IPL Must Improve Time Management to Avoid Late Finishes

Indian Premier League

Jos Buttler expressed frustration with the slow pace of play during the IPL 2023. In the match between Chennai Super Kings and Lucknow Super Giants, which started five minutes late due to a dog on the field, Buttler tweeted about the need to speed things up 43 minutes into the match. The following innings lasted for an hour and 48 minutes, with the match ending past 11.30pm.

However, this was not the longest innings in the first seven matches of the tournament. The Royal Challengers Bangalore took two hours and two minutes to finish their bowling against Mumbai Indians. Similarly, the Gujarat Titans took a full two hours to complete their innings against the Super Kings in the opening match. The opening ceremony had already gone into overtime, causing the match to begin two minutes late.

The IPL aims for matches to finish in three hours and 20 minutes

None of the completed innings in the IPL 2023 so far have seen the last over start within the allowed 90 minutes, which includes timeouts. The IPL has set a target of matches finishing within three hours and 20 minutes, but no match has met this target yet. Even with a shortened 20-minute innings break, only two matches where both sides played their full 20 overs were completed in under four hours, barely so.

This has caused chaos on double-header days for those trying to keep up with both games, and night matches have gone well past their expected end times. This is not ideal for viewers who have work the next morning, and it also affects the IPL and the broadcasters.

The IPL 2023 is still in its early days since returning to a full schedule of games in multiple venues with packed crowds. It’s not surprising that the league may not be running as smoothly as it did during the last three years, when it was played in limited venues without full audiences.

However, it’s crucial that teams improve their performance and avoid playing at a slow pace that bores spectators and causes them to lose interest in the exciting final moments, simply because the match ran too late into the night. According to a report by the Indian Express in 2018, IPL TV ratings began to drop after 10.45 pm and fell drastically after 11 pm, indicating that viewers tend to switch off by that time.

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