IPL 2015: The 'Tyohaar' India thoroughly enjoyed
On Sunday, Mumbai Indians clinched their second IPL title after humbling the Chennai Super Kings in a one-sided final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. Though the finals and the playoffs as a whole were rather one sided, the 2015 season of the IPL was arguably the most exciting season of the IPL so far. Supporters of the eight teams were on a roller coaster ride of sorts as the balance kept shifting from one team to another.
Let’s take a look at a few highlights of the season gone by:
A very exciting league phase
The league phase of this year’s IPL was surely not for the faint hearted. It was not until the 52nd game of the league phase that one of the teams(CSK) managed to secure it’s entry in the playoffs. In fact, the remaining three teams(MI, RCB and RR) and their qualifying positions were decided on the final day of the league phase.
Moreover, there were many ups and downs in the table right throughout the league phase. For instance, the Rajasthan Royals won each of their first 5 games and were sitting pretty at the top of the table. At the same time, the Mumbai Indians were struggling at the bottom of the table with just one win out of their first 5 games. However, the Royals suffered a stutter thereafter and barely managed to scamper through to the subsequent round whereas the Mumbai Indians romped to a second place finish.
Interestingly, the Royals were not the only team who squandered their top of the table advantage. The defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders too were at the top at various stages but failed to capitalise on the same.
Ironically, each of the Royal Challengers, the Royals, the Knight Riders and the Sunrisers had 7 wins to their name. However, the former two qualified by virtue of more points earned (they must be thanking the Rain Gods). In fact, the Knight Riders can be considered a wee bit unlucky as they missed qualification by a solitary point.
Shrinking margins of victory
Another factor which added to the thrill of this year’s IPL were the number of games which went down to the absolute wire. The table below contains the number of wins by narrow margin for every season along with the number of super over games played per season:
N.B: Wins by 3 wickets or less and wins by 5 runs or less have been included. Wins with fewer balls to spare have not been included.
|Season||Wins by 5 runs or less||Wins by 3 wickets or less||Wins decided by super over||Total|
As can be seen from the table above, the IPL this year had the most number of keenly contested games. These numbers would have surely swelled if matches which were won with very few balls to spare would have been included.
Young guns rise to the occasion
Every season, the IPL brings quite a few young players into the limelight. It provides them the perfect opportunity to showcase their talent. This year was no different as many youngsters made full use of the opportunity that was provided to them.
While Shreyas Iyer impressed everybody with his run-scoring, his technique and his temperament, Yuzvendra Chahal grabbed quite a few eyeballs courtesy of some classical leg spin bowling which earned him 23 wickets. The likes of Sarfaraz Khan, Mandeep Singh and Deepak Hooda too made a statement by way of their bold strokeplay. Bowlers like Sandeep Sharma, Harshal Patel, Anureet Singh and Sreenath Arvind too impressed one and all with their ability to bowl quick as well as move the ball.
This year also saw the rise of a few all-rounders who were game changers for their teams. For CSK, Pawan Negi played some blazing cameos towards the end and also chipped in with some vital wickets when needed. The likes of Hardik Pandya and Jagadeesha Suchith performed the same role for the Mumbai Indians as they provided the squad with a lot of balance. Suchith, especially deserves praise because he broke into a star-studded Mumbai line up without having played a single first-class game.
Veterans make their presence felt
The tag line of the IPL says, “IPL: Where Talent meets Opportunity”. Pravin Tambe, a player who made his IPL debut at the age of 41, perfectly epitomises this tag line. Though he had a disappointing season this year, there were many veterans who left a mark on this year’s IPL, some of whom were the yesteryear stars of the Indian team.
By picking 18 wickets in 15 matches and scoring 117 runs at a strike-rate of 160.27, 34-year old, Harbhajan Singh engineered a sensational comeback to the Indian team. Ashish Nehra too was at his lethal best this season as he picked up 22 wickets at 20.40 apiece and an economy rate of 7.24. In fact, with figures of 4/10, he also has the best bowling figures of the season to his name. Zaheer Khan looked impressive as well in whatever limited games he played. In fact, he even bowled one of the best spells of the season which consisted of 18 dots.
The likes of Imran Tahir and Brad Hogg too showed what they are capable of by bowling some excellent spells. Parthiv Patel, who has been on the sidelines for quite some time came to the party this season as he scored 339 runs at an average of 26.08 and a strike rate of 137.80. He provided the Mumbai Indians with some excellent starts which was vital to their revival in the later stages of the tournament. Gautam and Gambhir and Robin Uthappa too did a fair job as the duo scored more than 300 runs each.
The IPL Commentary Team
This is another reason behind the tournament being a big hit this season. In a bid to do things differently, this year the IPL saw the introduction of some lady commentators such as Lisa Sthalekar, Melanie Jones, Anjum Chopra and Isa Guha in the commentary box. Each of the four ladies did a fair job and were well received by the fans. Moreover, some other commentators like David Lloyd, Scott Styris and Aakash Chopra too made their IPL commentary debuts this season.
In addition to these, the usual suspects like Ravi Shastri, Sunil Gavaskar, Harsha Bhogale, Danny Morrison, Pomy Mbangwa , HD Ackerman among others entertained the viewers with their commentary and also provided some valuable insights. The dress code that each of the commentators followed throughout the season also caught the eyes of the fans.
All in all, the 2015 season of the IPL was arguably the most exciting IPL season so far. What added to the beauty of the IPL this year was the absence of any controversies. It was an absolutely smooth event and all the while the focus was only on cricket. In the end, cricket was the winner as we witnessed some top quality cricket over the last couple of months. Moreover, the story of the Mumbai Indians’ resurgence from the bottom of the table to the IPL trophy will surely be remembered by fans for years to come and will serve as an inspiration for other teams. Here’s hoping that we get to see many such ‘Tyohaars’ in the years to come.