Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will face Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL opener on March 23 in Chennai. @ BCCI

New Delhi: All league games of the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning March 23 will start at the usual prime time spot of 8 pm, said COA chief Vinod Rai on Thursday. The afternoon matches will start at 4 pm and night matches at 8 pm.

There was speculation that the BCCI was under pressure to change the timings of the night matches to 7 pm when most teams wanted the Board to stick to the 8 pm slot. “Matches will begin at 8 pm,” said Rai after the COA meeting. (VIDEO: A look at previous winners of Indian Premier League)

Even last year, there was speculation that the matches will have an earlier 7 pm start but all league games began at 8 pm. However, the play-offs including the final began at 7 pm.

“We welcome BCCI’s decision to retain the match timings. Like last year, we wanted the games to have an 8 pm start. This time, we were not yet approached by the BCCI regarding match timings, but we were eagerly awaiting its decision,” a team official told PTI. (CHECK OUT: Schedule of first two weeks of IPL)

Last month, the BCCI announced the schedule for the first two weeks of IPL while the full schedule will be announced after dates of general elections are made public. Defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will face Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the IPL opener on March 23 in Chennai.