Are IPL 3 Matches Getting Fixed?

12 04 2010

IPL 3 is now at a very interesting crossroads. One month of cricket has already been played and yet the semi-final line-up is not clear. After the matches on the 11th of April, only one team Mumbai Indians (MI) has qualified for the semi-finals. But for Kings XI Punjab, who have virtually no chance of making it to the semi-finals, rest of the six teams have a good chance of making it to the semis. A look at the points table tells us that three teams are bunched at 12 points and 3 teams at 10 points at this stage in the league when most teams have played 11 matches each and 2 teams have played 12 matches each.

There are 11 more league matches between 12th April today and the semi-finals on 21st April. Each of these matches features, at least one team who has a must-win requirement to make the semi-finals. There are several matches where both the teams have a must-win requirement for example CSK vs KKR on the 13th of April. Thus making the last few league matches, a virtual knockout stage, ensuring sky high TRPs.

These matches are virtual quarter finals. Although there are no official Q/F as per the league format, in IPL 3 this has come about. The question to ask is whether they have come about by happenstance or by design ?

Whereas, one would like to believe that these Q/Fs have come about by happenstance, there are quite a few indicators which suggest otherwise. 

The league matches in the last ten days have thrown up very surprising results. Mumbai Indians which was cruising along beautifully, suddenly started losing to much lesser teams that too , two in a row. KXP which did nothing right in the first half of the league, suddenly starting becoming the giant-killer beating KKR even when they scored 200 and further beat up MI and DD which were at the top of the table. A large number of cricket enthusiasts point out to freak dismissals through run-outs, dropped catches etc to drive home the point that the script for the IPL 3 is not being written  on the ground in which it is played. 

The commercial angle to the need for Q/Fs is pretty clear. Well into the 4th week of the league, fatigue has set in among the TV viewers. The novelty of T20 namely sixes, run-outs, wickets, cheer girls has somewhat worn out already in the third year.  News is coming out that the audience for IPL in theaters across India is very low. The summer heat this year, has been very severe, making it all the more diffcult for filling up stadia.  Many new centers like Nagpur, Dharamsala are hosting IPL matches for the first time, even though they have no home teams playing.

Much that I would like to attribute the results of the matches held in the last few weeks to ‘the glorious uncertainties of cricket’, one cannot ignore the huge commercial motive. Let’s not forget IPL is in the hands of Lalit Modi, who is a brilliant marketer/organiser but also a consummate gambler.

One can never be sure whether this emergence of virtual Q/F s is by design. If indeed that is true, one should treat IPL as no different from WWF, the wrestling competition manufactured for TV audiences.

– G. Mohan




3 responses

19 04 2010

As if the match-fixing doubts and Tharoor-Modi controversy was not enough, IPL raises new doubts. The semi-finals have been moved out of Bengaluru to Navi Mumbai on security concerns. Why D Y Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai yet again.
D Y Patil stadium is not the home stadium of any of the IPL teams yet it hosts more matches and big matches than others. It staged the opening match, the 3rd and 4th place match ( important for Champions League) and finals. It also staged a couple of matches featuring Deccan Chargers after Hyderabad was not included as a venue, because of Telangana agitation.
Something is fishy. I have reasons to doubt that some of the important functionaries of BCCI from Maharashtra like Shashank Manohar and Sharad Pawar have vested interest in promoting D Y Patil stadium.
Promoting Navi Mumbai at the cost of several historic venues like Kanpur, Jamshedpur, Guwahati , Vizag etc is just not cricket.

19 04 2010
Animesh Basak

My compliments to Mohan for uttering the C-word, loud and clear.

Time has come to call Sharad Pawar’s bluff.

While the media is agog with juicy titbits on Tharoor and Modi, I’m afraid, the kingpin of the sordid scam is getting scot free. What is the real source of power of Pawar? With merely nine MPs to show up for NCP, how does Pawar wield so much clout that nothing sticks to him, scam after scam? Is a novice like Tharoor being sacrficed to protect the man who could well be the richest politician in India?

I find it difficult to believe that Modi could get so brazen with his twits without Pawar’s hand on his head.

Animesh Basak.

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