Capacity crowds to return for IPL’s season finale

Cricket’s Indian Premier League is set to welcome full-capacity crowds for the first time in two years after plans were announced for venues in Kolkata and Ahmedabad to stage knockout matches without restrictions next month.

Kolkata’s Eden Gardens (pictured), which has a capacity of 68,000, is set to host the first qualifier on May 24 and the eliminator on May 25, according to ESPNcricinfo. Narendra Modi Stadium is scheduled to stage the second qualifier on May 27 before the final takes place at the 110,000-seat venue two days later.

The league stage of the IPL is currently taking place at a single hub across four venues in the cities of Mumbai and Pune. The season commenced on March 26 and a capacity limit of 25% was initially imposed to combat the spread of COVID-19. This later increased to 50%.

“As far as the men’s IPL knockout stage matches are concerned, it would be held in Kolkata and Ahmedabad, with 100% attendance allowed for the matches to be played after the league stage finishes on May 22,” Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly said.

Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium and DY Patil Stadium are hosting the majority of group-stage games with 20 apiece. Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai is hosting 15 matches, with Pune’s MCA International Stadium doing likewise.

This year’s IPL has expanded to a 10-team tournament after the rights to two new franchises – Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans – were awarded in October.

The 2020 IPL took place in the United Arab Emirates due to the COVID-19 situation in India. The 2021 season did commence in India before a rise in COVID-19 cases forced the tournament to be suspended, with the UAE again stepping in to host the remainder of the campaign.

The 2022 season has been able to take place entirely in India following a significant drop in COVID-19 cases in the country.

Image: Indraprakashinfo/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size