The postponed Indian Premier League restarts today, cricket’s biggest franchise tournament, to crown its 14th winner.
The 2021 tournament started in India on 9 April with Royal Challengers Bangalore, led by India captain Virat Kohli, getting the better of reigning champions Mumbai Indians.
It was played against a backdrop of rising cases, and deaths, from Covid-19 in India, but the tournament was unaffected until 3 May when two Kolkata Knight Riders’ players, Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, tested positive, meaning their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed.
A day later the tournament was suspended amid rising cases within the tournament, with a Sunrisers Hyderabad player testing positive before their match.
The organisers said it had “unanimously decided” to postpone the season, with 29 group games played.
That leaves 31 games left to play – 27 in the group stage, before the three knockout games and final between 10 and 15 October.
The tournament has moved from India to United Arab Emirates, where the entire 2020 edition was played. Matches will be played in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
They will also host the men’s T20 World Cup that follows from 23 October to 14 November so we may see IPL games played on fewer pitches, meaning they get slower, and scores decrease, as the tournament progresses.