Home team (dis)advantage in the IPL…

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?

— Mohan

5 responses to “Home team (dis)advantage in the IPL…

  1. I would go for a different approach. Let the two semi finalists play a home and an away game against each other in a best of 3 play off series with a third if necessary game to be played at a neutral venue. This should be carried forward to the Finals also. Otherwise it is sad if Rajastan after winning so much loses it tonight!

  2. Since T20 is emulating other “American” sports (in that they complete the game in ~ 3hrs), I would go all the way in how the play offs are played in NHL, MLB and NBA. The semi-finals and finals should be best of seven games. This eliminates the sham of the semis that we are seeing right now. Certainly Delhi and Punjab are capable of playing better and scoring more on another day. To make one match different from another, a bowler can bowl at most 6 overs in any two consecutive matches in a series.

  3. Oh! I realized that I left out some “details”. The format for the seven games would be 2-3-2. The team with the better record gets home field advantage. One other idea to toy with is to eliminate the toss and have the home team always determine their choice (thus giving them the “advantage”)

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