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IPL playoffs and final to start an hour early

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The IPL playoffs, including the final, will start an hour early – from 7pm IST (13.30 GMT). The BCCI’s Committee of Administrators (CoA) has approved the change in timings, a move which earlier got the nod from IPL governing council chairman Rajiv Shukla.

Ever since the IPL began in 2008, the evening matches have started at 8pm. However, given that matches this season have often ended past midnight, the IPL chief operating officer Hemang Amin proposed that the playoffs begin an hour early. Shukla and CoA aside, Amin’s proposal was also approved by two senior office bearers of the BCCI: Amitabh Choudhury (acting secretary) and CK Khanna (acting president). There was only one person who opposed the move: BCCI acting treasurer Anirudh Chaudhry, who said the decision was ad-hoc and unnecessary.

The CoA did not agree with Chaudhry. “When the decision came to the CoA for approval, I concurred with the decision taken by the two BCCI office bearers and the IPL governing council chairman,” Vinod Rai, the chairman of the CoA, told ESPNcricinfo.

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Chaudhry said the IPL governing council had already deliberated on a potential change of timings before the 2018 season began, but nothing came of it. “Prior to the start of the tournament, in an officially convened IPL governing council meeting, there was a discussion on the timings for the whole tournament but we did not hear anything on it thereafter. Now all of a sudden one saw this being covered in the media,” Chaudhry said in a letter, according to PTI. “And after that this suggestion has come forth and the arguments being given are two: a. This would be in line with the bilateral T20 match start time (international matches). b. It would be helpful if we plan to do a closing ceremony which could be in between the 2 innings, and an early presentation/prize distribution after the final match.”

In its reply to Chaudhry, the CoA reasoned that the matches start at 8pm mostly to accommodate double-headers. “The CoA okayed it mainly on two grounds,” Rai said. “Firstly for the convenience of the viewing public. Since there are no double-headers involved and the matches starting at 8pm finish well past midnight. Also the final will involve an awards ceremony which will take place after the match and we did not want to stretch it beyond 1am.”

The IPL playoffs begin on May 22 with Mumbai hosting Qualifier 1 (played between the top two teams at the end of the league phase). Kolkata will host the Eliminator (knockout between the third- and fourth-placed teams) on May 23, and two days later Qualifier 2 (loser of Qualifier 1 v winner of the Eliminator). The final will be played in Mumbai on May 27.

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