Hyderabad has been confirmed as the venue for the IPL final on May 12 after Chennai Super Kings failed to provide a solution to the long-standing issue of the three disputed - and closed - stands at MA Chidambaram Stadium. However, Chennai will get to host the first play-off match - Qualifier 1 - on May 7 while Vishakapatnam will stage the Eliminator and Qualifier 2 on May 8 and 10.
As reported last week, Super Kings - the defending champions and, therefore, the rightful hosts of the final - had been given time by the IPL authorities to identify a way around the problem. ESPNcricinfo understands that the Super Kings management has since conveyed its inability to do so by May 12, and the final has now gone to Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad, the home venue of last season's runners-up, Sunrisers Hyderabad.
ESPNcricinfo understands that the BCCI opted to retain Chepauk to host Qualifier 1 since it wanted to credit Super Kings for winning the title last year. Super Kings have hosted four home games so far this season, including the season-opener against Royal Challengers Bangalore, with the stands closed. However, IPL officials were concerned about the bad optics the vacant stands present, especially on TV, for the marquee matches.
The Chennai corporation had closed the three stands - I, J and K, adding up to roughly 12,000 seats - in 2012 as there were discrepancies when the stadium was refurbished before the World Cup in 2011. Only once since then have they been opened to the public, after the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association got special permission to do so for an India v Pakistan ODI in December 2012.
The BCCI wanted to stage the playoffs at the prominent venues but with the league phase only ending on May 5, it is believed there was not enough time to get venues like Mumbai and Bengaluru ready. Also, with the general elections running parallel to the IPL, the other big venues were ruled out.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo