The 2017 Indian Premier League [IPL] is into its finishing stretch and, as usual, some of world cricket’s biggest names and a few lesser known youngsters have caught the eye with some really impressive performances.
On the other hand, there have also been teams and players from whom a lot was expected, but they weren’t able to live up to the expectations. Here, we have a look at five such disappointments from the season.
Having lost in the final of the 2016 edition, Royal Challengers Bangalore came into this tournament as one of the favourites. But what followed was something everyone related to the franchise will want to quickly forget. A star-studded squad – with the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Chris Gayle – finished last on the points table with just three wins in the entire season.
The Bengaluru-based franchise did suffer setbacks even before the tournament had started with KL Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan ruled out due to injuries. Even English pacer Tymal Mills, who was bought for $1.8m at the auction, ended up featuring in just five matches due to back and hamstring injuries.
The Lions finished at the top of the table in the league stage last season and came into this year’s IPL with a good squad that was expected to challenge for the playoff spots. The campaign didn’t go according to plan, though, as they finished seventh after registering just four wins. Dwayne Bravo was a big miss for Gujarat as their bowling was often found wanting, despite the emergence of Basil Thampi who impressed with his pace and yorkers.
Andrew Tye was superb with the ball in the middle stages of the tournament, but he suffered a shoulder injury during the game against Mumbai Indians which ruled him out of the remainder of the tournament and that ended up being a killer blow for the Lions.
After Ishant surprisingly went unsold at the IPL auction earlier this year, Kings XI Punjab decided to add the Indian fast bowler to their squad just before the start of the season.
Although Ishant did trouble a few batsmen with his pace and bounce at times, he had a season to forget as he did not manage to pick up a single wicket in the six matches he played in. The 28-year-old was also quite expensive, conceding 179 runs from 108 deliveries at an economy rate of 9.94.
The Royal Challengers had a lot of players who endured a disappointing season this year and Australian all-rounder Shane Watson was one of them. Watson was named as the stand-in captain for the first three matches of the season as skipper Virat Kohli was recovering from a shoulder injury.
The 35-year-old began the season well with a brilliant spell in the death overs against Delhi Daredevils that won the Royal Challengers the game while defending a modest total. But by the end of the season, Watson looked a pale shadow of the cricketer that was the Most Valuable Player in the league in 2008 and 2013.
Coming into the tournament on the back of an outstanding Test season, Ravindra Jadeja was expected to lead the Gujarat bowling in the absence of Bravo.
Jadeja, though, did not have the best of times when it came to his bowling as he managed to pick up just five wickets from 12 matches. In fact, in the last six games that the Lions played, the left-arm spinner took just one wicket.
The 28-year-old did much better with the bat – notching up 158 runs at an average of 39.50 and a strike-rate of 139.82. His fielding was top notch as he was responsible for a number of run-outs during the course of the season, but his main discipline i.e bowling was a letdown.
Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders will meet in the Indian Premier League [IPL] Qualifier 2 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Friday, to decide who faces Rising Pune Supergiant in the final.
Mumbai come into this game having lost in Qualifier 1 against Pune. A second chance comes their way as they finished first in the league stage, with the playoff system giving a cushion to teams that finish in the top two.
On the other hand, Kolkata got the better of Sunrisers Hyderabad in a rain-curtailed Eliminator and there’s a good chance that the weather could have a say in the outcome of Qualifier 2 as well.
Ahead of the match, we have the latest team news, start time and date, as well as how you can watch all the action from the UAE.
DATE, TIME, VENUE INFO
Date: May 19, 2017 (Friday)
Time: 18:30 GST, 20:00 local time (IST), 14:30 GMT
Venue: M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
WHERE TO WATCH, LIVE STREAMING INFO
TV: UAE – OSN Sports Cricket HD, India – Sony Six, Sony Six HD (English), Sony Max, Sony Max HD 3 (Hindi), UK – Sky Sports
Online streaming: hotstar.com, Hotstar app (in India only)
TEAM NEWS, SQUADS, PREDICTED XIs
MI SQUAD: Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Hardik Pandya, Parthiv Patel, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Gopal, Lendl Simmons, R Vinay Kumar, Mitchell McClenaghan, J Suchith, Siddhesh Lad, Jos Buttler, Nitish Rana, Tim Southee, Jitesh Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Punia, Nicholas Pooran, Mitchell Johnson, K Gowtham, Karn Sharma, Saurabh Tiwary, Asela Gunaratne, Kulwant Khejroliya.
Mitchell McClenaghan has been very expensive in the last two matches that he has played in, which could tempt Mumbai to look at bringing in Mitchell Johnson or Tim Southee.
Harbhajan Singh was missing from the playing XI on Tuesday and one wonders if he might make a return in place of Karn Sharma here.
LIKELY MI XI: Patel (wk), Simmons, Rohit (c), Rayudu/Rana, Pollard, Krunal, Hardik, Karn/Harbhajan, McClenaghan/Johnson/Southee, Bumrah, Malinga.
