The 2017 Indian Premier League season ended on Sunday with the Mumbai Indians victorious for the 3rd time. Joining them in the playoff stage were Rising Pune Supergiant, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad. But in the IPL’s 10 year history, where does this playoff stage stack up when compared to the others? there were plenty of issues that affected the smooth running of the tournament and the beautiful game.
No matter what sport you play, you are always at the mercy of adverse weather conditions. The Eliminator match between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kolkata Knight Riders was scheduled to be played in Bangalore. A few hours prior to the crucial match, the sky fell on every Bangalorean’s head. Unlike in the game of football where players play through the rain, cricket is a whole different ball game, pardon the pun. A damp pitch could be treacherous for a side that is fielding. With no sign of the rain letting up, it was absolutely vital that the show must go on. The Chinnaswamy Stadium, despite the renovation to the outfield and installation of a new drainage system, yielded a poorly contested game. The match was then decided via Duckworth-Lewis method and the Knight Riders went on to the next stage.
Once upon a time, the M. Chinnaswamy pitch was a batsman’s paradise. The Royal Challengers Bangalore would exploit this to their advantage and send out every delivery out of the park, gift-wrapped. But this year, the M. Chinnaswamy is not what it used to be. The Bangalore wicket has clearly seen a lot of matches in its time, and it has taken a toll on the pitch. The resurfaced pitch hasn’t helped either, from a batting-friendly pitch to a slow pitch with variable bounce has hurt the RCB team and the other teams that have batted on its surface.
A Higher Calling
Another issue faced by the teams was the number of overseas players having to leave the tournament early to report for national duty. The likes of Chris Woakes, Ben Stokes, Imran Tahir, Jos Buttler and others had to bail out of the tournament early and rejoin their national teammates to prepare for upcoming matches and the Champions Trophy. This has, without a doubt, affected the likes of RPS, KKR, MI and SRH as they were key players for their respective teams.
Everyone makes mistakes, the world is an imperfect place. But when you are an umpire, the match hangs on every decision that you make. That decision can either win matches or lose matches. All it take is one wrong decision to turn things around. During the 1st Qualifier between RPS and MI, presiding umpire C Shamshuddin ruled that Mumbai Indians batsman Rohit Sharma was out lbw, even though the ball deflected off the outside edge of Sharma’s bat before hitting the pads. The ‘Hitman’ departed looking very glum. This decision affected the rest of the game as Mumbai lost by 20 runs.