The Indian Premier League (IPL) teams have had plans of globalizing the tournament and increase their fan bases in foreign countries across the last couple of years. However, the governing council and BCCI weren’t much interested in this process and declined the plans of the franchises.
However, in the initial years of the league formation, there were a couple of matches and series involving IPL teams other than IPL and CLT20. The Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders were part of such games which are lesser-known ones.
Here we look at three unusual matches and series in which the IPL teams took part:
3. Rajasthan Royals vs Cape Cobras in 2009
The IPL teams usually featured in warm-up matches ahead of the Champions League T20. In some of the editions of IPL, there were unofficial warm-up matches as well. However, in the 2009 edition of IPL, a high profiled warm-up match took place. The defending champions of the IPL, Rajasthan Royals clashed against the Cape Cobras a week before the scheduled start of the tournament.
It was considered to be a practice match but the lead-up was more than that and the game even was officially broadcasted. The Cape Cobras had won the Pro20 Championship and hosted the IPL champions at the Newlands in what turned out to be a curtain-raiser for the tournament held in South Africa. Cobras, who batted first, were reduced to 34/4 by 7th over but a 22-ball 36 from Richard Levi powered the hosts to a respectable 142/8.
Amit Singh was easily the best bowler for the Royals as he took three wickets and conceded only 18 runs in his four overs. Royals started off the chase reaching 50-run mark by end of the powerplay. But some tight bowling from the Cobras and a 4-wicket haul by Rory Kleinveldt bundled out the Royals to 115 in 19 overs. Kleinveldt recorded figures of 4/23 alongside scoring 23 off 17 balls in his team’s 27-run win.
2. British Asian Cup 2009
After facing Cape Cobras before the 2009 IPL, the Rajasthan Royals travelled to England to face Middlesex team at the Lord’s. The match was named as British Asian Cup featuring the previous year champions of IPL (RR) and Twenty20 Cup (Middlesex). The game was organized as part of charity as a portion of earnings from this match went to the British Asian Trust.
Sohail Tanvir couldn’t be part of the 2009 IPL due to Indo-Pak bilateral relations but PCB permitted Tanvir to play for RR in this match. Royals defeated Middlesex 2nd XI by 28 runs defending their total of 139/9 in the warm-up match on the eve of the main game. Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne, were asked to bat 1st by the home team after a rain delay. Royals finished strongly with 162/5 on the board in their 20 overs as Dimitri Mascarenhas scored 32* off 16 balls.
Swapnil Asnodkar and Mohammad Kaif scored 41 runs apiece at the top. Middlesex never looked like chasing down the total as they were reduced to 32/3 by 7th over. Dawid Malan was the top scorer for the hosts with a run-a-ball 34 while Gareth Berg and Neil Dexter scored 26 runs apiece. Sohail Tanvir claimed three wickets for 20 runs in his four overs as Middlesex were limited to only 116/7 and lost the match by 46 runs.
Mascarenhas was named player of the match for his quick-fire 32* and 2/24 with the ball. The game between Rajasthan Royals and Middlesex is the only match involving an IPL team with official T20 status outside IPL and CLT20 tournaments. The British Asian Cup was planned to be an annual series of three matches featuring the IPL and T20 Cup champions which never happened again.
1. Kolkata Knight Riders vs Queensland in 2008
The Kolkata Knight Riders set the IPL on fire in the very first match with help of a sensational knock from Brendon McCullum. However, they failed to carry on from there on as they won only five more matches and finished at No.6 in the points table. Former Australian coach John Buchanan was the coach of KKR as well. The Queenslander Buchanan arranged a tour for the Knight Riders as part of Queensland’s pre-season games.
A total of six T20 matches were played in the tour containing three double-headers. Queensland started with a 10-wicket win while KKR won the 2nd game by 1-wicket. Queensland bounced back with victory margins of 9 wickets and 119 runs. Queensland won the series 5-1 as they won the last two games by 48 runs and 3 wickets respectively. All matches of the series were hosted by the Allan Border Field.
Adam Hollioake was KKR’s captain in that tour who was part of KKR support staff in 2008. Buchanan wanted to rope in Hollioake for the 2009 edition as one of the captaincy options in his strategy of using multiple-captains in a season. However, the England player opted out as he was already 37. Buchanan’s son Michael was part of KKR’s 16-player squad for this tour.
Siddarth Kaul was probably the only player who was part of the 2008 edition team. Andrew Symonds represented Queensland after being left out of the national squad as he skipped a team meeting for fishing a month before this series. KKR were due to play BCB XI in February 2010 ahead of the 3rd edition of IPL but the 3-match series didn’t go as planned.
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