The final of IPL 7 will be played at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on June 1, the IPL governing council decided on Saturday, shifting the showpiece match out of Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. Among other changes in the schedule, Kolkata will host the first qualifier while Mumbai’s CCI stadium will get the second qualifier and the eliminator.
The changes were ostensibly necessitated after Chennai, which was to host a qualifier and the eliminator, couldn’t get an NOC from the local municipal body to host any of their matches this season. However, the venue change for the final prompted a strong reaction from the Sharad Pawar-led Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA), who shot off a letter to the IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal seeking an explanation.
MCA vice-president Ravi Sawant said BCCI interim president Sunil Gavaskar and IPL chairman Ranjib Biswal had assured the MCA that the final would not be shifted out of Wankhede Stadium. “We were not consulted over the decision. We will be writing to the BCCI and ask for the explanation and once we get the reasons, we will give our reaction. Gavaskar and Biswal had assured me that the final would not be shifted out of here,” Sawant said. The MCA officials have also returned their IPL accreditation badges in protest.
An MCA official added that one of the possible reasons for the shift was the ban on fireworks post 10 pm in the city. However, a report on ESPNCricinfo said the rescheduling has been a result of apparent mismanagement at the Wankhede Stadium. “Some VIPs faced difficulties in parking their vehicles when Mumbai Indians hosted Kings XI Punjab on May 3,” the portal reported.
The Wankhede Stadium has previously hosted the 2011 World Cup final and Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement Test. It has been a recent practice in the IPL for the final to be played at the defending champions’s home ground. Mumbai hosted the IPL finals in 2008 (inaugural edition) and 2010 while Chennai has hosted the final in 2011 and 2012. Kolkata hosted it in 2013 where the Mumbai Indians emerged victorious.