Pune gets its wish of staging IPL 2018 play-off matches
What's the story?
Pune has finally been allotted IPL 2018 playoff games, something for which they had long been yearning. Two of the playoffs of the upcoming IPL season, the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 on May 23 and 25 respectively, will now be hosted by the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) at the MCA Stadium in the city.
"For the playoffs, there was a suggestion that since the Rising Pune Supergiant [it is now a defunct team] were the runners-up last time, we should give first priority to Pune," IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said after a governing council meeting yesterday.
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In the previous season of the IPL, the Rising Pune Supergiant had finished as the runners-up behind the Mumbai Indians. Thus, according to the history of the tournament, the side coming second should be allotted two of the play-off matches in the subsequent season.
And despite the Pune franchise now getting defunct, the MCA wanted the trend to continue. Last month, the MCA president Abhay Apte had written to Shukla, requesting him to give the matches to Pune as per the tournament norms. In fact, at that time, even Kolkata and Indore were in the running to stage the games.
The heart of the matter
Apte had sent an email to Shukla, mentioning it would have been only fair for Pune to play hosts to those matches. "For past several years we are observing a practice, which has become an unwritten rule of playing the first [tournament opener], and Qualifier 1 as well as the final match at the venue of last year's champions and playing the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 matches at the venue of the runners-up team," Apte had written.
However, despite giving the games to Pune, Shukla has said that the MCA would need the ground to be ready on time. "If the stadium and the wicket are ready, the first priority would be given to Pune, if not, then we will consider Kolkata for the playoffs," Shukla said.
The eleventh edition of the IPL begins on April 7 with defending champions Mumbai Indians opening their campaign against the Chennai Super Kings at home. The Qualifier 1, on May 22, and the final, on May 27, have also been allotted to Mumbai.
The call by the IPL governing council is a fair one despite Pune not being a part of the tournament anymore. Following the tournament tradition, the matches ought to have been given to Pune.