IPL 2014: League phase report
The league phase of the Indian Premier League 2014 is over. Congratulations to Kings XI Punjab for winning the League. Oh wait.... the IPL is still not over. The top 4 have to now go through a seemingly complicated (albeit more fair) elimination process to decide the champions.
- Defending champions Mumbai Indians recovered marvelously from a pathetic start to just about enter the knock-outs by the skin of the teeth with net run-rate calculations being as much in focus as the actual match result.
- Rajasthan Royals have always been a fan-favorite team in spite of the spot-fixing scandal. They have been unorthodox in their selections before, but this time over-experimentation caused an early, unexpected end to their campaign.
- T20 cricket has emboldened batsmen. The bigger the target, the likelihood of it getting chased down somehow becomes higher. With batsmen under no pressure, even 15 an over does not seem too big an ask. Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians all produced one astonishing chase after the other.
- If CSK as a team are consistency personified, Robin Uthappa has been the epitome of a consistent batsman. Nine 40+ innings in a row in a format which is designed to be unpredictable will take some beating.
- Amit Mishra had a horror tournament after a good return to the national side. But it was as a batsman that he provided the highlight of the tournament with that extreme run-out against Rajasthan Royals, straight from the Inzamam school of run-outs. [Aside - 23 run-out collections here]
- Apoorv Wankhade was fielding in a stadium carrying his name; I would like to know how many similar stadium-player combinations are there.
- When the batsmen are in a rampaging mood, even the likes of Dale Steyn become lambs to slaughter. Steyn getting hammered thrice (by AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan) wasn't a pleasant sight to behold. But what was pleasing was the way a smiling Steyn applauded his opponents; the kind of moments that make sports special.
- Indian seamers started well, but, by the end of the league stage, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was the last man standing. Mohit Sharma was the other one to have enhanced his reputation.
- As always, the future of Indian batting seems to be in good hands with Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Manan Vohra all playing key parts.