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Broadcasters requested late change to play-off schedule, says ILT20

The late change in the order of play-off matches in the ILT20 came about due to a request from broadcasters designed to “build momentum and intensity”, according to a spokesperson for the league.

The ILT20 announced on Saturday that the order of the Eliminator and Qualifier 1 would change, with the Eliminator brought forward from Wednesday to Tuesday and Qualifier 1 pushed back from Tuesday to Wednesday. In its press release, the league did not provide a reason for the switch.

An ILT20 spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo on Wednesday: “The change was made on the request of the league’s broadcast partner.” The league announced a “long-term global media rights contract” with the Indian broadcaster Zee in May 2022 which has aired every match this season on its linear and digital platforms.

When further asked whether the broadcaster had provided a reason for its request, and whether the availability of overseas players was considered, the spokesperson said: “[It was] to build momentum and intensity for the playoffs and the finals, and thereby build even higher viewership for the matches.”

The revised dates proved helpful for MI Emirates, who topped the league table despite losing their final two group games. In Wednesday’s Qualifier 1 , they were able to call upon the services of three players – Akeal Hosein, Tim David and their captain Nicholas Pooran – who all featured in West Indies’ win over Australia in Perth the previous night.

The change was less helpful to the franchises involved in Tuesday’s Eliminator. Dubai Capitals were unable to call upon Jason Holder or Rovman Powell due to their involvement in the T20I series in Australia, while Abu Dhabi Knight Riders were without the services of Andre Russell.

There has been a high turnover in players throughout the ILT20, with all four remaining franchises making signings specifically for the knockout stages in the past week. In total, the six teams have used 133 players between them across 32 matches this season.

Dubai Capitals, who won Tuesday’s Eliminator, will play the losers of Wednesday night’s Qualifier 1 between MI Emirates and Gulf Giants, in Thursday’s Qualifier 2. The winners of Wednesday’s Qualifier 1 will then play the winners of Thursday’s Qualifier 2 in the final in Dubai on Saturday.

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