Wanderers earmarked for IPL final
The Wanderers Stadium will host the final of the second edition of the Indian Premier League on May 24, it emerged on Wednesday.
In addition to that high-profile encounter, the venue, South Africa's largest, will also host a semifinal the day before as well as six other IPL matches. Exact details of the schedule for the tournament were yet to be made public on Wednesday evening.
The IPL in conjunction with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, agreed to move the tournament out of India for its second season after failing to get guarantees from the Indian government over security for the event that is scheduled to take place during India's general elections.
The 59-game competition is due to take place over five weeks starting on April 18 with the opening match taking place at Newlands in Cape Town.
Though there have been reservations about moving the tournament to South Africa, most notably from India's star batsman Sachin Tendulkar, South African players involved in the competition, Graeme Smith, Dale Steyn and AB de Villiers, have expressed delight.
"I think it's great that the IPL showed faith in our country to host it, I still hear people in the streets doubting whether we can host the 2010 World Cup, and I think the IPL is giving us the answer. It's a huge tournament that's coming over here," De Villiers, who plays for the Delhi Daredevils, remarked on Wednesday.
He wasn't concerned that the event, which played heavily on the city-based franchise aspect last year, would adversely affect how South African supporters would back the teams.
"No single franchise will be based in a particular city in South Africa, and instead the teams will be spread around and play matches at each of the six venues around the country. That might be difficult, but I think (fans support) will be more about individuals based in teams, than the teams themselves."
Meanwhile, Bangalore Royal Challengers owner Vijay Mallya has already spotted an opportunity in the IPL's unexpected move to South Africa this season, reports Sapa-AP.
Bangalore have six players of South African origin in their squad, including South Africa-born former England skipper Kevin Pietersen.
Pietersen will lead the Royal Challengers for a few matches before he returns to play in the English County championship.
Royal Challengers have options for a top South African player as the line-up includes Jacques Kallis and Mark Boucher. Other local players are Dale Steyn, Roelof van der Merwe and Dillon du Preez.
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