After weeks and months of anticipation - IPL was finally and finally on, where we could see all our hopes lived up to its expectations or wait for reality to slap it on our face. Several expectations later, the reality is contrasting and this IPL is the biggest example of that, so see it yourself!
2020 IPL - check
Mumbai Indians table-toppers - check
Rajasthan Royals finishing last - check
Chennai Super Kings qualification - oops!
In short, that’s how the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League has been, a season of surprise for the fans, who all except a few were ready to face the Chennai storm in the playoffs. Just as Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh opted out at the last minute, the franchise too decided to jump on the same spaceship, as they crashed to their worst-ever season in the tournament.
Just as that, there were other surprises too, with the tournament showing that any day, any time a Rahul Tewatia may appear in the wild and slash you to a loss. As unexpected as Tewatia was also Andre Russell, who all, by all I mean excluding the KKR fans too expected to lit the tournament up but as it turned out, he was just another all-rounder.
Out of syllabus IPL and equally out of syllabus events -
Expectation - Andre Russell to be the tournament MVP
Well, a promotion to the top-order, at his beloved #4 and the result, a paltry 117 runs at an average of 13 and a strike-rate of 144, I’m sure KKR didn’t get him for that cheap a sum.
Reality- Ishan Kishan with 26 sixes
The real MVP lied elsewhere in the Mumbai outfit, where after picking Saurabh Tiwary over Ishan Kishan, Mumbai used their brains and finally unearthed a Kishan 2.0, who cleared the boundary 26 times. Hold his kit, Russell!
Expectation- Imran Tahir to retain his purple cap
After watching the CPL action, you surely must have thought the same thing - a 41-year-old Imran Tahir was clearly the best spinner in the competition. He should have lit up the IPL as well right?
Reality- A benched Imran Tahir
That’s unfortunately where reality kicks in, CSK felt that he wasn’t the best use of a foreign pick and instead trusted Watson to come good. In the end, neither did Watson come good nor did Tahir get enough opportunities to overturn CSK’s season.
Expectation - Ravindra Jadeja to be top wicket-taker
Slow and invariable bounce, or what we call as Ravindra Jadeja’s breakfast bread. However, the left-arm spinner hates the bread and that was seen evidently in his performance in the Middle East, with just six wickets.
Reality - Ravindra Jadeja CSK's top finisher
While the bread was stale, Jadeja instead took a liking to the cereal or what you call as the finisher role, where he excelled. For CSK, the left-handed batsman scored 232 runs, his best run-tally since 2011 for CSK at a strike-rate of 171.85, his best!
Expectation : Siraj = punching bag ; Saini = Key
Oh, things are getting complicated here, just as the play-off scenarios but don’t worry, I got it for you. Siraj was expected to be the ‘trolled’ version of himself while Navdeep Saini was expected to be a charming version for RCB.
Reality - Siraj = key ; Saini = punching bag
But as it turned out, it was the complete opposite, just as 2020 served us unexpected fries in our McDonalds order, Siraj was RCB’s golden nugget while Saini ended up as the lettuce that we all keep aside in our burgers. He did bail them out but to what extent, well they reached the playoffs and due to better NRR, so you decide.
Expectation - Shreyas Gopal would turn up big time for RR
A 20-wicket season in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and immediately all eyes went to how awfully similar he was bowling to Anil Kumble. This IPL, he wasn’t even the ‘S’ of Shreyas, in what could have been a career-defining season for him, that ultimately ended in a trolling session.
Reality - Rahul Tewatia pulls off a ‘Tewatia’
Of course, if there was ever someone who could pull off a Tewtia, it is Rahul, now you would have heard the name for sure. 255 runs, a staggering season with the bat and 10 wickets, equally good with the ball, the year is very well going to be named ‘Tewatia’ and we won’t have any problem with it.
Expectation - Aaron Finch a bargain
4.40 crores, an experienced opener and more so an aggressive one, RCB seemed to have pulled a rabbit out of the hat but what turned out was an ugly one, who only lasted as long as his bid in the IPL Auctions. Walks down the track and walks back to the hut in the same sentence.
