The fifth edition of the multi-million dollar league has finally come to its end – and with a new winner (Yes, it’s not CSK again) – Kolkata Knight Riders; thanks mainly to Gambhir’s aggressive captaincy and the mystery spinner Narine and Bisla’s freakish antics on the D-day. One wouldn’t have heard this Bisla guy before the finals, but today he has become a hero- thanks to IPL.
Every year the IPL will also come under the scrutiny of the traditionalists who always clamor that T20 kills the game of cricket and it can never be real cricket. But time and again, the IPL has proved that it is here to stay.
What was the reason behind the success of IPL-5 ?
No true cricket fan would love to see a game that is completely dominated by the bat or the ball. Only when the contest becomes even, the match becomes interesting.
True, we would love to see the monstrous sixes from Gayle and the toe crushers from Malinga, but the game gets interesting only when we see a Steyn bowling Gayle or Dhoni helicoptering Malinga out of the ground.
And that is exactly what the IPL 5 has provided- an even contest between the bat and the ball.
When Dale Steyn proved scorching and almost unplayable, his team mate De Villiers carted him all over the park with his innovative scoop shots. Similarly, when Gayle intimidated with his towering sixes, Steyn disturbed his furniture without much fuss.
Whenever the batsmen dominated, the bowler came up with new tricks up his sleeve and vice-versa.
A classic example would the IPL final where much hype surrounded the mystery bowler Sunil Narine and how the CSK batsmen were going to negotiate him. But Raina used his feet cleverly and carted him all around and his final figures went wicket less.
And these close contests between the bat and ball have yielded a lot of last over finishes in the league.
It was refreshing to see Dravid show the world that it doesn’t require age or a slog fest to shine at the IPL. He showed that cricketers of his stature have no limitations and that they have the ability to adapt.
Another reason for the league’s success is its unpredictability. Cricket is a funny old game- and this year, it has been full of twists and turns. Pune Warriors had the strongest start before they faltered to the longest losing streak in IPL history. It will remain a mystery how RCB, power packed with the likes of Gayle and De Villiers failed to make it to the play offs. And CSK have proved time and again, that no one can write them off – with mediocre performances in the league stages and stepping up in the play offs and showing that they are champion material.
In the end, you also have to give it to the glamorous cheerleaders who dance in strange Bollywood moves irrespective whether they are winning or losing- cause that’s what they are paid for; and Sidhu’s proverbial antics and Danny Morrisons booming voice. They are all part of the glittering package.
Because, its not just cricket- its pure entertainment. Like it or not, the IPL is here to stay!