INDIAN Premier League, the country’s annual cricket fest of 20 overs, will kick off at Chennai on March 23 with the defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore. Announcing the timetable for the 17 games of the 12th IPL, BCC said it is a provisional two-week schedule in view of the coming Lok Sabha poll to be held in April-May. The IPL will be off to an earlier-than-usual start this year owing to the general elections, dates of which are yet to be announced. Any change in the provisional itinerary – from March 23 to April 5 – will be revised accordingly. “These are still subject to the announcement of the Lok Sabha 2019 election dates. Once these have been released, the BCCI will address any issues with the first two weeks and will also prepare a schedule for the remainder of the season working with the local authorities. Around the polling dates,” read an official statement issue by IPL. On March 24, Kolkata Knight Riders will host Sunrisers Hyderabad in the afternoon encounter of a double header in which Mumbai Indians will take on Delhi Capitals in Mumbai. Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab will meet each other in Jaipur to complete the first round of games. A total of 17 matches will be played during this two-week phase across the 8 home venues of the respective franchises. All teams will play a minimum of four games with Delhi Capitals and RCB competing in five matches each during this time. Every side will play a minimum of two home and two away matches except for Delhi and RCB. While Delhi will compete in three home games, RCB will play an equal number of away encounters. For the security of players and spectators, IPL authorities will have to rely on security to be ensured by the states.