Reality - Finch a liability
That’s precisely what it was, a Rs 4.40 crore loss for RCB in the best of tournaments for them. An opener, a captain or a good fielder? RCB couldn’t quite figure out what he was and by the time they did, they dropped him for a better opener.
Expectation: Sheldon ‘Starc’ Cottrell
He did live up to the nickname and put on a stark performance for the Kings, who were narrowly on the edge of getting eliminated from the tournament because of his performance, Remember Tewatia? Well, he’s earned that name all because of how bad Cottrell was, no offence!
Reality: An ‘rich’ Nortje
On the other hand, a cricketer, whose name most of us struggled before the tournament left a long-lasting impression. Everyone knows his value, his name and it just reminds us of one thing - the ever-dependable Nokia, that’s the kind of season he has had with the Capitals.
Expectation: Deepak Chahar’s ‘eye’ for swing
There is a tinge of movement and Deepak Chahar strikes early for Chennai Super Kings, a thing that the fans are so used to listening to in the past. The last word still remains the ‘key,’ past but this season he hasn’t done anything remarkable which just made it a big loss for the Super Kings.
Reality: Sandeep Sharma ‘swinging’ from the Chandelier
Not sure about Sia and her Chandelier but I’m sure Sandeep Sharma with his performance has lit up the tournament like never before, making even the best of batsmen - Virat Kohli his bunny. 13 wickets at an average of 24.84 and an economy of 7.34.
Expectation - Bumrah ‘yorker’ specialist
Yah, we have heard it enough, you have heard it enough and KL Rahul has hopefully seen it enough. But apart from that, where was Bumrah’s yorkers really? We too wonder but that’s really about it.
Reality - Natrajan nails the ‘spot’
Just as a hammer powerfully nails stuff, Thangarasu Natrajan’s performance was ‘nailing’ the yorkers day in and day out. So much so during the first phase of the tournament, he already had 40 yorkers bagged, which later turned 60 and now a regular feature, that everyone has stopped counting.
Expectation - Kuldeep Yadav’s career resurrection
Oh man, we expected this to happen, at least if not under Dinesh Karthik, under the leadership of Eoin Morgan. But as it turned out, Kuldeep Yadav was not even the best spinner in the team, falling miles if not countries away from their best spinners - Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy.
Reality - CV Varun is their best bowler
If you ever want to have a good CV, be a Varun, haha, jokes apart, India’s own version of a mystery spinner, a man who has done it all in the past, from being an architect to studying even in SRM but for KKR, he was one another level, getting constant support from Dinesh Karthik and then Eoin Morgan, in all India has now got real talent, need to just make him better.
Expectation - Rishabh Pant to seal India’s wicket-keeper spot
Something I would have loved to happen but Rishabh Pant’s different approach, one that we have never seen in his career has taken his career for the good and burnt it 20%. Now if you look at the stats, it won’t give you the same impression but a Pant, with a strike-rate of 112.35 is just not even half-good.
Reality - Wriddhiman Saha had a better season than Pant
Just four games, just 68 runs behind Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha is having a crazy IPL season, after being introduced to replace Jonny Bairstow. Now that’s a big-big ask from the right-hander to replace the English opener at the top. A strike-rate of 139.86, an average of 71.33, and a glovework like never before, Saha really had a better season than Pant, no two ways about it!
Expectation: CSK to reach playoff and Dhoni to get a great send-off
We often save the best for the last, so did Chennai Super Kings, who won three out of their last three games to finish the tournament on a high but didn’t quite give MS Dhoni a great send-off, because he is staying! In a year where Messi nearly quit Barcelona, we expected Dhoni to do a similar thing but he just confirmed that he is staying and CSK didn’t qualify if you didn’t know!
Reality: Dhoni tarnishes his legacy and CSK finish 7th
As it turns out, the reality was distasteful to the fans, who were glad that the team didn’t finish last, a record that they would not love having. Thankfully for RR’s poor show in their last encounter, Chennai didn’t finish last but in short, Dhoni did tarnish a legacy that he built.