IPL 2018: Is IPL 11 the most exciting season?
Most of IPL fans would agree to the thought that IPL 11 or IPL 2.0 has been the most exciting of all the editions. From the retention of players to the playoff games, this IPL has shown almost everything one could imagine. IPL was already one of the best tournaments in the world and this year it only increased in its greatness.
IPL 11 didn't start on a good note as there was a big blow to two teams as their captains were not allowed to play. And as expected it affected the Rajasthan Royals a lot more than Sunrisers Hyderabad
And then just before the start of the IPL some of the best bowlers started pulling out of the IPL because of injuries; the list included Mitchell Starc, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Some players were given the responsibility of leading their teams for the first time at this level of cricket and everyone was curious to see not only their cricketing skills but also their leadership skills in a pressure situation. MS Dhoni the captain, was back almost after two years which alone was a big reason to look forward to the IPL 11.
And then in the middle of the tournament came the big news of Gautam Gambhir stepping down as the captain of Delhi Daredevils and the responsibility was put on the shoulders of a youngster, Shreyas Iyer, who himself was trying to show the world that he is capable enough to play at the highest level.
While the focus was on players who are in the prime of their careers to score runs, take wickets or to have dominance in the tournament, Senior players who were written off by many, have played impressive cricket. In fact, people mocked CSK for having a squad in which almost every player was above 30 years of age but this was the team which played the best cricket in the tournament.
A twenty-year-old boy who had barely played international cricket was ahead of all the great batsmen in the world in terms of runs scored and a 17-year-old from Afghanistan who is tasting this level of competition for the first time is among the top wicket-takers and that too at such a low economy rate. And if you are reading this then you would know who they are.
The most fascinating thing about this year's IPL was a high number of matches that finished in the last over of the match. The excitement that a close finished match have is unparalleled. This only showed the level of competition and players commitment to winning matches for their team.
But there were also some things that did not change like the team with the best bowling attack defending totals, however, less they were and Mumbai Indians losing everything in the first half and then suddenly rising to win games like they cannot be beaten. Hard to fathom how they do it.
Besides KL Rahul, the most expensive players (Manish Pandey, Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Glenn Maxwell) did not perform like it was expected from them. Whether it is the pressure of the money they got or they are just not in a good form is a question that is up for debate.
The future of Indian cricket looks to be in safe hands with so many young players performing brilliantly in this high-pressure tournament. Players like Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Mayank Markande, Ishan Kishan and the U-19 players like Prithvi Shaw, Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi and so many others have played exceptionally good cricket. The level of confidence, composure and game awareness they showed was incredible.
IPL has players not only from test playing nations but also from associate cricket playing nations. Last year it gave chance to two Afghanistani players who were barely known to anyone, Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi, who grabbed the once in a lifetime opportunity and made their name in the world cricket and this year IPL reached another country, Nepal, to have a talented 17-year-old leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane.
One cannot talk about IPL without mentioning the 'Universe Boss' Christopher Henry Gayle. He has defied everyone who was saying no more cricket is left in him by not only scoring but also improving his fitness. So the secret to making Chris Gayle score runs is to pick him at the end of auction.
CSK made a dream comeback to the IPL after two years. When no one gave them any chance of winning, they proved why they are the best team in the IPL. Even though they could not play on their home ground but still were the second best in the league stages after Sunrisers Hyderabad. There dominance over Sunrisers in the Qualifier 1 and the Final was a treat to watch.
It has been rightly said that IPL is a tournament where seven teams compete to face CSK in the finals.
After all the excitement it generated over the last six-seven weeks there was still one thing missing from this year's IPL Super Over.
Even though the IPL has just ended, the fans are already awaiting the next year's IPL which like every year is going to be bigger and better.