IPL 2014: The T20 league comes home
Summers in India are characterized by two things: the all–too–familiar heat and of course, the Indian Premier League. From modest beginnings, the IPL has now transformed into a multi–million dollar brand name that we Indians can’t have enough of and quite justifiably so. And so the month of April is welcomed every year, with cricket crazy citizens gearing up for two months of fierce competition and sheer, unadulterated fun.
With the general elections being conducted in stages across the sub–continent, this year’s edition of IPL was shifted to the land of sheiks and kebabs, i.e., the UAE bringing back memories of the Coca Cola Trophy and the infamous sandstorm, Ah, the good old days.
Let’s see what this phase of the 56 day extravaganza had for us in store.
1. KXIP became the first team and George Bailey became the first captain to win the first 5 opening matches of the IPL. This was primarily due to impressive batting displays by Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, the luck that followed Maxwell and the amazing bowling display in the last two matches. Just like Harsha Bhogle had tweeted after the game against SRH, “if you sent Maxwell to fight an army with a feather, he would vanquish them with this luck!”
2. KXIP created an IPL record of chasing down the highest score when they made CSK’s 205 look diminutive in their very first outing. They eclipsed the previous best of 193 by CSK against KXIP. Sweet revenge?
3. KXIP became the first team to win 8 matches in a row in the IPL considering all the seasons so far. It is the best ever sequence in IPL history. They eclipsed the previous best of 7 matches in a row by RCB (2011) & CSK (2013).
4. CSK reached the milestone of winning the most number of matches in T20 by any team with 74 wins when they defeated SRH in their last match in the UAE leg. They are followed by MI and Somerset with 66 and 65 wins respectively.
5. RCB scored the first ever below 100 score of the season when they were bundled out for 70 in their match against RR. The match saw the 42–year old veteran Pravin Tambe take 4/20 in his allotted 4 overs which is the record for the best spell by the oldest ever cricketer in the IPL, way ahead of Brad Hogg’s 2/31.
6. The closest finish in this edition of the IPL so far was the penultimate match at UAE when RR and KKR battled it out in the super over. James Faulkner produced an amazing 19th over and took the best figures by a birthday boy with 3/11, which ensured that the match went down to the wire. The super over too was tied but due some quick thinking by Steve Smith, RR won by the more number of boundaries formula. RR had 18 while KKR had only 14 to their innings. The other close finishes were: KKR won the match against RCB due to the super man catch of Chris Lynn by 2 runs, which was the closest finish in terms of runs. RR won against SRH and DD won against KKR by 4 wickets. Both games witnessed the closest in terms of wickets left. RR defeated SRH and CSK defeated SRH with 3 balls remaining which was the closest in terms of balls remaining.
7. MI became the first team to lose more than 2 games at the start of the season in their pursuit to defend their title. They lost all the 5 matches they played. They are the only team not to win a single game in UAE.
All teams played 5 matches with a total of 20 games being played. As the UAE leg has come to an end, things are clear at the top with KXIP leading the pack and CSK closely following at #2. All other teams have their tasks cut out and are evenly poised with difference in their NRR.
From what we’ve seen so far, this year’s IPL promises to be a run fest with incredible batting displays in store over the next month and a half. MI are the only team not to open their account in the points table after the Middle Eastern sojourn. It has been a shocker of a start this season for the Ambani-owned franchise.
The honeymoon in the foreign land has come to a close and the time to move to homeland has started. Will this change fortunes for MI? Will this affect KXIP’s run? Will this see a change in for all other teams too? Let’s relish in waiting and watching the entertainment unravel in its own true colours. Pay your television bills on time folks, because you sure don’t want to miss this.