IPL 2018: Eden Gardens is set to host two IPL play-off matches that were originally scheduled in Pune, the Indian Premier League governing council confirmed on Friday. “The Governing Council has confirmed that Kolkata will host the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 on May 23 and 25 respectively,” IPL GC chairman Rajeev Shukla said. According to the original schedule, Pune was planned to have the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 but after Chennai Super Kings’ embraced Pune for their home matches the change of venue was inevitable.
There was a wide speculation for the shifting of the matches after Chennai Super Kings preferred Pune for their home matches. After a wide protest by thousands of pro-Tamil activists during the fifth match of IPL between CSK and KKR at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, CSK was forced to move out of Chennai. Tamil Nadu has been seeing dissents over the deferral by the Center in setting up the Cauvery Management Board, as ordered by the Supreme Court, and political leaders have been calling for IPL matches to be moved out of the State as a show of solidarity with farmers.
Another reason for choosing Eden Gardens could be that it can host more than 66000 people and is the biggest stadium in the country – seating capacity wise. The Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, on the other hand, has a seating capacity of just 37000.
“We are happy to host the play-off matches and are looking forward to it,” Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) joint-secretary Avishek Dalmiya said. Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium will host the Qualifier 1 and the Final on May 22 and 27 respectively.