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IPL 2021 Returns Home with Little Blitz and no Home Advantage

IPL 14 will begin on April 9 at Chennai with a blockbuster clash between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore

IPL 2021 Returns Home with Little Blitz and no Home Advantage

After holding a successful edition of the Indian Premier League outside India for only the second time in its 13-year history, the IPL is all set to return home for its 14th edition later this year. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, IPL 13 was moved to the United Arab Emirates and was played across three venues — Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. However, following a drastic drop in recent cases back home and a vaccination drive across the nation, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to host a marquee event in India.

But, this year’s tournament will lack the usual glamour because of the fear of a possible COVID-19 outbreak among the players and staff. Last year’s strict protocols will remain and players will be placed in bi-secure bubbles and there will be a focus on minimal movement of the teams to avoid any casualty.

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Therefore, despite the homecoming, the cash-rich tournament is all set to be very different and we take a look at the changes that are going to take place for a smooth sailing of the 14th edition of the IPL.

NO HOME ADVANTAGE

None of the eight franchises will get to play a game in their home stadiums this season. This was done to take out the home advantage of teams who will have games played in their home stadiums, while the likes of Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Rajasthan Royals miss out. Each team will have to play at four of the six venues selected and will have to travel only thrice during the league stages to avoid any health hazard.

SIX VENUES INSTEAD OF EIGHT

The IPL will be played across six venues in India from a normal of eight — which include the home bases of all the franchises normally. The 56 league games will be played across Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Ahmedabad. Mohali, Jaipur and Hyderabad will be devoid of any games because of the current COVID-19 situation.

NO FANS AT THE START OF THE TOURNAMENT

Despite the India-England Test series being played with limited attendance, fans won’t be permitted for the initial phase of the IPL and like last year in UAE, the games will be played behind closed doors. However, the BCCI has said that spectators might be allowed for the latter half of the tournament.

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This is the first time the IPL will be played in India with zero in-person stadium attendance.

ENTIRE PLAY-OFFs IN AHMEDABAD

The world’s largest stadium — the Narendra Modi Stadium will host all the playoff matches along with the final and league games. Normally, the winner of last year’s tournament gets to host the final, but to minimise traveling, the business end of the tournament will be played in a single venue.

The Narendra Modi Stadium can host 1,32,000 people.

IPL 14 will begin on April 9 at Chennai with a blockbuster clash between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore and end on May 30 with the final in Ahmedabad.

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