IPL playoff matches to begin half an hour early

The Chinnaswamy Stadium under lights BCCI

All four IPL play-off matches will begin half an hour early to avoid the matches spilling over past midnight. Traditionally, evening matches in the IPL begin at 8 pm IST, but the BCCI has decided to advance the start of the playoff matches this season to 7.30 pm, with the toss at 7 pm.

It is understood that the four Women's T20 Challenge matches, to be played in Jaipur next month, are also likely to start at 7.30 pm, and will be broadcast live.

The decision was taken on Saturday in Delhi. at a meeting of the Committee of Administrators (CoA), the supervisory authority until the BCCI conducts fresh elections.

Evening matches stretching well beyond the regulation window of 200 minutes as per the IPL's playing conditions has been a concern for a while now. Last season too, the CoA had deliberated over the issue, after the tournament broadcaster reportedly flagged it to the BCCI.

Slow over rates, constant delays in play caused by players calling for drinks or change of equipment, or captains taking too long to adjust fields, have been major factors behind matches going on past midnight.

As per the IPL's playing conditions, each innings is to last 90 minutes - which includes the two strategic timeouts - with a 20-minute break between innings.

Slow over rates attract monetary fines. This season, four captains - Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Virat Kohli and R Ashwin - have copped fines of INR 12 lakh each. Whether fines have been enough of a deterrent has been a talking point, with a number of former players and coaches weighing in. Some have even suggested new approaches to tackling slow over rates; Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody, for instance, reckons that the IPL needs to emulate the Caribbean Premier League (NRR) and bring in a net-run-rate penalty.