New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Ahead of the opening match between MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings and Defending Champions Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Indian Premier League Chairman Brijesh Patel has said he feels this year’s edition will bring the highest ever viewership in the history of the competition.

"I think cricket fans were bit disappointed when it was (IPL) postponed and nothing was certain about the fate for the tournament. But now they (fans) are looking forward to seeing some live cricket so I feel this year's viewership will be highest ever and this year's IPL should be bigger than last year as well," Patel told news agency ANI.

The thirteenth edition of the IPL will begin today, nearly six months after it was indefinitely delayed amid the threat of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent unavailability of foreign players.

The IPL chairman thanked BCCI, league officials, Indian government, and the Emirates Cricket Board for making the tournament happen.

"It is also the hard work and patience of all our members in BCCI and IPL officials, they have put in a lot of hard work to make it happen. To start with, it was the Indian government who gave us the nod to host the IPL abroad and would also like to thank ECB, who willingly wanted to have IPL in UAE," Patel said.

Patel said it is satisfying to see the IPL happening after all the hurdles on the way.

Chennai Super Kings will take on Mumbai Indians in the opening encounter of the tournament in Abu Dhabi. All eyes will be on former Indian skipper MS Dhoni, who will be returning to the competitive cricket 14 months after India's defeat against New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup.

Posted By: Lakshay Raja