Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, will face off against Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of IPL 2018. © AFP

Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, will face off against Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of IPL 2018. © AFP

The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, the home of Mumbai Indians who are the defending champions, will host the final of the Indian Premier League 2018 on May 27. It will also host the Qualifier 1 on May 22. The venues for the Qualifier 2 and Eliminator are yet to be announced. The 11th edition of the tournament will be played at nine venues across 51 days.

The league will kick-start on April 7 at the Wankhede Stadium, with Mumbai taking on Chennai Super Kings. Chennai, who are returning to the competition after two years of suspension, will play their first home game against Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on April 10.

Rajasthan Royals, who too served a two-year ban, will open their campaign in an away game against Sunrisers Hyderabad on April 9. Their first home game against Delhi at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium in Jaipur is on April 11.

The first double-header is on April 8, which is a Sunday. Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab will face off at Feroz Shah Kotla in the afternoon game before Kolkata take on Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Eden Gardens.

Star India, who bagged IPL’s global rights for five years, had wanted the evening games to start at 7pm. The governing council, however, has stuck to the original 8pm slot. The franchises were not keen on the change of timings, as it would overlap into the first match on the days of double-headers, disallowing them to do full justice to sponsor commitments. The 12 afternoon matches will commence at 4pm.

Indore will continue to be Punjab’s second home ground, hosting the first three of their seven matches. The league stages of the competition will end on May 20, with Delhi taking on Mumbai and Chennai facing off against Punjab at home.

The Wankhede Stadium has never hosted an IPL final. Mumbai has hosted the IPL final in the past, in 2008 and 2010, but on both occasions, DY Patil Stadium was the venue.