How does the Indian Premier League work? IPL cricket explained
How does the Indian Premier League work? From team selections to the format, our guide has you covered.
What is the IPL?
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is an annual T20 cricket tournament that began in 2008.
It was founded by then BCCI vice-president Lalit Modi as a result of the popularity boom of the T20 format in India when the national team won the 2007 World T20.
When does it start?
The IPL takes place in March, April and May of every year and lasts for approximately seven weeks.
As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 edition will take place from September to November 2020 in the United Arab Emirates.
How many teams are in the IPL?
The IPL is a franchise-based competition with eight teams, each representing an Indian city.
When the tournament was first founded, an auction was held to determine the cities that the teams would be based in, as well as the owners of each team.
The eight teams that participated in the 2008 IPL were based in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mohali and Mumbai.
The Mumbai franchise – named the Mumbai Indians – was the most expensive, with Reliance Industries paying $111.9m to purchase it.
There have been various amendments in subsequent years due to financial and match-fixing sanctions inflicted on some of the franchises.
Teams from Pune, Kochi and Rajkot have taken part since the competition’s induction, but the 2020 list includes teams from the same eight cities as in 2008, though Hyderabad’s franchise has changed from the Deccan Changers to Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The teams involved in the 2020 edition are as follows:
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
Home ground: M. A. Chidambaram Stadium
Captain: MS Dhoni
Most expensive player: M.S Dhoni (15 crore/$2.1m). Their most expensive new signing is Piyush Chawla (6.75 crore/$946k).
Biggest strength: Their bowling attack, featuring Ravi Jadeja, Imran Tahir and Josh Hazlewood.
Home ground: Arun Jaitley Stadium
Captain: Shreyas Iyer
Most expensive player: Rishabh Pant (8 crore/$1.1m). Their most expensive new signing is Shimron Hetmyer (7.75 crore/$1.1m), while they have also signed Ravi Ashwin (7.6 crore/$1.1m).
Biggest strength: A top order of Shikhar Dhawan, Jason Roy and Shreyas Iyer should do some damage.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
Home ground: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium
Captain: KL Rahul
Most expensive player: KL Rahul (11 crore/$1.5m). Their most expensive new signing is Glenn Maxwell (10.75 crore/$1.5m).
Biggest strength: Rahul and Chris Gayle were both among the top six run-scorers in the 2019 IPL.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Home ground: Eden Gardens
Captain: Dinesh Karthik
Most expensive player: Pat Cummins (15.5 crore/$2.2m) is not just KKR’s most expensive player, but the most expensive overseas player in IPL history.
Biggest strength: Cummins and Andre Russell will spearhead a strong pace bowling unit.
Home ground: Wankhede Stadium
Captain: Rohit Sharma
Most expensive player: Rohit Sharma (15 crore/$2.1m). Their most expensive new signing is Nathan Coulter-Nile (8 crore/$1.1m).
Biggest strength: Jasprit Bumrah and Lasith Malinga should be excellent with the ball at the death.
Home ground: Sawai Mansingh Stadium
Captain: Steve Smith
Most expensive player: Ben Stokes (12.5 crore/$1.8m). The Royals paid 3 crore ($420k) for all of Rahul Tewatia, Robin Uthappa and Akash Singh in the 2020 auction.
Biggest strength: Jos Buttler can get Rajasthan off to a strong start at the top of the order, with Sanju Samson, Steve Smith and Ben Stokes below him.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Home ground: M. Chinnaswamy Stadium
Captain: Virat Kohli
Most expensive player: Virat Kohli (17 crore/$2.4m) is the most expensive player in IPL history.
Biggest strength: As ever, much is expected of Kohli and AB de Villiers in RCB’s middle order.
Home ground: Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium
Captain: David Warner
Most expensive player: David Warner (12 crore/$1.7m). Their most expensive new signing is Mitchell Marsh (2 crore/$280k).
Biggest strength: Warner and Jonny Bairstow formed a formidable opening partnership in the 2019 IPL.
How are IPL teams selected?
Franchises acquire players via an annual player auction, trading players in specific trading windows, and signing players who are not picked up in the auction.
The majority of signings occur at auction, where players set themselves a base price and join the franchise that ultimately bids most for them.
At the end of each IPL season, the franchise must decide whether to renew each player’s contract or release them.
Squads must consist of 19-25 players, with a maximum of eight overseas players. A playing XI must not include any more than four overseas players.
Find out more with our guide to how the IPL auction works.
What is the format?
The majority of the tournament follows a simple structure: each of the eight teams play each other home and away, with two points earned for a win, one point for a tie or no result, and none for a defeat.
At the end of that double round-robin process, the bottom four teams in the table are eliminated and the top four teams progress to the playoffs.
This is where things get a little complicated.
The teams that finished first and second in the league table will play each other in Qualifier 1. The winner of that match will progress to the final, but the loser is not yet eliminated.
Meanwhile, the teams that finished third and fourth in the league table will play each other in the eliminator.
The loser of the eliminator is knocked out, while the winner of the eliminator earns the right to play the loser of Qualifier 1 in Qualifier 2.
The winner of Qualifier 2 plays the winner of Qualifier 1 in the final, where the winner of the tournament is crowned.
In the 2020 edition, teams will be allowed unlimited Covid-19 substitutes.
Who is the most expensive player?
Australia’s Pat Cummins became the most expensive overseas player of all time in the 2020 auction, costing Kolkata Knight Riders 15.5 crores ($2.1m).
Virat Kohli is the most expensive player overall, though – the 2018 renewal of his contract with Royal Challengers Bangalore was worth 17 Crores ($2.4m).
Who are the previous winners?
The Mumbai Indians became the first team to win the IPL for the fourth time by beating the Chennai Super Kings in the 2019 final.
Chennai have won the title on three occasions themselves, in 2010, 2011 and 2018. No other team has ever successfully defended the trophy.
The Rajasthan Royals won the first edition of the IPL in 2008, but have not lifted the trophy since.
The now-defunct Deccan Chargers claimed the title in 2009, with the Sunrisers – who replaced the Chargers as Hyderabad’s franchise in 2012 – successful in 2016.
The Kolkata Knight Riders, meanwhile, were crowned champions in 2012 and 2014.
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