Television ratings may not have done full justice to what the Indian Premier League has been used to. The fourth edition though has not been short of thrilling highs and sensational lows. A look at what this year has thrown up, apart from the entry of new teams and the exit of the old war-horse: Lalit Modi. (AFP and AP images)
He catapulted himself to the middle from nowhere and took the tournament by storm. Unforgiving with the bat and deadly with the ball, Punjab's Paul Valthaty proved his valiant skills on the field even if his form took a slight dip yet again towards the end of his team's campaign.
Valthaty was not the only young-gun firing in IPL this year. Pune's Rahul Sharma enjoyed considerable success, unlike his team, and scalped wickets to take many a headline. 16 wickets in 14 matches was good enough for this Punjab spinner.
Iqbal Abdullah has easily been one of the big finds for Kolkata Knight Riders as the spinner finished his IPL 4 campaign with 16 wickets, including some big names. Striking at crucial junctures, his contribution to his team making it to the play-off's was critical.
One of the most feared batsmen in the world, Virender Sehwag had a few massive innings to his credit but the Delhi Daredevils skipper could not uplift his team from the bottom spot on the table. A shoulder injury did not help matters as well.
This Aussie with his missy in tow, was easily the most in the news. Whether it was his lip-lock with girl-friends Liz Hurley or his lip-lash against Rajasthan Cricket Association's Sanjay Dixit, Shane Warne ensured his retirement from cricket had enough fire-works to keep the grapevines buzzing for some time.
Speaking of lip-locks, Siddhartha Mallya and Deepika Padukone could hardly be seen without one another this season. Their 'love' seemed caged under the cricketing skies even as Bangalore emerged as one of the most powerful force in the tournament.
And Chris Gayle was the real power behind the force. His arrogant hitting could only be termed as an unforgiving whiplash as the opposition scampered for cover almost every time he grasped his three-grip bat. His jig on the field was like a death-dance as well. This after he was dropped from the auctions.
Another player whose entry eventually set tongues wagging was the Prince himself. Though by the time Sourav Ganguly joined the Pune Warriors, the team was down and out, it was a much awaited participation nonetheless although big innings continued to elude him.
He was one of the big buys for the Delhi Daredevils but much like the team itself, Irfan Pathan's sole claim to fame this season was his inability on the field, both with the bat as well as with the ball. 150 runs from 12 innings and 11 wickets undermined this Pathan's strong reputation.
Perhaps Irfan could have taken a few pointers from Lasith Malinga. The Sri Lankan announced his retirement from Test matches and came in to york batsmen at will and race away to the purple cap. His bowling was deadly, was accurate and clearly result-oriented.
If the Mumbai Indians has Malinga with the ball, the team had Ambatti Rayudu wreck havoc with the bat. His list of half centuries were only diminished by the brute force with which he took on the bowlers to script memorable wins, time and again.
Keeping consistency aside for a bit, Ishant Sharma's 5 wicket spell for the Deccan Chargers was heroic. The Kochi Tuskers had no answer to this man on that day as the Delhi lad led from the front and destroyed the opposition to give his team some cheer en route to its eventual exit from the event.
|1||royal challengers bangalore||14||9||4||19|
|2||chennai super kings||14||9||5||18|
|4||kolkata knight riders||14||8||6||16|
|5||kings xi punjab||14||7||7||14|
|8||kochi tuskers kerala||14||6||8||12|
|9||pune warriors india||14||4||9||9|
May 28 2011,20:00 (IST)
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May 22 2011,20:00 (IST)