New Delhi: The Indian Premier League Governing Council has shifted the first two play-off matches out of Chennai in order to allow respective teams with Sri Lankan players, freedom to choose their best playing eleven.
The Qualifier and Eliminator matches will now take place at Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi. "The play-offs have been shifted to Delhi from Chennai," a top IPL official told PTI.
The first Qualifier was originally scheduled at the Chepauk on May 21 and the Eliminator on the following day. The matches will now be held on the same dates at Kotla.
According to IPL sources, Bangalore and Pune were also in the reckoning but the Governing Council opted for Delhi as the venue for the two matches. The decision comes in the wake of mounting pressure from various franchises, who were adamant that not having the option to pick their Sri Lankan players reduces their strength considerably at MA Chidambaram, Chepauk.
The Tamil Nadu government had barred Sri Lankan players or match officials to play or officiate in Chennai in the wake of the anti-Sinhalese sentiments prevailing in the state. The Governing Council had then decided to go ahead with the matches in Chepauk but without Sri Lankan players.