On Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that two Indian Premier League (IPL) matches will be played simultaenously on the final day of the league stage. This is the first time when the tournament will see two games being played concurrently.
The 2021 season of the IPL is poised for an exciting finish, with at least five teams fighting for the final two spots in the playoffs. While the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC) have all but assured a position in the final four, the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RR), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Mumbai Indians (MI), Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) are all in the race for a playoff berth.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad are not mathematically out of the race yet — however, their chances remain grim.
As MI take on the SRH and RCB meet DC in the two games on the final day, let’s take a look at some of the reasons behind the decision:
Create level playing field for all four teams
Mumbai Indians (currently 5th) face an uphill task to secure a qualification in the playoffs. With five wins in 11 matches, MI could be in a spot of bother with another loss in the league. On the other hand, Royal Challengers Bangalore (currently 3rd) received a boost after the victory over the Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday but are yet to assure a playoff place.
In such a scenario, a level playing field becomes ideal to conduct games which could possibly decide the fate of the teams.
To engage in more viewership & fan engagement
With two matches taking place simultaenously, the engagement among the fans on social media platforms is bound to increase. If both the matches remain consequential to the participating sides’ fates in the competition, the viewership and fan engagement will see a considerable spike.
In many European leagues, the games on the final day of the season are played simultaenously to assure the result of one match doesn’t hamper the other. This allows for a level playing field, unbiased decisions and a relative ease in pressure among players and the team management.
10 team impact and to finish the league in the same duration
From the next season (IPL 2022), the tournament is set to expand to ten teams, meaning there will be more matches in the league stage. Hence, the decision could also be an experiment, which, if successful, could be a permanent fixture in the league stage from next year.
While it remains difficult to expand the IPL window due to players’ international commitments, simultaenous games will ensure the league phase finishes on schedule.