KKR SQUAD: Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Andre Russell, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh, Colin de Grandhomme.
With Manish Pandey injured, expect Ishank Jaggi and Suryakumar Yadav to keep their places in the team.
It’ll be interesting to see what opening combination the Knight Riders go with in this match. Chris Lynn will in all likelihood be one of the openers, while the other could be either Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir, or Robin Uthappa.
LIKELY KKR XI: Narine, Lynn, Gambhir (c), Uthappa (wk), Pathan, Jaggi, Suryakumar, Chawla/Kuldeep, Coulter-Nile, Umesh, Boult.
(Last five matches – with latest match first)
MI: L W L L W
KKR: W L L W L
At this stage of the tournament, it’s quite hard to predict which way a match will go. With rain around, the toss might end up being a crucial factor in this game.
Having exhibited better form in the league stage, Mumbai go into the match as slight favourites.
This IPL has seen some great action on the field and also, there were a few things off the field that caught our eye during the course of the season.
This edition saw more than its fair share of confusion, acrimony and bad luck.
Here, we look at four talking points from this year’s tournament.
Indian Test stars Ravichandran Ashwin, Murali Vijay, and KL Rahul were ruled out of the tournament due to injuries even before a ball was bowled. Others such as Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, and Mohammed Shami missed the start of the season due to niggles.
There were other absentees from the tournament such as Quinton de Kock and Mitchell Marsh which wasn’t ideal for a tournament of this magnitude.
Injuries are not ideal but part of our sport. Compressed tournament & long travel can be gruelling. Sorry for not being there all the way.— Brendon McCullum (@Bazmccullum) May 5, 2017
And as the tournament wore on, players like Brendon McCullum and AJ Tye picked up injuries. By the final stages of the tournament, a decent amount of the players had either been injured or left the tournament to be with their national teams.
Before the season began, Rising Pune Supergiant made a surprising decision to replace MS Dhoni with Steve Smith as the captain of the team. With Dhoni not in great form at the start of the tournament, Harsh Goenka – brother of RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka – took pot shots at the former Indian captain on Twitter which did not go down well with many people.
Dhoni’s wife Sakshi Singh Rawat took to Instagram at the time to post a picture of her sporting Chennai Super Kings (Dhoni’s former IPL franchise) colours and a passage about karma, which is assumed to be a reply to Goenka’s tweets.
Interestingly, after Dhoni played a superb knock to help Pune reach the IPL final on Tuesday, Goenka posted a tweet praising the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Guess, good sense finally prevailed.
Mumbai Indians’ Kieron Pollard was irked by some criticism from former Indian batsman Sanjay Manjrekar during a match against Kolkata Knight Riders and the West Indian cricketer let his thoughts known in a series of tweets.
It all started when Pollard assumed Manjrekar had questioned his ‘brain’ and then unleashed a Twitter tirade, saying: “@sanjaymanjrekar u feel any positive can come out of your mouth bcuz u get pay to talk u can continue with your verbal diarrhea”.
@sanjaymanjrekar u feel any positive can come out of your mouth bcuz u get pay to talk u can continue with your verbal diarrhea ..— Kieron Pollard (@KieronPollard55) April 9, 2017
Do you know how I get big so.. about BRAINLESS.. words are very powerful .. once it leaves u can't take it back.. sins of parents fall on...— Kieron Pollard (@KieronPollard55) April 9, 2017
U finish that sentence .. !! All in all great TEAM effort .. well done team well done Hardik nitesh krunal youngsters doing the business 👏🏼— Kieron Pollard (@KieronPollard55) April 9, 2017
Manjrekar later clarified on Twitter that he never used the word ‘brainless’ to describe Pollard’s batting and was instead talking about his range.
“Said “Does he have the range?” Using terms like ‘no brains’ or ‘brainless’ not my style. I can be critical but never insulting,” tweeted Manjrekar.
Said " Does he have the range? " Using terms like 'no brains' or 'brainless' not my style. I can be critical but never insulting.— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) April 15, 2017
I would also encourage all those reacting to the Pollard issue to hear the footage & not just take my word for it.— Sanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) April 15, 2017
Manjrekar was proven right as the IPL’s official website uploaded a video of his commentary during the said incident. The Indian commentator and Pollard also met each other later in the tournament which was great to see.
Chirag Suri became the first UAE cricketer to get picked by an IPL team as he was bought by Gujarat Lions for his base price of INR 1 million at this year’s auction.
The 22-year-old, though, did not get to play a single game throughout the season. Even when the Lions were reduced to just four overseas players in their squad due to injuries and international commitments, Suri was overlooked.
Speaking to Sport360 after Gujarat’s exit from the tournament, Suri was pleased with the experience despite sitting out of all 14 matches. “It was a bit difficult for me not to play but it was a great experience for me,” he said.