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S. Africa to host IPL matches

SOUTH Africa will host the second edition of the Indian Premier League next month after the Twenty20 competition was moved out of India due to security reasons, the organizers said in a statement yesterday.

"We are very happy to confirm that South Africa will host the 2009 DLF Indian Premier League tournament," IPL chairman Lalit Modi said in a statement following a meeting of the event's organizers and Cricket South Africa (CSA).

England was also considered as a possible alternative for the competition, which will start on April 18, but South Africa was chosen as the host nation after Modi met with CSA chief executive Gerald Majola.

"We would like to thank Cricket South Africa very much for the support they have given us over the past few days, which has helped us to come to this decision," said Modi. "The South African public loves T2O cricket and CSA successfully hosted the inaugural ICC World T20.

"Both these factors weighed heavily in South Africa's favor, and we look forward to a successful and exciting tournament being held at venues throughout South Africa," Modi said.

Majola added: "The organizers can be assured that they have the full support of CSA's structures and the South African public to stage a successful tournament. This event will strengthen the ties even further between South African and Indian cricket, as well as binding our nations even closer together.

"We are looking forward to hosting some of the world's best cricketers, and we can assure them they will be provided with the very best facilities to show their skills."

The IPL tournament will feature 59 matches. The second season was originally scheduled to start April 10 and continue through May 24, but it clashed with the elections in India, causing concern that the security forces would be too stretched to properly cover both.

The Indian government wanted IPL organizers to delay the tournament, but that would have been impractical for international cricket, with the Twenty20 World Cup scheduled for June.

England's wet and cool weather likely hurt its chances of hosting the event.

"Weather is crucial in cricket and it is a very important consideration among a number of important considerations," Andrew Wildblood of management company IMG said. "If you were in a position where all other things were equal, but one country could guarantee good weather and the other couldn't, that could very well be the deciding factor."


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