The 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) saw the Mumbai Indians claiming their fifth championship title and their second in a row. In what was a rather disappointing, one-sided IPL final, the Mumbai side got the better of the Delhi Capitals by five wickets without breaking much of a sweat.
With the win, Rohit Sharma’s MI increased the gap between MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings and themselves. The Chennai side are currently stuck on three championship wins. Delhi, on the other hand, will be pleased, having reached the finals for the first time since making their IPL debut in the inaugural edition in 2008.
Played in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with players being part of a bio-bubble and minus the crowds, IPL 2020 was quite a unique experience for both the players as well as fans.
As MI celebrate yet another impressive triumph, we look back at 3 things we learned from this year's IPL.
#1. There is a massive gap between IPL champs Mumbai Indians and other franchises
With a lot of trading activity and bidding action taking place during the auctions, fans would have been expecting a close tussle between Mumbai and there other teams in this year's IPL. That wasn’t to be the case.
MI steamrolled their way through the tournament and lifted the IPL 2020 crown, playing like true champions. MI’s latest title win exposed the huge gulf that exists between the most successful IPL franchise and the rest of the teams.
While the Delhi Capitals finished as runners-up, they were a distant second. DC and MI faced each other four times in IPL 2020, and on each occasion, Mumbai were too good for Delhi.
After comprehensively beating DC in the league stages, MI literally cruised to the title with easy wins over Delhi in the Qualifier and the final.
Among the other sides, Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore significantly improved their performance in IPL 2020. Young Devdutt Padikkal was the find of the tournament for RCB with some impressive batting efforts at the top of the innings, aiding the likes of Kohli and de Villiers.
However, the team lacked the consistency desired to be IPL champions and were eliminated in the play-offs by Sunrisers Hyderabad.
SRH were handicapped by injuries to key players like Bhuvneshwar Kumar but battled their way to the top four. Other franchises like the Rajasthan Royals, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab came nowhere close to winning the title.
#2. CSK need to reinvent themselves
Last year’s finalists the Chennai Super Kings were the biggest disappointments of IPL 2020. It was the first time since the 2019 World Cup exit that fans were going to witness MS Dhoni in action.
However, the legend looked a pale shadow of himself, failing to inspire the team. Although Dhoni confirmed he would play the 2021 IPL edition as well, he will do well to reconsider his decision.
Chennai’s decision to retain most of their aging players came back to haunt them. The ‘Daddies Army’ tag sat well on them till last season, but this time, it was a case of one year too many.
Murali Vijay and Kedar Jadhav are well past their prime, and it wasn’t surprising that Shane Watson announced his decision to retire after a disappointing IPL 2020 campaign.
The time has come for CSK to look ahead and invest in youth while retaining performing veterans. Their last three matches gave an indication of what Chennai had got wrong this season and what they should rely on in the future.
The promising Ruturaj Gaikwad excelled as an opener, with three consecutive fifties to his name. Lungi Ngidi too wasn’t utilised properly by the CSK management. Sam Curran’s brilliant all-round show was the biggest plus for Chennai in IPL 2020. So, despite a disastrous year, there are positives to build on for next season.
#3. Players should not be picked on reputation alone
A lot of franchises keep repeating this mistake year after year and pay the price for the same. Some rather ‘bold’ signings turned out to be disastrous this year as well.
KXIP signed Big Show Glenn Maxwell for a whopping Rs 10.75 core. It proved to be a massive misjudgment as the Aussie big-hitter only managed a paltry 108 runs at a shocking strike rate of just over 100.
Come to think of it, Maxwell hasn't done anything of note in the tournament over the years apart from the 2014 edition. In that year's IPL, he shone brightly with 552 runs at a strike rate of 187.75.
KKR’s decision to purchase Aussie pacer Pat Cummins for a record sum of Rs 15.5 crore also backfired. The fast bowler, who has featured in only three seasons prior to this year's IPL, went through a wicket-less streak mid-way through the tournament. However, KKR were forced to play him game after game in the hope that he would silence their detractors.
RR’s decision to once again purchase Jaydev Unadkat, this time for Rs 3 crore, was baffling considering he underperformed in the previous two IPL editions. KXIP shelling out Rs 8.5 crore for Sheldon Cottrell, who is more style than substance was also unwarranted.Published 12 Nov 2020, 15:07 IST