India has been struck by this dreadful disease in the worst possible way, with the second-wave seeing a daily increase in cases by almost 400,000. Citizens are being urged to comply with health and safety protocols, but even these efforts appear to be futile. Yet in these bleak times, the Indian Premier League is continuing to entertain a billion, with its high-octane cricket.

The 14th edition of one of the world’s biggest leagues in sports commenced on April 9th, which saw Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) emerging victorious over defending champions Mumbai Indians. After the tournament was postponed and shifted to the UAE last year, the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) decided to hold it in its home-country, at a time when cases were low. However, the BCCI faced a dilemma as to whether the show should go on, despite the surges in reported cases.

The league consists of eight franchises representing different cities, with renowned international cricketers sharing dressing rooms with local Indian talent in each team. The Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are amongst the most successful amassing a total of eight trophies between them in the last 13 years, but teams such as RCB are still in search of their maiden title, even though they’ve had the biggest superstars in AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle over the years.

The tournament has provided fans with some much-needed entertainment thus far, as it’s a form of escape from the wearisome coronavirus news. Indeed, the players themselves feel that it is their duty to lighten up the lives of Indians. So far, we’ve seen stunning centuries from Sanju Samson and Devdutt Padikkal (the latter of which was infected with the virus in late March), but also a few nail-biting contests such as the one between RCB and Delhi. Some players have even taken a step further to fund oxygen supplies, including Shikhar Dhawan and Pat Cummins.

On the other hand, others would argue that the event puts the travelling teams at risk, and undermines the fact that hospitals just cannot cope with so many more patients. Ravichandran Ashwin chose to withdraw from the IPL in order to “support his family during these tough times,” as well as Australian bowlers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson who wanted to leave before the borders closed.

Although many have deemed this edition of the T20 cricket league to be unnecessary, the officials have decided that it must continue. Each team forms their own bio-secure bubble, and no one has been infected from inside them, suggesting that they sustain a safe environment. The IPL is set to continue for the remainder of the season, and hopefully it fulfils its new purpose of invigorating the lives of covid-stricken communities.