Well, it’s been one hell of a month and a half. Probably the best IPL of them all, we’d think. It had great matches, great individual performances, amazing turnarounds and heck, even some decent ads.
Sure, it had the same insufferable elements as other IPLs – which largely was Danny Morrison and HemaMalini becoming known to India’s youth as ‘that lady who sells water purifiers’.
Here’s a quick rewind – hits and misses if you will – of the 2014 IPL.
1. The incredible game: Every IPL has that one game that you will remember, even if you draw a blank for the rest of the tournament. The last league game between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals to decide who goes to the playoffs – was probably the greatest IPL game here, and I use superlative not without reason here! You know all about this game, so I don’t need to elaborate on it!
2. What a comeback!: KKR. They started off as a joke, really.Gambhir getting 3 consecutive ducks, an epic choke against Rajasthan including conceding a hattrick to PravinTambe in 2 legitimate balls (!)… Then they won 9 games in a row to lift the cup. Almost reminiscent of Australia in the 1999 WC, when they needed to win every game after a lackluster start. As much as a fan of him as I am, Jacques Kallis being put on the bench seemed to have energized the team and given them some more freedom!
3. No controversy: The IPL has always been a comfortable bedfellow with controversy. Think 2013 and you have Sreesanth and the whole match fixing row, for instance. Shah Rukh Khan’s finger pointing. Kochi Tusk… Never mind. This IPL was surprisingly controversy-free. The most controversial moment came when Keiron Pollard almost threw his bat at Mitchell Starc. But that lasted for less than a minute and fizzled out. Cartoonists / satirists around the country were firmly kept out of business, but Sunny G must have heaved a sigh of relief.
4. Worst nicknames: No surprise, Danny Morrison bestows the most cringeworthy of names: Be it Double G (GautamGambhir), Double Rs (Rajasthan Royals), Double Ds (sigh… Delhi Daredevils), and when he couldn’t alliterate, he resorted to ‘Eden G’. Someone shut this man up.
5. Worst piece of commentary:
We have a tie here. “Ball number one to ball number…. last” by Rameez Raja, and then right at the end (during the presentation ceremony), our man Ravi Shastri (who else) goes “Both teams played splendid cricket but NO team deserved to win.” Eeps.
6. Best ads: Ads have had the usual mix – annoying, good, memorable and the downright brilliant. And we’re going to have to give this to Idea for their ‘No UlluBanaoing’ campaign. The insight was fantastic, the acting delightful, and the ruddy tune will be stuck in our heads well into the FIFA World Cup. Great stuff by Lowe!
7. Two countries, two characters: This was an incredible contrast. You couldn’t tell the first half of the IPL (played in the UAE) from the second.KKR playing better, Glen Maxwell’s shocking drop in form (he really didn’t do much in India, but still managed to pick up the MVP award), Mumbai’s reversal in fortunes, the emergence of Robin Uthappa… It would have been quite interesting to see what would have happened had the IPL stayed in Arabia!
8. Great catching: An indelible image of this IPL is going to the incredible catching. The stunning plucks by Chris Lynn, Keiron Pollard and so many more – the standard was set very high, even if there were many dropped. Lynn’s catch here!
9. An innovation that needs to go: The umpire cam. Served no purpose, was creepy, and like we need to make the poor chaps feel any less demeaned, after being de facto coat hangers.
10. Best moment: The world’s best batsman, AB de Villiers flays the world’s best bowler, Dale Steyn for 24 in a crunch match, and Dale hugs and congratulates him post the game. Terrific to see.