"In Cricket the unexpected can happen any time!"
"Cricket is a great leveller!"
This year's IPL proved these oft-quoted assertions right. How else would you explain this year's finalists, the two teams that ended the last season at the bottom of the table. And well, the last placed of the two, went on to win the second season yesterday.
The Deccan Chargers had a great start this season though they went a little off-track as the tournament progressed. But those early 4/4 wins always kept them within the sight of a semi-finals spot.
On the other hand, Royal Challengers Bangalore after winning a dream opening game against the defending champions, lost the plot under the newly appointed 'too-expensive' firangi captain. It took the brilliance of our very own, veteran spin-guru to bring the team back into the spotlight, winning 7 of the 9 matches they played under his able leadership up to the finals.
Yesterday, I was rooting for RCB but the day belonged to the DC's. It has been a pleasure to watch the great contributions made by Rudra Pratap Singh, Rohit Sharma and Pragyan Ojha in it's victories this season.
My favourite team Kings XI Punjab got eliminated just before the semi finals. Well, my loyalty towards them come from my roots. Being a Punjabi residing in Chandigarh, my automatic choice is KXIP. One thing about IPL thats really interesting is that you have so many criteria to choose your favourite team. However attaching your loyalties can become a bit difficult when conflicting priorities come up.
Say, for example, Mr. X is a Punjabi who has stayed in Delhi most of his life. Presently, he is working for Reliance in Hyderabad. He is a die hard fan of Shahrukh Khan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Well, lets add some more difficulties for him. He has always fantasized about Shilpa Shetty all his life(OK, I know this one is not convincing enough). Let's swap her with Katrina Kaif(Yeah, now that's a big possibilty;) or maybe he is very fond of Bengaluru because that's the city where he successfully courted his lovely wife. Now which team should this poor guy root for?Let him make his decision after carrying out a detailed TOWS analysis or just follow his heart. As for me I'll be analysing some HITS and some FLOPS of IPL-2.
- South Africans- These people are great cricket enthusiasts who were always there to cheer the teams. The Indian players and franchises must have felt home away from home. This coupled with the state of the art cricketing infrastructure of the country made IPL a great experience.
- Lalit Modi- The man who was named one of the most powerful sporting personality recently, proved his mettle again. Snubbed by the Government, he took no time in shifting the venue and executing the plot to perfection.
- Zoozoo- Now this one is not from the cricketing arena but definitely one of the most interesting aspect of watching IPL on our TV sets(and not on the ground as the matches were being played far away across the Indian Ocean). Vodafone came up with another magnificent ad campaign and we all went zoozoo over it!
- Matthew Hayden- The only question everyone was asking on seeing him thrashing the bowlers around the field was- "Why the hell he got retired?" The Orange Cap winner, scored 572 of just 395 balls at an average of 52, this season.
- Fake IPL Player- This blogger had everyone on their toes. With an ever increasing fan following, he kept churning out posts which though loosing their zing with time, were funny and interesting. His final RIP video post kept the mystery behind his true identity alive. (Just realized, that wasn't FIP's final post. I'll read the new ones after posting mine.)
- Cricket veterans- T20 is the game for youngsters, they said. However, Kumble, Hayden, Jayasuriya, Sachin, Gilchrist, Warne, Dravid and Ganguly proved them wrong. The two teams playing the finals were led by two of these veterans.
- Delhi Daredevils- This Friday playing the semi-finals, it wasn't their day. Otherwise, this team played like winners throughout the tournament. The Sehwag-Gambhir duo failed to make a mark but others didn't let this hinder their progress. (I hope this duo get their act right before the T20 World Cup)
- Indian Young Brigade- Suresh Raina who could have easily lost in oblivion thanks to his lack lustre performances in international games came back into limelight with his brilliant performance with the bat as well as the ball. While players like Rohit Sharma, R.P. Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Parthiv Patel and Pathan brothers kept impressing, the youngsters like Shadab Jakati, Abhishek Nayar and Manish Pandey will make the lives of the selectors miserable in the coming days.
- Strategy Breaks- These 7 1/2 minutes break were an unwanted guest this IPL season. They took away a lot from the game. Though beneficial for the bowling side at times as it acted as a distraction for the rampaging batsmen, it made the game longer by quarter of an hour, hence going against the very concept of this new cricket avatar of T20.
- Kolkatta Knightriders- All their games were played off the field. They generated the maximum hype and were always there on the news channels and advertisements. I hope SRK had applied his sponsor's slogan of "Sprite bujhaye only pyaas, baki sab all bakwaas" to his team management too. Had he kept things simple and not venture out on stupid 4-captain formulas et al, things could have been different for them.
- Players' Jerseys- Marketing at its best, I should say. This year the franchises tried to make the maximum out of sponsorships. In return, these sponsors had to be obliged. So no spot was left on the players' jerseys as they became walking hoardings for all kind of products and services from Hajmola to Airlines. Even their helmets were not spared as the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Mahela Jayawardane carried the stickers(and not embossed logos) of Dabur on them.
- Rains- The untimely rains in the initial stages played a spoilsport. KXIP lost their first two encounters in rain-affected matches on account of Duckworth-Lewis formula. Another two matches had to be abandoned. However as the tournament progressed thankfully, the weather got stable.
Right now that's all coming to my mind as far as HITS and FLOPS go. Overall, this IPL was a big HIT and now I am looking forward to the ICC T20 World Cup and the T20 Champions League coming up later this year. Hey, I just remember there's another T20 tournament played in India. What was its name..................................... yeah, ICL. The harbinger of T20 championships in India is no where to be seen now. May its soul rest in peace;)
Teams' Logos- http://www.iplt20.com (original)
Tournament's Logo- http://hubpages.com (edited)