As the famous Greek playwright, Maccius Plautus, once quoted, ‘Unexpected things happen in life more often than you expect.’ Interestingly, it also holds true for the gentlemen’s game, which has always awed the fans with its unpredictable nature. Here anything can happen within a matter of seconds. Even the outcome of a game can change in the space of two or three balls.
Don’t believe me, just have a look at the recent IPL encounter of Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab. At one stage, Punjab looked out of the game with Hyderabad needing only 28 runs in four overs with seven wickets in hand. But in the end, Punjab won the game by 12 runs, and everybody was shell-shocked by the twist in the tale. So once again, the IPL proved why it is called cricket’s Pandora box.
It is not a one-off incident, as the Indian Premier League has always been full of such unexpected events. The ongoing IPL 2020 has also contributed to the ever-growing reel. The tournament has already given quite a few memorable cricketing moments. And some of them even took the audience by surprise, as they never thought of witnessing it in the league.
Here is the list of 5 unexpected things that happened in IPL 2020 :
1. CSK languishing at bottom of the points table
Champions, Consistency, Legacy, Miraculous, table-toppers are some common terms which one associates with the Chennai Super Kings. The Yellow jersey have been nothing short of an enigma in the IPL. From becoming champions to getting banned and then winning another title dramatically, the CSK storyline is like a Shakespeare’s play, it gives you pleasure and pain in equal measure.
And there lies the catch, as most of Shakespeare’s plays have tragic endings. Coincidentally, Chennai’s play under their lead-hero, MS Dhoni, has also met a similar end in IPL 2020. The team which made to the playoffs in each of their last 10 seasons have come undone in their 11th season. Such has been the misery that now their fans want to forget the past five weeks of their life.
Sadly, it is going to be worse for them as they are likely to see their heroes with a wooden spoon in their hands soon. Yes, you heard it right, the three-time champions are languishing at the bottom of the points table. Before the start of the tournament, people would have laughed off at that thought. But not anymore, as the Yellow team have just won four of their 12 games in this season.
And now with Rajasthan winning their recent tie against Mumbai, they are officially out of the playoffs race. Even in the wildest dreams, nobody would have thought that Dhoni and his men will be ragged by the oppositions like this. In short, seeing the three-time table-toppers, CSK at the bottom of the table has to be one of the least expected things of this IPL.
2. A super over ending in a tie
If there is one thing that has made the IPL one of the most loved sporting events around the world, then it has to be the competitiveness of the league. Here on a given day, any team can outclass the other. In other words, there is not much to separate the eight teams involved, as all of them have world-class players in their line-up.
That means there cannot be a dull moment when these teams pit against each other. Thrilling contests become the norm. As expected, it has also been the USP of IPL 2020. There have been quite a few games where the fans have experienced their heartbeat palpitating. To be precise, they have been 17 instances in this season when the fate of the game has been decided in the last over.
In that also four of those games needed Super Overs to separate the teams. And in of one those games between Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians, the unthinkable happened as the Super Over also ended up in a tie. They had to play the second Super Over to get the result. In that game, both the teams went into overdrive as they played out almost 44 overs in a game, which is supposed to end in 40 overs.
It wasn’t a game for the faint-hearted cricket fans as there was drama, tension, and anxiety altogether. The other thing that the fans will remember from the iconic encounter is that of two Indian fast-bowlers trying to win the games for their respective sides with their unmatched ability of bowling yorkers. On that night, both the teams showed how the unpredictable nature of the IPL can take aback any sports lover.
3. RCB winning games with their bowling might
In the last decade or so, the IPL team which have been enjoying a cult-following amongst the cricket fans is none other than the Royal Challengers Bangalore. They might not have won titles like their counterparts, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, but the support they have got year after year is beyond imagination.
Even when they are on a losing streak, their fan-base, the Bold Army, cheer for them at the top of their lungs. And in return, they have got nothing but getting trolled mercilessly for their team’s shoddy performances. Especially their bowling, which has always been a laughing-stock in social media. It has also reached a point where their short form, RCB, was connoted as ‘Runs Conceding Bangalore’.
