The Indian Premier League governing council announced the final schedule of the Vivo IPL 2021, which is slated to be held in India. The Indian Premier League shall thus be returning to India this year; after having been held in the United Arab Emirates for the last time in 2020 due to COVID-19 induced complications.
The BCCI has been hopeful about holding a safe, and secure tournament this time. The tournament shall begin with the defending champions, Mumbai Indians facing Royal Challengers Bangalore. Mumbai Indians has been one of the most successful teams in the Indian Premier League ever; having won of the titles out of the total of fourteen tournaments that have been played.
A total of eight teams are playing in IPL 2021 – Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings; Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Rajasthan Royals.
IPL 2021: Venues and rules
The Indian Premier League IPL 2021 shall be played in a total of six venues across the country. These venues are – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. A new rule has been brought forth to avoid the home game advantage – none of the teams shall be allowed to play at home.
Thus, Kolkata Knight Riders shall not be allowed to play in Kolkata; Mumbai Indians will not play in Mumbai; Delhi Capitals will not play in Delhi; Royal Challengers Bangalore shall not play at Bengaluru and the Chennai Super Kings will not be playing at Chennai. Playing in neutral venues has one of the new rules that has been introduced in this particular edition of the tournament.
IPL 2021 Match details
A total of 56 league matches will be played. Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Mumbai shall be holding ten matches each; while Delhi and Hyderabad shall be hosting eight matches of the Indian Premier League. The series will feature a total of 11 double-headers.
Six of the teams shall be playing three afternoon matches while two teams will be playing two afternoon matches. The evening games are supposed to start at 3:30 pm IST while the afternoon ones will begin at 7:30 pm IST. The entire tournament has been planned in a way to reduce the exposure to the virus as much as possible. Every team thus has to travel only for a maximum of three times in the course of the tournament. Thus, the schedule has been decided in such a way that the matches will follow back to back at the same venue.
The IPL 2021 tournament shall be held in closed-door stadiums, at least in the beginning. The BCCI has claimed that it will take a final call on whether to allow spectators into the matches depending on how things turn out in the course of the tournament. The first match is supposed to be played in Chennai on the 9th of April, 2021 while the final is scheduled to be held on the 30th of May, 2021 at Ahmedabad.
What to look forward to
The Indian Premier League auctions of IPL 2021 have seen multiple changes and interchanges of players between the various teams. Because teams have been revamped, this leads to newer possibilities of even better teams playing the tournament this time. For example, this year, Glenn Maxwell has been released by Kings XI Punjab, and he has been bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore. With players like AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, that team was already a favourite in the tournament. Maxwell shall add even more to the strengths of the team. The very first match of the tournament shall feature these players.
On the other hand are the Mumbai Indians, the defending champions and the most successful team in the history of the game. With players like Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah, Mumbai also has one of the best teams around. On top of that, they have the confidence of winning the trophy multiple times. Royal Challengers Bangalore has not won the trophy yet, and thus shall be quite hungry for success in the tournament. This has made the very first of the tournament a very promising one.
The very fact that the IPL 2021 is back is a source of relief and happiness to multiple Indian cricket fans. Although in-person attendance of the matches shall not be allowed as of now, there is still a chance of the authorities allowing fans in for the matches later on. Overall, the tournament will have a lot of good cricket for the fans to look forward to.