Indian T20 Premier League
The biggest domestic T20 cricket tournament is back, and how! Cricket lovers all over the world wait for the Indian premier league with bated breath every year. The tournament hosts some of the best players in the world. They compete fiercely with each other in order to become the darling of franchises and garner love from 1.3 billion Indians and people from other cricket playing nations. The tournament's glitz and glamour manage to enchant the audiences every year. The marriage of Bollywood and cricket produces scintillating and exhilarating moments that leave people wanting more every time. IPL 2021 will carry this legacy forward, hopefully bringing joy in the lives of the millions that follow the sport.
The franchise cricket league, modelled after popular leagues like the English Premier League and NBA, has managed to successfully mould cricket from longer, traditional formats into something of a celebration. It is very evident from the fact that various franchises like the Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders boast of a loyal fan base that religiously follows everything happening in the team. The franchises have gone through many changes since the tournament’s inception in 2008, but their fan base has largely remained the same and, if anything, has only grown with time. IPL matches would not be exciting if not for the players, who are always motivated by the franchises. They are exceptionally well taken care of, which drives them to give their best on-field.
Indian T20 Premier League Seasons
Let us look at some of the tournament highlights so far, starting from the first season in 2008. These are moments that have shaped the IPL into the massive league it is today.
IPL 1: 2008
- It all started with Brendon McCullum's monster 158 not out in the very first match of the tournament in 2008. This innings set the tone really for the IPL and displayed the quality of entertainment it was capable of producing. McCullum lit the stadium on fire, smashing every bowler on the way to taking his team Kolkata Knight Riders to a formidable score of 222 in 20 overs. The knock set a very high precedent for other batsmen to follow, raising the bar for IPL fixtures to follow.
- Rajasthan Royals chased down a massive target in the final over to record an unlikely win over the Deccan Chargers. Set 215 to win, the Rajasthan Royals weren't even expected to come close, let alone win the match. Still, the unlikely duo of Yusuf Pathan and Graeme Smith stitched together a 98-run partnership for the second wicket to propel their team towards the target. Captain Shane Warne finished things off in the last over bowled by Deccan Chargers’ top scorer in the match Andrew Symonds, hitting him for two sixes and a four and took his team across the finishing line with a bowl to spare. This game was a classic example of a young, underdog team overcoming all odds under an experienced captain's able leadership and became a source of inspiration for every team looking for a glimmer of hope under challenging circumstances.
IPL 2: 2009
- Arguably the most significant moment of the IPL in 2009 was the title win by last year's bottom-ranked team, Deccan Chargers. Down and out in the 1st edition, they had managed to win just two games out of 14, and nobody gave them a chance in this edition as well. But they turned it around and how. Under the captaincy of Adam Gilchrist, the new-look team won 10 of their scheduled 14 matches and beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the final by six runs to clinch the trophy. Coach Darren Lehmann was also highly credited for his efforts in turning the team around.
- Former India captain and probably the best Indian leg spinner to have played the game, Anil Kumble weaved magic for RCB by making the Rajasthan Royals’ batting look amateur. He claimed 5 wickets for 5 runs in 3.1 overs, virtually unheard-of figures in T20 cricket at that time. The Royals were sent packing for a low score of 58 runs chasing 133 put up by the RCB, thanks to the veteran spinner's heroics.
IPL 3: 2010
- It was Matthew Hayden who introduced the world to the Mongoose bat in this edition of the IPL against the Delhi Daredevils at Ferozshah Kotla stadium in Delhi. People had only heard rumors of this bat until now when Matthew Hayden decided to give the world a glimpse of the destruction it was capable of. The Mongoose bat is a short and thick bat with an unusually long handle, its entire surface a sweet spot, and is able to dispatch the ball to long distances using lesser power than regular bats. Matthew Hayden smashed the Delhi bowlers with it, powering his way to 93 off 42 balls, hitting nine fours and seven sixes in the process.
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni showed his class in a scintillating knock of 54 not out, taking his team Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to victory in style. Dhoni smashed Irfan Pathan out of the ground for a humongous six, en-route his half-century. The Kings XI Punjab, who had scored 192 in their stipulated 20 overs after batting first at the picturesque Dharamshala, buckled under the pressure of the brute power at display and crashed out of the tournament. At the same time, the CSK advanced to the semis.
IPL 4: 2011
- The swashbuckling Chris Gayle took Kochi Tusker bowler P Parameswaran apart when he hit him for 37 runs in his first over. The Royal Challenger Bangalore batsman hit him for four sixes, including one off a no-ball, along with three boundaries. For the record, 36 runs are the most that can be scored in 6 legal deliveries, and anything more is a sporadic occurrence in cricket. Gayle reiterated his' most feared batsmen' reputation once again and stamped his authority over the IPL.
