The Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to return for its 16th edition after 306 days, bringing together the best players in the world for a season of thrilling cricket. The tournament will consist of 74 games for the second year in a row, with many of the world’s elite cricketers going head-to-head in sixes, fours, and wickets a-plenty. The first game of the season sees defending champions, Gujarat Titans, host Chennai Super Kings at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on 31st March.
The IPL was inaugurated in 2008, with Rajasthan Royals defeating Chennai Super Kings by three wickets in the final held at the DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai. The inaugural IPL was a massive success, and since then, the competition has grown exponentially. Ahead of the 2022 season, two new teams, Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants, joined the tournament, taking the number of teams to ten and increasing the number of games to 74. The success and global appeal of the IPL have prompted international cricket boards to acknowledge the inevitability of the competition being the main event of the year, and a window has been inserted into the international cricket calendar to make room.
One of the unique features of the IPL is the atmosphere generated by the passionate cricket fans in the stadiums. India has some of the largest stadiums in the world, which are filled to capacity during IPL fixtures, creating an unparalleled atmosphere. This, coupled with the best players in the world and the best coaches, makes the IPL the best franchise cricket tournament globally.
There are ten IPL teams, with Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants as the most recent additions. Mumbai Indians have been the most successful team in the competition, having won five IPL titles (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2020). Chennai Super Kings have won the IPL four times (2010, 2011, 2018, 2021), Kolkata Knight Riders have won twice (2012, 2014), and four other franchises have won the tournament once: Rajasthan Royals (2008), the now-defunct Deccan Chargers (2009), Sunrisers Hyderabad (2016), and Gujarat Titans (2022). Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings, and Royal Challengers Bangalore have entered every IPL but are still searching for their first victory.
The IPL 2023 schedule runs from 31st March to 28th May and comprises 70 group stage matches, with a mixture of single-game days and double-game days. The top four teams from the group stage will proceed to the playoffs, consisting of the Qualifier 1, Eliminator, Qualifier 2, and Final, all of which will take place in Ahmedabad. All games will begin at either 15:30 or 19:30 local time.
Before the tournament began, several players made headlines for different reasons. Delhi Capitals’ captain, Rishabh Pant, is expected to miss the entire season due to a serious car crash in 2022, and Australia’s David Warner has replaced him as skipper. England’s Jonny Bairstow will also miss the 2023 tournament as he returns from a broken leg and prepares for the 2023 Men’s Ashes.
In conclusion, the IPL is set to deliver another season of thrilling cricket featuring the world’s best players, coaches, and fans. With the Gujarat Titans looking to defend their title and the other nine teams vying for victory, it’s a season not to be missed.