The 11th edition of Indian Premier League has, by most accounts, gotten off to an entertaining start. Unlike the 10th edition which was marked by not-so-exciting games in the first half, 2018 has seen many a last-over thriller. Aided perhaps by the reshuffle of teams, the contests have largely been gripping.

As of April 24, 2018 only two of the 23 matches have finished with more than two overs left in the second half. This is the dream scenario for the league that doesn’t shy away from calling itself the toughest, most entertaining cricket league in the world.

But, amid the adrenaline rush generated by these close matches, it’s interesting to note that hardly any match gets completed on time. Sights of captains having a conference with their senior players and coaches towards the fag end of the game have been commonplace. (Remember the number of times Rohit Sharma ran up to Hardik Pandya from the boundary line in the last-over finish between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals?)

The playing conditions for the IPL reads thus:

To be determined by the BCCI subject to there being 2 sessions of 1 hour 30 minutes each 
(including 5 minutes time-out), separated by a 20 minute interval between innings.    

Going by that, for matches that begin at 4 pm, the official end-time is 7.20 pm and for the matches beginning at 8 pm, the close of play should be 11.20 pm – and this is inclusive of the four strategic timeouts. (Why do we need four of those again, if players are going to ask for drinks at the end of overs?)

So how many of the matches actually ended in the 200-minute stipulated duration? Here’s a look.

Duration of IPL matches in 2018

Match Overs bowled (out of 40) Duration of game Overtime
#1 - MI v CSK 39.5  3 hours and 45 minutes 25 mins
#2 - KXIP v DD 38.5 3 hours and 24 minutes 4 mins
#3 - KKR v RCB
38.5 3 hours and 37 minutes 17 mins
#4 - SRH v RR 35.5 3 hours and 5 minutes 15 mins before time
#5 - CSK v KKR 39.5 3 hours and 55 minutes 35 mins
#6 - RR v DD 23.5 (RAIN-AFFECTED) 4 hours and 31 minutes 71 mins
#7 - SRH v MI 40  3 hours and 46 minutes 26 mins
#8 - RCB v KXIP 38.5 3 hours and 38 minutes 18 mins
#9 - MI v DD 40 3 hours and 38 minutes 18 mins
#10 - KKR v SRH 39 (RAIN-AFFECTED) 4 hours and 28 minutes 68 mins
#11 - RCB v RR 40 3 hours and 31 minutes 11 mins
#12 - KXIP v CSK 40 3 hours and 47 minutes 27 mins
#13 - KKR v DD 34.2 3 hours and 20 minutes Ended on time
#14 - MI v RCB 40 3 hours and 50 minutes 30 mins
#15 - RR v KKR 38.5 3 hours and 25 minutes 5 mins
#16 - KXIP v SRH 40 3 hours and 32 minutes 12 mins
#17 - CSK v RR 38.3 3 hours and 30 minutes 10 mins
#18 - KKR v KXIP 31.1 (RAIN-AFFECTED) 4 hours and 28 minutes 68 mins
#19 - RCB v DD 38 3 hours and 30 minutes 10 mins
#20 - SRH v CSK 40 3 hours and 35 minutes 15 mins
#21 - RR v MI 39.4 3 hours and 50 minutes 30 mins
#22 - DD v KXIP 40 3 hours and 36 minutes 16 mins
#23 - MI v SRH 37.3 3 hours and 47 minutes 27 mins
(End times as per official IPL Twitter handle)

Even if we are to be generous and provide an additional 10-minute grace period, considering there are numerous other little delays in a game that goes forward at a break-neck pace, the chart doesn’t make for great reading, as shown below.

As of April 24, with the completion of 23 matches, only two have ended on or before the stipulated end time. And the total number of overs bowled in those games? 35.5 and 34.2 overs. Clearly, if those were to go all the way, we can be rest assured they would have overshot the stipulated time as well.

For the 18 matches that ended over-time without a rain delay, the average duration played beyond the stipulated 200 minutes is 18.67 minutes. That’s nearly the duration it takes to bowl 4.39 overs according to the mandatory minimum over-rate of 14.11, as laid down by the playing conditions.

While the fans wouldn’t mind this if it means more entertaining games, the rules have been laid down for a reason. And there have not been any sanctions against players by the league yet as well.

One of the selling points of T20 was supposed to be how the games wouldn’t drag on. While the ratings and revenues generated continue to progress in only one direction, organisers and broadcasters would do well to keep a check on over rates and unnecessary delays being caused during the game.