- The greatest record-maker in cricket, Sachin Tendulkar, scored his first T20 century ever off 66 balls against the Kochi Tuskers days before his birthday to power the Mumbai Indians to a formidable score of 182 runs. The maverick batsman, who has the most centuries in the other two formats of the game, finally opened his centuries account in T20 cricket by smashing the Kochi Tuskers’ bowlers to all parts of the ground and showing the world that a master is a master, whatever the format of the game. His team, though, lost the match by eight wickets eventually.
IPL 5: 2012
- AB De Villiers launched one of the most brutal attacks of the IPL on fellow South African and fast bowling great Dale Steyn at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bangalore. Deccan Chargers were sent in to bat by the RCB after winning the toss, and they managed to post a decent score of 181 for the loss of 5 wickets in their quota of 20 overs. De Villiers came to the crease after RCB lost captain Virat Kohli and Asad Pathan in quick succession, and the Chargers were threatening to cut their chase short. De Villiers quickly got into the groove but reserved his best for Steyn in the 18th over when he hit balls bowled at over 140 kph all over the ground with ease. The great Dale Steyn could do nothing but admire him for the thrashing he was receiving, as De Villiers guided his team to victory in the 19th over.
- Once again, Chris Gayle came to the party this season as he smashed the young Rahul Sharma for five sixes in an over. Gayle started slow, but he couldn't hold back for long and decided to take on Sharma. The batsman, who is known for standing in his crease and launching balls like missiles all over the park, decided to do precisely that, and the unfortunate bowler watched balls sail over the boundary. Chris Gayle went on to score 81 in the match against Pune Warriors and took his team to victory with ease.
IPL 6: 2013
- Amit Mishra took his third hat-trick of the IPL against Pune Warriors at the Subrata Sahara Stadium in Pune. He became the only bowler in the history of the IPL to take three hat-tricks and that too, representing three different teams in three different seasons. Mishra took his hat-trick in the 19th over of the Pune innings when the leg spinner dismissed Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Rahul Sharma, and Ashok Dinda off the fourth, fifth, and sixth ball of the over, respectively. He bagged 4 wickets in the over as he had earlier dismissed Pune captain Angelo Mathews off the 2nd ball of the over.
- Chris Gayle scored the fastest century of the IPL against Pune Warriors when he completed his hundred off just 30 deliveries. Making a mockery of the Pune bowling, Chris Gayle, who was in sublime touch on the day, took every bowler to the cleaners while hardly moving from the crease. Chris Gayle eventually remained unbeaten on 175 off 66 balls, the highest individual score to date in IPL history. RCB went on to score a massive 263/5 in their 20 overs, which also remains the highest team total in IPL till this day. Gayle also scored 17 sixes in the innings, an IPL record.
IPL 7: 2014
- Arguably the most feared Indian opener, Virender Sehwag scored his second IPL century playing for the Kings XI Punjab against the consistent Chennai Super Kings when he scored 122 off 58 balls at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, guiding his team to an impressive 226 in their 20 overs. The innings was special because he was left out of the Indian team squad for upcoming international fixtures, and it was widely believed that he was past his prime. It was unlikely that he would be selected for India anytime soon. Sehwag gave his critics a fitting reply, and Kings XI Punjab ultimately beat CSK and topped the IPL points table in the process.
- Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders played one of the most nail-biting matches of the IPL as their scores ended in a tie even after the Super Over. Rajasthan Royals batting first ended their innings at 152/5, thanks to the efforts of Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 72 off 59 balls. Kolkata Knight Riders also managed to score 152/8 with contributions from Gautam Gambhir and Suryakumar Yadav. Knight Riders batting first in the Super Over then made 11 runs for the loss of 2 wickets, and in reply, Rajasthan too ended up making 11 runs without losing a wicket. The match was eventually settled on the basis of most boundaries hit and was handed over to the Royals.
IPL 8: 2015
- Mumbai Indians (MI) were having a particularly dismal outing in the initial part of the 8th edition of the IPL. They lost five matches out of the six played, were struggling in all departments of the game, and were desperate to turn things around. Cut to a month later, MI players were holding the IPL trophy in their hands after handling CSK a 41-run defeat in the final at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
- T20 tournaments are famous for their electric gameplay that are generally high in energy and involve a lot of banter between opposition players. The IPL match schedule can also be grueling and can often take a toll on the players, which can make players more worked up than usual. One such bizarre moment happened in the match between the Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy stadium when Kieron Pollard was constantly sledging Chris Gayle to put him off his game was reprimanded by the umpires and told to tone it down. To everybody's surprise, Pollard turned up in the next over with tape on his mouth! Everybody around him was left dumbfounded, but they had a good laugh over it.
IPL 9: 2016
- The IPL has some pretty hard-hitting batsman who hit the ball with immense power. Therefore, the umpires are very vulnerable because they stand just 22 yards away from the batsman and, most importantly, do not have any protective gear on. But when Bruce Oxenford came out wearing an arm guard shield on his left hand in the match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions, it left people in splits. The fact that Chris Gayle plays for RCB might have prompted Oxenford's move as he is one of the hardest-hitting batsmen in the game.
