The Indian Premiere League (IPL) is finally here with yet another edition and a lot of excitement. There are changes in a few rules, a few innovations, and home and away fixtures are back, but not truly actually. Getting confused already? Well you must not, because here’s the clarity you need before the defending champions Gujarat Titans take on Chennai Super Kings in the IPL opener at the Narendra Modi Stadium on March 31, 2023.
Where to watch IPL 2023?
The audiences who used Disney Plus Hostatsr for most of their cricket experience online must switch and download the Jio Cinema app to watch the entire IPL 2023 free of cost. Yes, you read it right, it’s subscription is free. All you need to do is download the app, if you don’t want to, you can visit the website and watch it on a laptop and smart TV too.
However, Jio Cinema is owned by the Reliance group and they have a Sports TV channel called Sports 18, but that is not where the IPL would be available on TV. Star Sports still have the TV rights for the most expensive cricket league in the world. So, on TV sets, it would still be Star Sports in India.
Is the home and away format back?
Now that you know where you have to watch it, the next question is, how will the matches be played? Get ready to witness the IPL mania across India as this will be the first season since 2019 when all the teams could play at their home, at least seven out of their 14 games. It will not exactly be home and away because of the format.
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So what is the format of IPL 2023?
The format of the IPL 2023 is the same as IPL 2022 with the only difference being in the venues. IPL 2022 was held in four venues across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune with the playoffs being staged in Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
This time around too, the 10 teams have been divided into two groups with Group A teams playing the Group B teams twice and their own group teams once.
Group A teams
Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals, Lucknow Super Giants
Group B teams
Gujarat Titans, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Chennai Super Kings
To understand the home and away concept, let us consider Delhi Capitals. It plays seven home games, one each against the Group B teams and two against its own group teams.
Does a team have more than one home ground?
Yes, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals have been provided two homes. Alongside their original home ground of PCA Stadium, Mohali and Sawai Mansingh Stadium respectively, the Royals will play their two home games at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium in Guwahati, while Punjab will play their two home games at the picturesque HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.
Teams are free to create playing 11s post the toss?
Now that we know here to watch the games on TV and in stadiums and how many matches will be played by each team at home and away, let us move to the changes made for this IPL. The first and most important one is at the toss.
The team captains do not need to stammer anymore when asked about what changes they have made in their playing 11 from the previous game, or what the team composition is like because they will have the privilege of making their playing 11 based on the outcome of the toss. At the toss, they just need to tell whether they would like to bat or bowl first.
After the toss, the teams need to give out the playing 11 and name five players as substitutes.
What is all this buzz about the impact player?
So what are the substitutes for who will be named at the time of announcing the playing 11? Well, one of them will be used as an impact player. In simple terms, an impact player is any player, not named in the initial playing 11, but named among five substitutes and asked to come into the game as a replacement for one of the initial 11 players.
Say, for example, Chennai Super Kings lost the toss and were asked to field first. Now, they will play an extra bowler in the initial playing 11 in place of Ruturaj Gaikwad or Devon Conway. Say, they played Tushar Deshpande in place of Ruturaj Gaikwad. At the end of Tushar’s four overs, they will replace him with the impact player Ruturaj Gaikwad.
More reviews, more money for advertisers
After the out/not out reviews of the umpire’s decision, now the no-balls and wide balls can also be reviewed by the batters and the fielding team. However, they would be part of the two reviews for each team formulae that was in play during the previous DRS system for dismissals.
With no-balls and wide balls being reviewed, the match will stretch beyond time, but then there are provisions to tackle that too.
Some old rules that still exist
Old rules like no use of saliva, new batter taking the strike in all modes of dismissals except run out and time limit for completing overs, or else being penalised in terms of reduction of a player outside the 30-yard circle will remain in place as usual.
The 1000th match of the IPL
Last but not least, the second meeting of the IPL’s version of El Classico, will also mark the 1000th match of the Indian Premier League’s history. In simple terms, the Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings game at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on May 6, 2023, will be remembered as the 1000th IPL game.