The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the schedule of IPL 2021 on Sunday. The tournament commences on 9th April with a contest between the defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai.
The entire season will be played in 6 cities of Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata. One of the key talking points this season is that no team will play any game at its home ground!
“Each team is set to play at four venues during the league stage. Out of the 56 league matches, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata & Bengaluru will host 10 matches each while Ahmedabad and Delhi will host 8 matches each.
“One of the highlights of this edition of the VIVO IPL will be the fact that all matches will be played at neutral venues, no team will play at their home venue. All teams will play at 4 out of 6 venues during the league stage,” a release by the BCCI 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 minimising risk,” the statement added.
Punjab Kings to play their last 5 matches in Bangalore
While the decision of holding all matches at neutral venues has been lauded as three teams – Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Rajasthan Royals – initially stood without a home venue for this season.
However, it has also left the owners upset as they suffer significant loss – also the crowds won’t be allowed in the starting phase of the tournament and the matches will be played behind closed doors; for the later stage, especially for the playoffs which will be hosted at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a call be taken by the BCCI considering the covid situation in the city.
Preity Zinta, co-owner of the Punjab Kings (formerly Kings XI Punjab) took to Twitter to express her excitement for the new season; however, she is also sad that Mohali will not host any game this season, or for that matter, no stadium will see its home team play.
The KL Rahul-led side, which finished 6th last season and experienced a high of winning 5 games on a trot, will begin its campaign on April 12th against Rajasthan Royals in Mumbai and will stay there for two more games before flying to Chennai for a couple of matches.
Punjab Kings will then travel to Ahmedabad for their next 4 games, and finish the league stage with 5 matches in Bangalore against Rajasthan again.
“IPL schedule is finally here & @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 Preity Zinta.
IPL schedule is finally here & @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.
— Preity G Zinta (@realpreityzinta) March 7, 2021