IPL 2021 schedule features no home game
- The Indian Premier League (IPL), to be held across six venues, will take a decision on allowing fans into the stadiums later in the tournament. The IPL 2021 schedule was announced on Sunday.
After its pit stop at the UAE in 2020, cricket’s most rewarding T20 league—Indian Premier League returns home this year to be played from April 9 to May 30. The IPL Governing Council (GC) in a virtual meeting on Sunday decided that the tournament will continue to be played behind closed doors and a call on allowing spectators will be taken during the course of the event.
It was confirmed that Mohali, Jaipur and Hyderabad will stage no matches this year. Addressing concerns raised by the affected franchises Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the GC decided that no team would be playing at their home venue.
Although the home-and-away concept has been retained, that’s only for scheduling convenience. Out of the 56 league matches, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru will host 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and New Delhi will get to host eight matches each. All the three playoff matches as well as the final of the 52-day league will be played at the 1,10,000-seater Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad.
Bringing back crowds to the league was considered but after consultations with franchise officials and state governments, it was decided to continue using the bio-bubble model that worked well for the league in the UAE. “The fixtures of the tournament have been mapped in a way that every team will travel only three times during the league stage thus reducing commute and minimising risk,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement.
The home advantage factor may be neutralised with no crowds, but teams with the best balance and depth will have an edge with different neutral venues allotted to each side. Chennai Super Kings, for example, would lose the opportunity to best use their new spin acquisitions Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham under their spin-to-win strategy. CSK would be playing five matches in Mumbai, three in Bengaluru and two in Kolkata, where batting friendly decks are generally seen.
The spinners of champions Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad could have a bigger role to play at Chennai where both teams will be playing five matches each. “Welcoming the schedule and the even challenges for all franchises. Looking forward to #IPL2021,” SRH team mentor VVS Laxman tweeted.
The Eden Gardens will be hosting matches from May 9 onwards, after the Bengal assembly elections conclude there. Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore will be playing most of their matches (5) at the Eden. Punjab Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders will be playing five matches each at Bengaluru.
“@PunjabKingsIPL starts #IPL2021 in amchi Mumbai then travels to Chennai, Ahmedabad & Bangalore for our league matches. It’s a weird feeling that no teams will play any matches at their home venues & there will be no crowds in the stadiums as of now,” tweeted Punjab Kings co-owner Preity Zinta.
A total of 11 double headers will be played with six teams playing three afternoon matches and two others two each.
MI and RCB will kick start the tournament in Chennai on April 9.