Monday, September 6, 2010


Cricinfo's goof-up has made my previous post completely redundant. Here's the new IPL format:

Group A: Team 1, Team 2, Team 3, Team 4, Team 5
Group B: Team 6, Team 7, Team 8, Team 9, Team 10

Now, here's how it will work. Each team in Group A will play 2 matches each (home and away) against the four other teams in Group A. Similarly each team in Group B will play 2 matches each (home and away) against the four other teams in Group B. That makes it 8 matches for each team and 40 matches in all.

In addition, each team will play 2 matches (home and away) against any 1 team (chosen randomly) from the other Group. And finally, that team will also play 1 match each against the 4 remaining teams in the other Group (2 at home and 2 away). So, for example, if Team 1 plays 2 matches against Team 6 from Group B, then they will play 1 match each against Team 7 (say home), Team 8 (say away), Team 9 (say home) and Team 10 (say away). This means another 6 matches for each team... making it 30 matches in all.

Therefore, totally, there will be 70 matches in the league stage... 14 matches for each of the 10 teams (7 home and 7 away). And despite the teams being divided into 2 groups, there will be just 1 combined league table. Then there will be the playoffs. The format for playoffs is also different and slightly confusing.

Play Off Match 1: Rank 1 team on the table will play against Rank 2 team on the table. The winner of this match becomes the Finalist 1.

Play Off Match 2: Rank 3 team on the table will play against Rank 4 team on the table. The loser of this match will be the No. 4 team for the tournament. And the winner will be guaranteed a Champions League spot. But the winner does not enter the finals straight away. The winner will still need to play another match to qualify for the finals.

Play Off Match 3: The winner of Play Off Match 2 will take on the loser of Play Off Match 1. The winner of this match will enter the finals.

Finals: The winners of Play Off Match 1 and Play Off Match 3 will contest the finals of the Indian Premier League.

The format is unique... nothing like this has ever been seen before in the history of cricket (and maybe, other sports as well). But it is confusing. Keeping the essence of this format the same (i.e. 14 matches per team - 7 home and 7 away), I have a better format in mind. It would be much easier to understand as compared to the one explained above. Here it goes:

Each team should be required to play 2 matches (home and away) with every team in the other group and 1 match each with the remaining teams in their own group. This would mean that Team 1 would play 2 matches against Team 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. In addition, it would also play 1 match each against Team 2 (say home), Team 3 (say home), Team 4 (say away) and Team 5 (say away).

See, I did not even require a new paragraph to explain the entire format. Its much easier to understand than the one decided upon by the IPL Organising Committee. If only I were paid those salaries... sigh!

Moving on, I quite liked the new Play Offs format. It is a little weird to read at first, but it makes a lot of sense. Teams that finish Rank 1 and Rank 2 on the table are the ones that have performed consistently throughout the tournament. So, it is slightly sad if they have one bad day on the day of the semi-finals and do not get a chance to compete for the big prize. In the new format, they will get another chance... if they were to lose their Play Off Match 1, they will get another chance to try and win the Play Off Match 3 and still qualify for the finals.

And fittingly, Teams that finish Rank 3 and 4 will have to win three consecutive matches to win the IPL (instead of two consecutive matches as it stands in our traditional semi-final and final format). I will reiterate that I like this Play Off format... it makes a lot of sense to me! The deserving get an extra chance... and the undeserving have to pass an extra test to show that they deserve!

Reports suggest that this new Play Off Format was suggested by Adam Gilchrist as an extra incentive for teams to finish Top 2 on the table. In our current format, once the teams have qualified for the semis, they take it slightly easy and rest a few important guys. In IPL 3, Mumbai Indians played almost a complete new-look squad in their last IPL league match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. They were so depleted that they had to be captained by Dwayne Bravo... the man who himself was not a regular feature of the playing XI.

All in all, I must admit that 74 matches is certainly better than 94... but still quite a lot. It would have been even better had the tournament been even smaller... but alas, that is not to be! Lets hope that the new format, the new auction that will reshuffle squads, and the new teams keep us interested in this marathon tournament for long enough to reach the finals.


Soulberry said...

Yes, very unique and thank you for simplifying it for us.

Randomness...I hope here is a transparent method to it, and preferably selected on camera.

I hope things do not get bulkier than this otherwise there will be cannibalisation among formats of the game in India.

Good post and thank you once again

Freehit said...

I agree with you that the play-off thing makes far more sense,but I feel 84 is still a lot of T20 and will easily bore people like me.
Maybe they should have had each team to play 2 games with each team of their group and then the playoffs.

Freehit said...

Sry,I meant 74 matches,not 84

Unknown said...

Oh Mayank, I am sure 74 matches is going to bore not only you but a lot of other people as well.

This IPL follows the World Cup with just a 5-day break between the two events. People don't really have the time to sit and watch 3 months of non-stop cricket!

Mahek said...

Shridhar, Mumbai were assured of finishing top of the table so even if it was the new format they would have rested their players. But I agree with you about the new playoff format being better than the straight semis and finals.

The only drawback here is that with only 4 teams making the playoffs there might be a situation in which a couple of teams might fall out of contention midway through the season. You can prevent that by having the system they have in the NFL. 6 teams make the playoffs with the top 2 getting a bye in the first round (Encourages teams to finish in top 2). 3 plays 6 and 4 plays 5 in the first round. The lower ranked winner from these two games plays the number one ranked team and the other one plays number two.

Unknown said...

Hey Mahek, I did not know about the NFL playoff format... and it does seem quite interesting. It may increase the number of matches from 74 to somewhere around 80 if that format is implemented... but it would ensure that minimal number of meaningless matches are played towards the end of the league stage.

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Unknown said...

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