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IPL action begins in South Africa

England's Andrew Flintoff in action for Chennai
Andrew Flintoff is playing for Chennai for two weeks in South Africa

The second season of the Indian Premier League has got under way, with Mumbai Indians winning the opening match against Chennai Super Kings by 19 runs.

Playing for Chennai, Andrew Flintoff was hit for three sixes in one over in expensive bowling figures of 1-44 in four overs, and made 24 with the bat.

Kevin Pietersen had a more successful start as Bangalore Royal Challengers beat Rajasthan Royals by by 75 runs.

Bangalore skipper Pietersen hit an encouraging 32 in a total of 133-8.

The IPL's 2008 champions Rajasthan, who fielded Pietersen's England and Hampshire team-mate Dmitri Mascarenhas, folded for just 58. Mascarenhas was run out for a duck after taking an impressive 3-20.

The Twenty20 competition was moved to South Africa in March after talks between organisers and the Indian government over security broke down.

Eight teams feature, having acquired their players in a multi-million dollar auction in February in Goa.

IPL

Inside Sport - Matthew Pinsent looks at the IPL in South Africa

Flintoff and Pietersen both cost $1.5m, with the sums paid as salary on a pro-rata basis. Their England commitments mean they can only play in the first six games.

South Africa beat England for the right to host the tournament after a row over security levels because it clashes with the Indian general election.

Moving it from India posed a logistical challenge for IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

In just under a month, officials scheduled the 59 matches in 37 days at eight venues, made 40,000 hotel bookings and purchased 10,000 plane tickets.

Modi has promised "a non-stop carnival from day one to the end" and told the BBC's Inside Sport programme: "I look at it as an opportunity to showcase India and build a big fan base in another country.

IPL arrives in South Africa

"Everyone is very excited about it, it's the talk of the town everywhere we go, so we are hoping to build on that and make sure everybody hears about the Indian Premier League and in some way or another can participate in it."

The tournament is not without its notable absentees, though, with Pakistan players banned by their own government and a host of Australia internationals opting out.

Nathan Bracken, Brett Lee and Andrew Symonds will miss the first three weeks because of the ODI series against Pakistan, while Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, Michael Hussey and Mitchell Johnson have opted out entirely, preferring to concentrate on Ashes preparation.

England seamer Stuart Broad also declared himself unavailable for the same reasons.

Modi has revealed the IPL will start a month earlier in 2010, with matches taking place during March and April in a bid to avoid a clash with the ICC World Twenty20 in the West Indies in April and May.

This season's 59-game event runs until 24 May.



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see also
IPL opening day photos
18 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Tait banned from playing in IPL
18 Apr 09 |  Cricket
Cricket test for 2010 World Cup
17 Apr 09 |  African
England stars set for IPL opener
28 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Sad day for Indian cricket
22 Mar 09 |  South Asia
IPL confirms South Africa switch
24 Mar 09 |  Cricket
IPL will be staged outside India
22 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Pietersen keen to learn from IPL
12 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Pietersen plans IPL safety talks
07 Mar 09 |  Cricket
Gunmen shoot Sri Lanka cricketers
03 Mar 09 |  South Asia
England duo set for IPL showdown
25 Feb 09 |  England
England players top IPL auction
06 Feb 09 |  Cricket


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