Author: Manoj Chaturvedi
The thirteenth edition of the IPL, which started amidst all the apprehensions, has reached the playoff round waving success. Mumbai Indians have made it to the playoffs by staying on top of the champions, although they lost their shine by losing the last league match by ten wickets. Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore also made the playoff round as expected, but they have to eat some hiccups before reaching here. As far as Sunrisers Hyderabad, the fourth team to make it to the playoffs, they beat Kolkata Knight Riders in this race by winning the last three matches. Some role behind this surge of Sunrisers was also that Mumbai Indians took the last match lightly. Mumbai knew that the result of this match would not affect his top position. So he killed Bumrah and Trent Bolt, killing his pace attack. Apart from this, the absence of Hardik Pandya also made the work of Warner army a little easier.
In this edition of the IPL, even though the spectators could not enjoy the matches by going to the stadium, their enthusiasm to watch the matches on TV made this T20 league a success. One of the reasons for cricket fans’ interest was the intense competition between the teams. In the last 12 editions it has never happened that the position of the playoff teams was cleared by going to the last match of the league round. However, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, who had shone in the opening round, finally made it to the playoff round. Sunrisers Hyderabad cannot be placed in the category of these three teams. His position was very weak due to winning just four of the first 11 matches, but a bold change in the last round changed the face of the team. He decided to sit out his successful opener Bairstow to feed Wriddhiman Saha and Jason Holder in the team and win the last three matches to finish third.
Like the previous champions Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore had also strengthened their position by performing brilliantly from the beginning. Delhi won seven of the first nine and RCB won seven out of the first 10 and set hopes of cutting the next round of tickets. But both lost the next three matches. The situation became such that the decision of the two to travel further depended on the last match. In this, Delhi won and RCB made a place in the playoffs despite losing KKR in run rate.
If we look at the journey of Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, then it is clear that pace attack has played an important role in their victory campaign. Mumbai Indians is the only team in the IPL whose three pace bowlers are going to play international cricket. Whichever team has been in front, the trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult and James Pattinson have tested their batsmen fiercely. Bumrah is second with 23 wickets, while Bolt has taken 20 and Pattinson has taken 11 wickets. In this, the attack became very deadly due to the spinning of spinner Rahul Chahar.
Talking about the pace attack of Delhi Capitals, Kagiso Rabada is leading it. He is the highest bowler to take 25 wickets in the league stage. The fastest bowler of the season to support him is Enrique Norkhia. The fastest four balls of this season have come from his own hand. He has put the fastest ball at a speed of 156 kmph. Apart from this, this team has spinners like Ravichandran Ashwin and Akshar Patel. The only deficiency of the Delhi team is that its middle order has faltered. The reason for this is that Rishabh Pant is not seen in full color in this season. The batsman whom we knew to juggle as soon as he arrived, he seems to have chuckled in the beginning. Perhaps that is why he is not included in the ODI and T20 teams going on tour to Australia. It may be that the pressure of not getting into these teams is affecting their performance. But the way Ajinkya Rahane played against RCB in the last important league match, it seems that the team is now balanced and it can also become a challenge for Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier. Mumbai’s batting lives were Quinton de Kock and Ishan Kishan. The presence of captain Rohit Sharma makes the team more powerful.
Talking about Royal Challengers Bangalore, there is no doubt that Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have such a pair that can beat any attack. Apart from this, he has a great opener as Padikkal. Although he has Chris Morris and Navdeep Saini as the pace bowlers, his attack has been known for both spinners Yajuvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar. Warner-led Sunrisers Hyderabad’s batting is strong. As far as bowling attack is concerned, its life is Sandeep Sharma. Although he is an ordinary bowler, he is going to achieve success like Bumrah by shaking the ball. Both Sharma and Bumrah have played 90 IPL matches so far and have taken 108 and 105 wickets respectively. One of Sandeep’s great strengths is that out of his 108 wickets, 62 wickets belong to openers and number three batsmen. Overall, all four teams reached the playoffs are in perfect balance. This is sure to make the matches exciting.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own