- After CSK was suspended from the IPL for two years, MS Dhoni was picked to play for the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS). For the first time in the IPL, Dhoni was playing for a different team than CSK, but he did not disappoint his fans. He scored an attacking 64 not out off 32 balls at a strike rate of 200 and helped his team roll over the Kings XI Punjab, thus avoiding the humiliation of being at the bottom of the table.
IPL 10: 2017
- Mumbai Indians became the first team ever in the history of the IPL to lift the trophy three times when they beat Rising Pune Supergiants by one run at Hyderabad. In a nail-biting final, Mitchell Johnson took MI home in the last over of the match when he took two wickets, including one of the set Steve Smith who had already scored a half-century and was threatening to take RPS home. A run out on the last ball while converting a two into three sealed the deal for MI.
- April 14th 2017, turned out to be a day to remember for the bowlers as two hat-tricks were taken in two consecutive games for the first time in IPL history. Samuel Badree, who wasn't even a regular in the IPL team list of his previous two franchises and was playing his first game for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, ran through the Mumbai Indians batting order. In the next match on the same day, Australian fast bowler Andrew Tye destroyed Gujarat Lions’ batting line-up by picking five wickets and became the first person in the history of IPL to take a hat-trick on debut.
IPL 11: 2018
- The Vivo Indian Premier League 2018 edition was going great guns and entertaining audiences all over. But fireworks were reserved for the fag end of the tournament when Rashid Khan, the wily leg spinner from Afghanistan who is famous for foxing the best of batsmen, came out to bat at no.8 and scored a quickfire 34 off 10 balls to help his team post a defendable 174. In the end, Rashid's innings turned out to be the difference between winning and losing as KKR lost the match by 14 runs. Nobody expected a spinner to play a match-winning innings with the bat, but he did exactly that, stunning everybody.
- KKR's Andre Russel played the innings of the tournament against CSK, scoring 88 not out to take his team out of troubled waters. He came out to bat when Kolkata was tottering at 89/5 off 10 overs. Like a lot of IPL match results in the past, when they were in a similar situation, things weren't looking up for them. But out came Russel and powered his team with an improbable 202 through some unbelievable hitting. It proved to be too little in the end, but it gave KKR a fighting chance nonetheless.
IPL 12: 2019
- The Mumbai Indians picked up the young, lean Alzarri Joseph, but not many people expected him to break records or bowl spectacular spells. The West-Indian did precisely that against Sunrisers Hyderabad when he picked 6 wickets for 14 runs and destroyed their chase of 137. Alzarri broke the record for the best bowling figures in the IPL as SRH was packed up for a paltry 96. Alzzari became an unlikely hero after this match.
- Another bowler known to terrorize batsmen, Kagiso Rabada, produced one of the best T20 spells when he defended 10 runs in a super over against Kolkata Knight Riders. His achievement is even more special because he did it when the Big-hitter Andre Russel was at the crease. He gave away just seven runs and took Russel's wicket. This is the lowest score ever defended in an IPL super over.
IPL 13: 2020
- Rahul Tewatia became the talk of the town when he smashed 30 runs off a Sheldon Cottrell over in the RR vs KXIP game. Tewatia started off terribly slow and RR’s choice of choosing him in the XI was being questioned but he came out with flying colors and scored a surprising 53 off just 35 balls. This knock turned the game on its head and Rajasthan successfully chased down a score of 220+ with ease.
- The unending game between Mumbai & Punjab happened when there were back to back 2 super overs for the very first time in the history of the IPL. Both MI & KXIP scored the same number of runs and the game headed to a super over. Bumrah gave away just 5 in the super over while Shami for Punjab also gave away just 5. This resulted in another super over where Chris Jordan gave away 11 runs and Trent Boult in return, got smashed by the universe boss Chris Gayle and Mayank Agarwal helping Punjab win one of the most nail biting games in the history of the IPL.
What to Expect from IPL 2021
With such a rich legacy behind it, the players have their work cut out for them in the 2021 edition. The cocktail of players from around the world, though, with different temperaments and motivations when they push themselves to be at their best, entertainment is almost a given. The biggest plus for IPL fans and franchises this year is the availability of nearly all foreign players throughout the tournament. According to their national schedules, previous editions were complicated for the franchises and challenging for the fans due to the constant influx and outflow of their favourite international players. But this time, with not much international cricket being played, almost every player has an open window for the IPL and can focus single-mindedly on giving their best without getting distracted. With the tournament heading back to India this year and planned to be played mostly in empty stadiums, cricket lovers will surely miss watching IPL live matches sitting a few feet away from their favorite cricketers.
The IPL 2021 schedule is live and kicking as the BCCI has organized just one match a day on most days, with two matches in a single day every weekend as in the previous editions. One of the players everybody will be looking forward to seeing this year will be former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after he announced retirement from international cricket on August 15th, India's Independence Day. CSK announced that Dhoni would be playing for them at least until 2022. The CSK army will be eager to see him play as they last saw him in action in the 2020 IPL.