Despite the exclusion of Rising Pune Supergiant with the return of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, Pune will host two Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs in 2018. The decision was taken by the IPL Governing Council on Saturday which alloted the two playoff matches, the Eliminator and the second Qualifier, to Maharashtra Cricket Academy in Pune. Earlier, the acting president of the BCCI, CK Khanna, had informed that the 2018 IPL playoff matches would be held in the city.
Both these matches will be played at the MCA Stadium in Gahunje on May 23 and May 25. This comes as a strange development as the eliminator and the second qualified are usually hosted at the home venue of the previous season’s runner-up. However, since Rising Pune Supergiant was defunct despite ending up as the runner-up in last year’s IPL, other state associations, including those of Bengal and Uttar Pradesh were pushing to host the games in their stadium.
“For the play-off, there was a suggestion that since Rising Pune Supergiant (now defunct) were the runners-up last time, we should give first priority to Pune,” IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said after a governing council meeting on Friday. He further added that if the stadium is ready, then the two matches will be played there.
“If the stadium and the wicket are ready, the first priority would be given to Pune, if not, then we will consider Kolkata for the playoffs,” he said.
The 11th season of Indian Premier League will start on April 7 with defending champions Mumbai Indians taking on returning CSK. Both, CSK and Rajasthan Royals were dissolved after the 8th season. They were replaced by Gujarat Lions and RPS in the IPL.