After days of speculation, the final of Indian Premier League (IPL) has been scheduled to take place in Hyderabad. The main reason for the choice was the inability of MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai to open three of its stands. Therefore, the big finale of the league will be scripted at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in the capital of Telengana.
This means that if the Sunrisers Hyderabad qualify for the final, they would have the benefit of playing the most important match of the season at home. Chennai, though, won't be left empty handed. The famous Chepauk stadium will host Qualifier 1 while Qualifier 2 and the eliminator would take place at Vishakhapatnam's ACA-VDCA Stadium.
Chennai Super Kings are once again looking favourites for the title and are leading the points chart. The team they defeated in the final last year – Sunrisers – are having a mixed season and are currently stationed at fourth position. Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals are the other two teams in the top-4 of the points table at the moment.
Reasons for scheduling
As per the convention followed in scheduling the final round matches, the victorious team along with the runners-up from the last season get to host the big games. As per this tradition, Chennai was the frontrunner to host this year's final and Hyderabad in line for the other big matches.
But Chennai ran into troubles as they didn't get the permission from the local authorities to open three stands – namely I, J and K. These together would have provided 12,000 tickets for sale and therefore earned BCCI a substantial amount of money as part of gate collections.
The chief of Committee of Administrators (CoA) Vinod Rai made the announcement on Monday, April 22. "We had to shift the matches from Chennai to Hyderabad after TNCA intimated us that they have not procured the requisite permission to open the three stands I, J and K," Rai informed mediapersons.
He also explained the reason for not taking away the qualifier from Chennai even though the stadium's diminished capacity is adversely affecting BCCI's gate collections. "CSK, by virtue of being defending champions, were allotted the Qualifier 1 and final. Now if they finish in top two, you cannot take away all the games. They deserve to get at least one of the knock-out games" the former bureaucrat added.
Rai also reminded the media that ticket sales from the last four matches are BCCI's prerogative. Hence, the gate collections had to be kept in mind while forming a decision.