Pune may no longer be home to an Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, but riding on Rising Pune Supergiant's stupendous run last year, the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) has staked a claim to host two of the four play-off games of the IPL's forthcoming edition at its international stadium on the outskirts of Pune.
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MCA president Abhay Apte, in a letter, addressed to IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla on Monday, has cited the IPL's practice of awarding the first qualifier and the final to the defending champion while the eliminator and the second qualifier to the home of the previous season's losing finalist.
“As such, the venue of last year's IPL runner-up (Team Pune), i.e. MCA's stadium at Gahunje, Pune should be the logical choice to stage the eliminator and the qualifier 2 matches. Just because there is no “Pune Team” this year, we cannot change the history and record that this was the venue of the runners-up IPL team (in 2017).
"Holding matches at Pune will also (be) an honour and justice to the fan base of IPL which has been created in Pune,” Apte wrote in the letter, accessed by Sportstar .
The Supergiant, along with Gujarat Lions, was part of the last two editions as replacements for the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. After a disappointing run in its debut season, the Supergiant made a strong comeback last year and made it to the final before losing to Mumbai Indians.
READ: IPL: Jaipur to host Rajasthan Royals home games
The MCA Stadium at Gahunje has, in the last five years, hosted multiple league and play-off matches of the IPL. Shukla and BCCI acting secretary Amitabh Choudhary had said during the IPL Player Auction last month that Pune has been shortlisted as a replacement venue for Jaipur should the home venue for the Royals not get adequate clearances from the state government.
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