The first match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) started on Friday (April 9) at M A Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai amidst the fear of night-curfew.
Just hours before the start of the match the Tamil Nadu government warned that it may be compelled to impose night-curfew and tighten restrictions if the corona virus surge continues in the state.
In the first match, Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians by two-wickets in the final ball. The former achieved the target of 159 (for 9) in exact 20 overs.
Though the IPL matches would be held in six centres and spectators would not be allowed, several questions are being raised over the holding of this tournament when the impact of COVID-19 is much more devastating than the last year. The big poser is that if the Delhi High Court can order that it is mandatory to wear mask even if a person is driving a car alone, how can such a tournament be organised.
The afternoon match would start from 3:30 PM and the second from 7:30 in the evening.
In 2020 the tournament was rescheduled and shifted to the United Arab Emirates. But this time the BCCI and the franchisees decided to hold all the 52 matches on time. The only exception has been given to Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, which would be hosting 10 matches. If the pandemic continues to wreak havoc the matches may be shifted to another venue, that is Hyderabad. This is because several ground staff of Wankhede Stadium are suffering from the disease.
Apart from Kolkata the rest five centres–Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad–are reeling under the pressure of the pandemic.
The matches in Kolkata would be held only after the election in West Bengal ends on April 29.
It has been observed that cities which recently held cricket matches and initially allowed thousands of people to gather are facing serious challenge and the authorities have been forced to impose a sort of lockdown. They are Raipur (which hosted Unacademy Road Safety World Series), Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune and Mumbai. Incidentally, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad will also be hosting the final match on May 30.