Cricket is a sport that is played in few countries around the world, but in the countries that do play it, it is often a national obsession. In India it is a way of life and players who reach the top of the game, such as Sachin Tendulkar, are revered quite literally as Gods.
It’s no surprise then that the biggest cricket tournament on the planet is played in India. The Indian Premier League is the most attended cricket tournament in the world and in terms of average attendance is the sixth biggest sports league on the planet.
The tournament is played in the Twenty20 format of cricket. The shortest form of the professional game was created so as cricket could have a fast paced, high action format of the sport with which to compete with other team sports.
Each team has just one innings and faces twenty overs of six balls each. The result is an exciting match which is completed in around three hours, far shorter than other formats of the game.
The format started off in England and then spread around the world as it became more and more popular. The Indian Premier League started in 2008 and has been played every year for the past ten years. After beating Rising Pune Supergiant by one run in 2017, the current champions of the tournament are Mumbai Indians.
In 2018 the contest will be played amongst eight teams. Chennai Super Kings; Delhi Daredevils; Kings IX Punjab; Kolkata Knight Riders; Mumbai Indians; Rajasthan Royals; Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The tournament is popular worldwide as through the initial player auctions and subsequent trading windows the teams can acquire some of the most exciting Twenty20 players from any cricketing country. Each squad can have a maximum of eight overseas players and a starting eleven can have as many as four.
The coaches and captains come from all over the world too. The 2018 coaches include legends such as Ricky Ponting and Daniel Vettori, the captains include current greats Virat Kohli and Steve Smith.
The tournament in 2018 consists of eight teams and each one plays every other team twice, both home and away. At the end of this stage the top four teams will move into the play offs. The top two teams play each other in the first match with the winner going to the final. The third and fourth placed teams then play each other, with the winner playing the loser of the first play off match. The winner of this match reaches the final.
The winners of the final are the champions.
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