesday.
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) February 19, 2019
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK), who made a victorious return to the league after serving two years of suspension by winning the 2018 edition, face three-time runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the tournament opener at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Saturday, 23 March. The rivalry between the two southern Indian teams is popularly dubbed as 'Kauvery Derby'.
The opening game will be followed by the first double-header of the season — Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) hosting Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Eden Gardens, with Mumbai Indians (MI) facing the newly-christened Delhi Capitals (DC) at their home ground of the Wankhede Stadium in the other fixture.
The remaining teams, a new-look Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), are the last to begin their campaign, locking horns in the 'Pink City' on Monday, 25 March.
CSK made a fairytale return to the league last year by lifting the title for the third time under MS Dhoni's leadership, defeating SRH comfortably by eight wickets in the final that took place at the Wankhede Stadium on 27 May. Rajasthan Royals, the other team returning from a two-year suspension, managed to reach the playoffs under Ajinkya Rahane's captaincy.
23 March: CSK vs RCB at Chennai.
24 March (afternoon): KKR vs SRH at Kolkata.
24 March (evening): MI vs DC at Mumbai.
25 March: RR vs KXIP at Jaipur.
26 March: DC vs CSK at Delhi.
27 March: KKR vs KXIP at Kolkata.
28 March: RCB vs MI at Bengaluru.
29 March: SRH vs RR at Hyderabad.
30 March (afternoon): KXIP vs MI at Mohali.
30 March (evening): DC vs KKR at Delhi.
31 March (afternoon): SRH vs RCB at Hyderabad.
31 March (evening): CSK vs RR at Chennai.
1 April: KXIP vs DC at Mohali.
2 April: RR vs RCB at Jaipur.
3 April: MI vs CSK at Mumbai.
4 April: DC vs SRH at Delhi.
5 April: RCB vs KKR at Bengaluru.
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The CSK head coach said Shikhar Dhawan played well but rued the dropped catches as the experienced left-handed opener guided DC home with his first IPL hundred.
Earlier this month, CSK skipper MS Dhoni overtook Suresh Raina (194 games) to become the player with most appearances.