Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
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A Super Over will decide the result if any of the IPL playoff matches - including the final - is disrupted by the weather and no play is possible in regulation time. And in case the ground conditions continue to remain unplayable, then the league standings will be used to identify the winners, an IPL briefing note has confirmed.
Gujarat Titans will face Rajasthan Royals in Qualifier 1 at Kolkata's Eden Gardens on May 24 and Lucknow Super Giants will play Royal Challengers Bangalore at the same venue the next day in the Eliminator. With inclement weather forecast for the city at least for the first few days of the week, there is a worry about games playing out as scheduled, which necessitated the guidelines, accessed by ESPNcricinfo.
An allowance of an extra two hours over the stipulated 200 minutes of match time has been added to the playing conditions. In case the starts are delayed, the first three playoff matches - including Qualifier 2 in Ahmedabad on May 27 - can begin as late as 9.40pm, and the final, also in Ahmedabad on May 29, can begin as late as at 10.10pm without any overs being lost. While the two strategic timeouts per innings will be retained, the only tweak - effected in case of a delayed start - would be the mid-match break being halved.
"The number of overs in the playoff match may, if necessary, be reduced so that each side has the opportunity to bat for five overs," the guidelines said. There will be no timeouts for a five-overs-a-side game which will have a cut-off start time of four minutes before midnight (11.56pm) with a ten-minute innings break and a scheduled finish time of 12.50am. In case the final is reduced to a five-overs-a-side match, it would need to begin latest by 12.26am.
"For the Eliminator and each Qualifier playoff matches (where there is no reserve day), in the event that it is not possible to schedule a five-over match to complete by the end of the extra time on the original day, the teams will, if conditions permit, play a Super Over to determine the winner of the relevant Eliminator or Qualifier match," the guidelines added. The Super Over would need to start at 12.50am latest for these matches to finish.
In the scenario where the Super Over is also not possible, "the team that finished highest in the league table after the 70 matches of the regular season shall be declared the winner of the relevant playoff match or final".
The IPL final will start at 8 pm, which is half an hour later than the usual starting time of 7.30pm. May 30 will be reserve day if the final is disrupted and cannot be finished for any reason on that day. For the two Qualifiers and the Eliminator, which do not have reserve days, if one innings is complete but no play is possible in the second, the DLS method will be applied to determine the match result.
The IPL has also pointed out that in case the final starts on May 29 (at least one ball is bowled), but is "not finished on the original day", then the match would be wrapped on the reserve day. "The match will resume at the point where it stopped on the previous day. For the avoidance of doubt, any match recalculations done without the match actually restarting on the previous night will be ignored."
In case no play is possible after the toss in the final, teams will have a fresh toss on the reserve day. The IPL said the reserve day will comprise the same amount of playing time - five hours and 20 minutes including the two extra hours available in case of any disruption or rain.
Using the Super Over method to determine the winner in a rain-affected match is a first. Normally in T20Is, if a five-overs-a-side option is not possible, then the match is abandoned.
For the final, the Super Over will need to start by 1.20am. "For the final, in the event that it is not possible to schedule a five over match to be completed by the end of the extra time on the reserve day, the teams will, if conditions permit, play a Super Over to determine the winner of the final. This means that the pitch and ground must be ready for play so that the Super Over can start at the latest by 1.20am (final)."