IPL 2022 - A league that never ceases to amaze
IPL, the most decorated festival for cricket lovers around the world returned with its fifteenth season with a new sponsorship from the Indian giant TATA and two new franchises from Gujarat and Lucknow. The tournament also had a new kind of league stage as the teams were divided in two groups of five teams based on their performance in the previous seasons.
Matches with every team in the group and the team corresponding to their position from the other group and a singular match with the rest of teams ensured fourteen matches for each of the teams at the end of the season league stage.
To avoid any hindrance from the covid situation around the country, all the league matches were played at three stadiums in Mumbai and Pune.
Kevin Pietersen's take on the league
In the words of the former English star batsman, Kevin Pietersen, the fresh mindset and fearlessness of the new franchises have helped them a lot in their success as they have been the first two teams to qualify for the playoffs. They have been very consistent and the team-to-beat throughout the tournament. Lucknow openers KL Rahul and Quinton de Cock had a record 200+ runs opening partnership. They were not out the whole innings which led to their eventual victory boasting them as hot favorites for lifting the cup. The race for the fourth spot had a real twist after RCB's victory in their last match. The former batter also hopes that Rajasthan Royals makes it through in the loving memory of Shane Warne whose demise would have provided motivation in the camp to win it for the legend.
A very promising league stage
The table toppers were a big surprise as Gujarat clinched the top spot with twenty points and were the first team to qualify for the playoffs. However, this achievement was no luck but sheer performance from the new franchise who outplayed their opposition in every department.
Their consistency was surreal and amassed huge appreciation from around the world. They had enough nail-biting thrillers which pushed every spectator to the edge of their seats in awe of the game. Their strong will and never-give-up attitude often resulted in them ending up on the winning side and grabbing those points away.
Rajasthan ended up with the second position on the table. What a tournament they had. Jos Buttler was exceptional throughout the tournament and scored the most runs during the league stage along with three centuries and hence rests easily with the orange cap.
The team at the third position is a newbie too, the Lucknow Super Giants and they deserved a qualification as much as any other team. They were at the top two positions for most of the tournament. It was only during the latter stages of the tournament that Rajasthan surpassed them to attain the second spot. The final spot for the playoffs was grasped by one of the most popular teams in the league, the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The team was under a new skipper this year, Faf du Plessis ,and he delivered by leading his team to the playoffs.
Delhi Capitals also had a great season but a defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians in their last league match ended their hopes for qualification and in-turn helped RCB to qualify. Punjab had a promising season and ended the league with a lot of positives but still were away from qualifications.
Kolkata and Hyderabad had a campaign filled with ups and downs as both the teams concluded with 12 points. The two most successful franchises of the most successful cricket league in the world, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings ,sharing 9 trophies between them surely had a season to forget as they could only manage four wins out of their fourteen fixtures.
The stage for playoffs is set
Well, the playoffs still await with a lot of excitement among the fans and new venues as the playoffs are to be played at Kolkata and Ahmedabad. The Narendra Modi Stadium at Ahmedabad will be the host to the IPL final and there couldn't be a better alternative anyway .The largest cricket stadium in the world hosting the final for the most anticipated T20 league seems more than apt.