The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be played starting on April 9th, across 6 cities – Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Delhi. To be held in the country, after almost 2 long years, the tournament for the first time will be played on all neutral venues. No team will therefore enjoy the home advantage and throughout the course of the tournament, a secured bio-bubble will be maintained.
So, a completely new format for the #IPL2021. No team plays at home which is fair given that only 5 teams have matches at their grounds. And no crowds early on. Would have loved crowds but appreciate that we cannot take any chances at the IPL, especially after the PSL situation
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) March 7, 2021
BCCI had managed to create a fully secure bio-bubble in the UAE last time around and would be hopeful of doing the same at home this year. It is also understood that the BCCI will be looking at this multi-team event as a dry run of the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in the country later this year. At least for a start, all games will be played behind closed doors. However, depending upon the COVID19 situation, limited spectators may be allowed in the stadium in the latter half.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians will take on their arch-rivals Royal Challengers Bangalore in the first match at Chennai on 9th April 2021. The playoffs and the finals of the tournament will be held in the newly constructed Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad with the IPL 2021 champion to be crowned on May 30th.
The afternoon games this season will begin at 3:30 PM IST while the evening matches will start at 7:30 PM IST. A total of 11 double-headers will be played in the due course of the cricketing festival. Each franchise will play in four of the six venues in their group stages with no team playing at home. Of the total 56 group stage games, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Kolkata will hold 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and Delhi will play host to 8 games each.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah in the released press statement said: “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 minimizing risk. The VIVO IPL this year at home will be played behind closed doors, to begin with, and a call on allowing spectators will be taken at a later stage of the tournament.”
While there is no word on the Women’s T20 Challenge as of yet, it is only about time that BCCI announces the dates to the same.
Overall, the cricketing festival looks set to bring smiles and joy to the faces of the spectators yet again – this time, even more given the return to home conditions. We at International Cricket Network – ICN360 are all eager to present all the action from the IPL 2021!
Here’s the complete schedule for IPL 2021: