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The Indian Premier League (IPL) will return to a home-and-away format for the first time since 2019, the organising Indian cricket board (BCCI) said on Friday, bringing to an end three seasons of COVID-19 restrictions.

The entire 2020 edition and the second half of 2021’s competition were held in the United Arab Emirates following a surge in COVID-19 numbers in India.

The previous edition of the IPL was mostly played in bio-secure environments in the cities of Mumbai and Pune in the western state of Maharashtra, while Kolkata and Ahmedabad hosted playoff matches and the final.

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“The 16th season of the IPL will revert to the home and away format, where all the teams will play 7 home games and 7 away games respectively in the league stage,” the BCCI said in a statement.

“A total of 70 league stage matches will be played across 12 venues over the course of 52 days.”

The league will begin with a clash between reigning champions Gujarat Titans and four-times winners Chennai Super Kings on March 31. The final will be played on May 28.

The BCCI added that the Rajasthan Royals and the Punjab Kings will play two home matches in Guwahati and Dharamshala respectively.

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