Indian Premier League (IPL) season 10 has once again captured hearts and minds in the dry Indian summer this year. There have been a few things like every year that have stood out. It has been that sort of a league that despite the controversies that always pop up before the tournament begins, there is enough action on the pitch to keep everyone interested.
And truth be told, such is the might of the IPL that it alone captures more imagination of the average Indian than the rest of the sports leagues in the country combined. Here are some of the best moments that stood out in season 10:
The year of the opening ceremonies: It may have been the first in a sports league from any part of the world. It was kind of cool that there were eight different opening ceremonies at eight different venues. It meant that we saw a celebration before the first game on any of the regular venues. While there were local dancers and music sensations, it was in the end, the Bollywood actors that stole the show with their grand finale acts. It is par for the course considering their popularity and quite a few blazed away at IPL grounds this year, from Amy Jackson to Kriti Sanon, from Tiger Shroff to Sushant Singh Rajput.
Hat-trick of hat-tricks: It may have been only a coincidence but of the three hat-tricks of the season, the first two came like a bolt from the blue on the same day. It was that day, April 14, when Samuel Badree and Andrew Tye, came in the spotlight. Badree got one for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Mumbai Indians and Tye scalped one in the following match for Gujarat Lions against Rising Pune Supergiant. Jaydev Undakat got the third hat-trick of the tournament this season on May 6 while turning up for Pune against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The super over: Mumbai Indians beat Gujarat Lions on April 29. After both teams managed 153 (Gujarat were nine wickets down and Mumbai were all out), we had the super over. Mumbai made 11 for two in the five balls they got in the super over. Gujarat faced all six balls, did not lose a wicket but only managed making six runs to give Mumbai the win.
Mumbai square up Delhi: It was the only win of the tournament by over a 100 runs. So on May 6, Mumbai Indians thrashed Delhi Daredevils by 146 runs. While Mumbai posted 212 for three, Delhi were shot out for a mere 66. Quite a square up between old rivals!
The Pune story: Are they the most improved team? Maybe yes. Are they most watched team? Maybe yes. From number seven on the points table last year, Pune finished number two this year. They have done even more, reaching the final. They had a complete turnaround with respect to wins and losses in the league stage. Last year: wins-5, losses-9. This year: wins-9, losses-5.
(Note: This story was drafted on the morning of the final on Sunday)