Franchises in the 2021 Indian T20 League have been given an unexpected challenge of having no home games this season and this will be the first time in the history of the competition that no team will have any home advantage in a season played in India. So for example, Team Kolkata won’t be able to play at the iconic Eden Gardens but will have three matches in Chennai, two matches in Mumbai, four matches in Ahmedabad and five matches in Bengaluru.
It can’t be easy for the management to come up with a universal game plan for all games as different venues will throw up different challenges and hence will dictate the strategy. Here’s how conditions differ from stadium to stadium and what changes can we expect the franchises to make.
M.A. CHIDAMBARAM STADIUM (Chennai)
Chennai has been notorious over the years for producing slow and sluggish tracks at the Chepauk. The spinners come into the game from ball one and canny fast bowlers who can exploit the surface pick up most of the wickets at the venue. In the middle phase, a new batter usually takes his time to get settled and can be followed up with a cluster of wickets. The batsman who is set needs to play big and a score of around 170 can be pretty good on this track.
WANKHEDE STADIUM (Mumbai)
The Wankhede is a belter to bat on for any batsman as the ball comes at a reasonable pace and due to the red soil, the bounce is quite even and predictable. The boundaries around are short and sometimes even the miss-hits go the distance at the Wankhede. Spinners struggle to contain the opposition batters and go over 8.00 per over when it comes to the economy rate. Expect franchises to go with a pace dominant attack on this ground and play overseas batsmen who have the ability to smash fast bowling for sixes.
M. CHINNASWAMY STADIUM (Bengaluru)
Known as the graveyard for the bowlers, the Chinnaswamy stadium is all set for some action-packed matches. The boundaries are small and the pitch is tailor-made for hitting through the line. No target is safe while defending at Bengaluru and spinners do tend to go the distance at the venue. Batting second is an advantage at the Chinnaswamy Stadium and expect teams to win the toss, bowl first and anything below 200 should be an easy chase.
EDEN GARDENS (Kolkata)
Eden Gardens offers value to pacers as they get plenty of bounce and carry in the stadium. The fast bowlers have the best strike rate at Eden Gardens since 2018 and their economy rate is also reasonable at 8.5. Spinners have a decent record at the venue as well but it’s the pacers who call the shots. Batting first or second isn’t particularly an advantage or a disadvantage. Expect some close last ball encounters at the iconic Eden Gardens.
NARENDRA MODI STADIUM (Ahmedabad)
This will be the first time that the world’s largest cricket ground at Ahmedabad will play hosts to the best T20 league in the world. There isn’t any historical Indian T20 League data from this venue but plenty of domestic as well as international T20 cricket that has taken place there. Spinners have found it hard to get the breakthroughs on this track as the pitches are usually flat and there’s hardly any spin on offer. Fast bowlers enjoy bowling in such conditions and their low economy rate of 8.00 signifies that. This is where the playoffs will also take place and teams can expect some closely fought encounters where 160-170 can be a score to fight with.
ARUN JAITLEY STADIUM (Delhi)
Delhi has always been known for its remarkably short boundaries and hence it sees sixes hit with ease. But over the years the track in Delhi has evolved. It is the second-best venue for spinners to bowl in the competition and fast bowlers usually go the distance. Batting second is a slight advantage at the venue due to the small dimensions of the ground. Pitches can be slow-paced and if the spinners get on top then it can be difficult for any batting line up.
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