Dileep Premachandran has written an excellent article in Cricinfo, in support of Shane Warne’s anguish at the organisation of the IPL finals series. Because the Mumbai Indians spent most money in buying their franchise, they got the “right” to host the two semi-finals and the IPL Final. Bangalore Royal Challengers, by virtue of being the team that bid the second highest franchise-purchase, won the right to host the opening ceremony and the first game. This does not strike me as a sensible or fair framework.
Luckily for the IPL, Mumbai Indians did not make the semi-final cut. Or else the home-team advantage would be far too huge a leverage for the other teams to overcome!
It also does not make a huge amount of sense to me to have half the competition to be in the reckoning in a “Finals Series”! After playing over 50 matches over 40 days, surely, one should be able to separate the wheat from the chaff — although I will be the first to admit that the margin between wheat and chaff is far less in T20 than in ODI and Tests! Yet, to have half the teams participating in a knockout Finals Series that does not have a home-team-advantage to a top-performing-team makes a mockery of the hard yards that, for example, a team like Rajasthan Royals have put in to get to where they have got to.
My reckoning is that the “Finals Series” should be conducted in two simple rounds organised as follows (this borrows from the Aussie Rules approach):
Only the top-3 teams go through to the “IPL Finals Series” numbered T1 through T3 on the basis of their final league standings.
- T1 gets a “bye” in Round-1 of the IPL Finals Series.
- T2 plays T3 at T2’s home ground. Winner is W1 and loser is eliminated!
- T1 plays W1 in the FINALS.
This is a fairer system and allows for a travel-day if one were needed. Views?