The Deccan Chargers franchise is one formal step away from losing its IPL status with its owners failing to produce, within the Friday evening deadline, the Rs 100-crore ($19 million) bank guarantee the Bombay High Court had set as the condition for the team's survival in the league. The failure to produce the bank guarantee meant that the court's status quo on the franchise's termination was automatically lifted, which leaves the BCCI free to invite bidders for a new franchise.
There are, however, two lifelines for the Chargers; one is if the court-appointed arbitrator, CK Thakkar, rules that the BCCI's grounds of termination were improper. It is believed that Chargers' counsel have already approached Thakkar. The other alternative is to challenge the High Court order in the Supreme Court.
For the moment, though, Friday's events bring the curtains down on Chargers' rollercoaster existence in the IPL, which they won in 2009 after finishing last the previous season. Their subsequent performances were patchy - they finished fourth, seventh and eighth in the last three seasons. The last few months have been overshadowed by the owners' financial problems, which had led to the attempted sale of the franchise and finally its dissolution.
It is understood that DCHL sought a three-day extension of the Friday 5 pm deadline to furnish the guarantee but the court turned it down. DCHL's lawyers are also believed to have told the court that it was trying to "negotiate" selling the franchise to a private bidder.
It is not yet clear what will happen to the playing and support staff. Chargers were led last season by Kumar Sangakkara and coached by the former Australia batsman Darren Lehmann. The other notable overseas players include Dale Steyn, Cameron White and JP Duminy.
The development will, however, come as a shot in the arm for the BCCI, which is keen on a new franchise. At its marketing sub-committee meeting on September 13, a day after the Chargers' expulsion, the board had decided on a short-list of nine cities - not including Hyderabad - for the new franchise. But those plans had to be put on hold once DCHL went to court.
The BCCI had terminated Chargers' IPL contract on September 14 after what it called a "sudden change of stance by the franchise" regarding its commitments and the board's belief that any further extension of time to the franchise owners would "seriously prejudice the interests of the players."
The matter then went to court where on October 1, while delivering his final judgement in the case, Justice S J Kathawala had asked DCHL to comply with various undertakings in order for the franchise to return to the IPL fold. The conditions included clearing the player dues and other liabilities for the fifth season of the IPL, and also the bank guarantee, only from a nationalised bank.
On Tuesday, DCHL sought a three-day extension to provide the guarantee, and was given till 5 pm on Friday.