Mumbai likely to miss out IPL 2021 staging due to surge in COVID-19 infection

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Following the surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra, reports claim that Mumbai might not get hosting rights in IPL 2021. Originally Mumbai, which is home to defending champions Mumbai Indians, was meant to be the centerpiece venue of the event. While the final decision is yet to be made, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Delhi have been tentatively issued as possible venues.

According to the latest data published on the Indian government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website earlier this week, Maharashtra had reported nearly half of coronavirus cases in India. Out of the nearly 169,000 cases in India, Maharashtra had 78,212. There were 4,478 new cases officially reported in the western state compared to Sunday, with 62 additional deaths.

At the IPL auction, held on February 18, franchises were informally told that the IPL 2021 schedule was likely to be largely based in Mumbai, along with Pune for the group phase and the play-offs in Ahmedabad. The IPL Board will also finalize the tournament dates, which have not been announced yet but are likely to start anywhere between April 8-12 and stretch until end of May-early June period.

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Meanwhile, the BCCI’s decision to allot IPL 2021 matches to only a few venues hasn’t gone down well with some of the stakeholders, who missed out on the opportunity, playing in front of home crowd. So far, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals were to be deprived of hosting rights. Punjab Kings has written a letter to the board asking for an explanation for the same.

Punjab Kings co-owner Ness Wadia has confirmed, that they have asked the BCCI for an explanation. “We have sent the BCCI a query on why we have been excluded. We would like to know the reason. We have also asked for more clarification on how this process works,” Wadia said as quoted by a news agency. TRS’s KT Rama Rao had also asked to give support to Hyderabad stadium.

Last year, Mumbai Indians have successfully defended their IPL title and clinched their fifth trophy after thrashing Delhi Capitals by five wickets in the final in Dubai. Brilliant hostile bowling led by Trent Boult took MI to victory, now the most successful team in IPL history, chased 157 with eight balls to spare as captain Rohit Sharma hit 68. The 2020 edition of the tournament was held entirely in the UAE.

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