8 teams competed in the first three editions of IPL. The group stage involved 56 matches where each team played 7 home and 7 away games. IPL 2011 edition was extended to include 2 more teams. Following the double round robin league with 10 teams would have resulted in an extra 34 games. Fitting so many matches in the same 6 week calendar was too difficult. The traditional alternative of dividing the 10 teams in two groups of five results in playing 16 fewer games despite adding two more teams.
Hence an unusual and confusing format was devised. 10 teams are divided in two groups of five. Each team plays the team in the same row and the same column twice, and all others once. Thus A1 plays home and away with remaining 4 teams in its group. A1 also plays home and away with the ‘buddy’ team B1. The remaining 4 teams are played once, 2 at home and 2 away.
This format preserves the following framework from the first edition:
- Each team must play all the remaining teams at least once.
- Each team plays 7 home and 7 away games.
Visual guide presented below follows the above framework to illustrate the format for 8, 10, 12 & 14 IPL teams.
The seven home games for team A1 appear red and the corresponding away fixtures appear blue.