As the penultimate weekend of league stage of Pepsi IPL came to end, the ninth edition of this Summer Blockbuster touched the paramount height of excitement. With the fact that only one week is left before the playoffs and not a single team out of eight is qualified for it, one can measure the unpredictability of this genre of cricket.
As the fifth week of this star-studded league wrapped up, we saw new heroes rising, and old forts rumbled down in the pile of dust. Let’s talk about the two names, who became ‘Somebody’ from a ‘Nobody’.
- Deepak Hooda – This Rajasthan Royals power hitter celebrated its 20th Birthday by being a reliable tail-ender for its team. RR is known for its habit of giving young (or young at heart i.e. Pravin Tambe) players a chance and let them perform at this huge platform, whether it is Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane or Kamran Khan. And this year, it was Deepak Hooda, who played a couple of accelerating innings in the absence of their regular hitters of like captain Shane Watson.
- Sarfaraz Khan – This Mumbai based 17-year-old lad was in news since he was 13, by breaking the record made by the God of Cricket himself. Since then, he faced many ups and downs in his life but was finally able to make a spectacular debut in IPL, leading its team RCB to victory against RR.
This edition was in contrast from its predecessors in accordance to team performances in many terms. Powerhouses like RCB, MI and KKR, didn’t had a good start of the tournament and were once at the base of the points table. Whereas team like RR, which is always considered as underdogs (though was the champion of the first season) was at the top position on team standing for most of the time. Delhi Daredevils continued to disappoint again this season as many world class player like Angel Mathews, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy and Yuvraj Singh failed to deliver their best performance to mark a significant victory for their team. As per the standings (till 11 May 2015 midnight) the team is on 7th position and has very minor chance to qualify for the playoffs. Whereas KXIP lost all the chances to make through the playoffs, as it is on last position with only two victories in hand.
CSK, the Gargantuan Squad of IPL, are at the apex of the standings, eliminating RR from the top spot. The team, comprising the talents of Brendon McCullum, Ashish Nehra, Dwyane Bravo, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, is the most beloved team of the league and is number one contender of the title once again, though it faces a tough competition from KKR, RCB, MI and RR.
Other than team standings the other stats of the league that are trivial are
- Orange Cap – This accolade is given to the player scoring maximum runs and is currently on RR’s opener, Ajinkya Rahane’s head. With the likes of Chris Gayle, David Warner, AB Divilliars, and Glenn Maxwell playing in the league, the reason behind Rahane’s success is his consistent and accurate performance and turning every possible opportunity into another achievement.
- Purple Cap – Caribbean all-rounder Dwyane Bravo received this cap from its fellow team member Ashish Nehra by passing him on the count of maximum wickets taken on the tournament.
- Fair Play Award – CSK, under the leadership of MSD, is the leading team of the Fair play list while MI being the tail ender of the list.
While many players stood up on their expectations, names like Yuvraj Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Sunil Naraine, Kieron Pollard, Shane Watson and Lasith Malinga failed to deliver their original charm this season. With only two weeks left this season, every cricket fan has only one prayer, that this season, it will be their favorites who lift the trophy and stand behind the CHAMPIONS placard at the finals.