Unfortunately, there has also been some truth behind it. The Virat Kohli-led side has lost games in the most bizarre ways owing to their bowling issues. The best example to explain it is their economy rate of 8.14, till the end of the 2019 season, second-worst in IPL history. Hence, it can be said that their bowling unit has always been baggage for them.
However, things have taken a drastic turn in IPL 2020. Finally, RCB’s bowling unit has risen to the occasion and is complementing its batting group. The numbers are also indicating the same as they have taken 63 wickets in 11 games compared to the 69 wickets in 14 games in IPL 2019.
Even their aggregate economy rate is below eight, which shows that it is the bowling might that is the secret behind the team’s success in this season. At the start of the season who would have bet on the Bangalore bowlers to be the first one to restrict the opposition under the score of 100. Not many, for sure.
4. T20 veterans warming the benches
They say, ‘There is no substitute for experience’, and it is true for every realm, including the game of cricket. Even in the T20 format, which is often labelled as a youngsters’ game, there are times when experience saves the day. And the IPL is one such tournament where teams pay equal importance to the exuberance of the youth and the wisdom of the warhorses.
It is a combination that has won championships for the teams. That’s why in its 13th season also most of the teams have their fair share of T20 veterans from around the world. Like Kieron Pollard and Chris Lynn in the Mumbai Indians; Shane Watson and Imran Tahir in the Chennai Super Kings, and the list goes on and on.
These players have a proven track record, but it is just not the number of runs scored by them or the wickets taken by them. It is their presence in the playing XI, which can help the team in murky situations. And besides, they can also guide the youngsters of the side during their batting stay or bowling spell. Hence their invaluable contributions have helped the league grow.
But strange things haven’t been normal in IPL 2020, as teams have preferred to keep some of their experienced heads in the dug-out only. Such has been the irony that match-winners like Chris Gayle, David Miller, and Imran Tahir have been warming the benches for most of the season. Even seasoned campaigners like Chris Lynn, Parthiv Patel, and Mitchell McClenaghan are yet to get a game in this season.
These players may be way past their prime, but they can still change the tempo of a side. And it can be best explained with the impact of Gayle on the Kings XI Punjab side. Since his inclusion in the XI, they have won all of their four ties. Thus, along with him, the above-mentioned stars have also struggled to make it to the playing XI of their respective sides, not a common sight in the league.
5. Ravi Ashwin refraining from Mankading
Match No.4, IPL 2019, it’s Rajasthan Royals versus Kings XI Punjab, the game is in balance with Rajasthan needing 77 runs in 43 balls. Then Punjab captain, Ravichandran Ashwin is loading to bowl the penultimate ball of his spell. And then, suddenly, a cry of appeal is heard, and all the players and the audience sitting in the stadium are befuddled.
The camera then zooms to the non-striker’s end where Jos Buttler and Ashwin were arguing with the bails removed from the grooves of the stumps. And it comes to light that the league has just witnessed its first Mankading incident. Since that day, there have been hours of discussion on this unusual way of running out a batsman.
Though it is within the laws of the game, a large part of the cricketing community considers it against the spirit of the game. But time and again, Ashwin has spoken his mind about the incident and has defended the mode of dismissal. According to him, ‘A batsman should not have an unfair advantage over a bowler’ and that statement has earned him a lot of ire.
And he has been trolled incessantly by his fellow cricketers and as well as the cricket fans. Still, Ashwin being a gutsy cricketer didn’t change his mind and went on to say that if the situation arises, he will do it again. It didn’t please his Delhi Capitals coach, Ricky Ponting, and he said that he will have a sit-down with the spinner.
And surprisingly, it worked as in the game against RCB, Ashwin opted out of mankading Aaron Finch while the batsman was wandering outside the crease. He stopped in his delivery stride and smirked and asked Finch to avoid it.
At the time, everybody in Delhi’s dug-out looked curious including, Ponting. So after saying that he will stay true to his stand, Ashwin did the unexpected of avoiding another controversy.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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