IPL season ends: More Fun, More Games

IPL 2024 scored over its previous edition, just as every season it tends to outdo the last. There no losers in this game, only winners. 2024 was no exception.

So, IPL 2024 came to its successful end. Yet another cricket festival, a bonanza for every player making a killing of a lifetime in terms of individual earnings. A rare feat where an Indian sport delivers so much money, steadily increasing over the years and making sure that there are no losers. Most of all, it is the viewer, the attendance at all the stadiums, each one getting their money’s worth, each one enjoying to the hilt, yet another good 60 days carnival. I have always pointed out that behind all the festive spirit, behind all the cheerleaders, there is that seriousness of intent with players competing against each other, vying for the international team, keeping up their commitment, for whatever works best for them, to each his own. It is a serious business at the beginning and at the end of the day.

IPL 24? What was different? More engaging. More engaging, even more competitive, even more adventurous or aggressive. So, it’s the batters who called the day, though in between there were stunning performances by the bowlers; but I would imagine, that if the struggle is between bat and ball, it is the batter who got the upper end. The first six overs produced more runs than ever before. 200+ scores did not surprise anymore. 220 runs became the new 180!

The winners? Was KKR worthy of the title, was it the best team? Yes, and not necessarily, so. I think the top four were equally good. Each one had its own day. If you were putting your act together, you could make it. Whichever team could put its act together for the day, won the day. But then to the credit of KKR, it must be said they were perhaps the most consistent team, with an ‘even’ participation and contribution from the entire team, not just a few making it work for them.

So even in the final game, it could have been SRH who might have won, but the striking opening pair of SRH, Abhishek, the new find of ‘24, and Travis Head, failed yet again for the second or third time after all their sterling performances earlier in the tournament. And that, I think entirely made the difference for SRH or for KKR. SRH must be credited to changing the rule book, the story of 2024, with their aggressive outlook, much like the ‘bazball’ idea of the English team, changing the way ODI was played – with 400 becoming the new goal.

Meanwhile, it could be said that Abhishek Sharma was easily the find of the season, just perhaps like Jaiswal was last year. In no match did he play more than 30 balls, and yet he is among the run makers of this season, an amazing feat, no doubt.

There was fun to watch Dhoni still among the runs, but perhaps it is time for him to wind up. If he was guiding his under study on the field this time, he could do that off the field next year, just as well.

Another feature that stands out is the prominence of the international players, though the statistics may not show this as much. They outplayed others often, with the likes of Sunil Narine, Klassen, Russell and Cummins – they did dominate at the time when they were needed the most.

What about some of the losing teams? The two notable absentees in the top four Mumbai Indians and the Gujarat Titans, both had their problems. And I think somewhere, if you look at Mumbai Indians the new captain Hardik Pandeya appeared to have made a sudden entry, more like a parachute landing, he couldn’t, or he wasn’t carrying his team with him or he couldn’t carry his team with him. He stood apart from the rest of the team, and that itself brought them down in terms of quality of play or capability of play. On paper, they were not any lesser of the other teams but never made the mark in this entire tournament. Gujarat Titans again, with the elevation of Shubham Gill, suddenly overnight as the captain, post the exit of Hardik Pandya became a pale shadow of the expectations we had from them; perhaps the honors had come to him too early. He did his job well. But was he the best man for the job?

So, all in all, an eventful IPL 2024, as also the big preparation for the World Cup, already under way? Yes and no, because within IPL, you have a good 150 players slogging it over their respective matches and only 20-odd have made it to the World Cup. So, there were many more aspirants, many more cricketers who could have made the presence at the World Cup, but then that’s not really possible. But an engaging IPL 2024, nevertheless!

IPL will remain the premier Indian sport/tournament for sometime to come. It is cricket in the Indian DNA, no forgetting this fact. And, this is not changing anytime soon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *