India had won the inaugural T20 World Cup and the young team had taken the entire cricket fraternity by surprise. The victory had also united all the Indians, post the ODI World Cup debacle of 2007. Under a young MS Dhoni, India was at the forefront of the world’s cricketing revolution. The unprecedented excitement, thrill and joy that the T20 format brought to the fans and the players was second to none. This new genre of cricket had already shown a glimpse of its future success. To explore this space further, BCCI embarked on a journey, the Indian Premier League – IPL, the following year. More than a hundred players were auctioned into 8 different teams and the league was set into motion. It was exactly this day, that year where it all started.
McCullum sets the stage on fire
Dazzling fireworks lit up the sky and the star-studded opening ceremony glittered a jam-packed Chinnaswamy. Royal Challengers Bangalore hosted the Kolkata Knight Riders, to what was the best possible start to a cricketing journey. Brendon McCullum, played a monstrous knock of 158* making all the bowlers bowl at his mercy. In response RCB were bowled out for a paltry 82, completing a forgettable IPL debut. KKR’s 140-run victory and McCullum’s 73-ball blast was only a trailer to the blockbuster that followed.
IPL – Where Talent meets Opportunity
Over the years, IPL has been host to many enthralling encounters, nail-biting finishes and magnificent performances. It has added a completely new dimension to world cricket. The cash-rich league has also proved to be a great platform for the international players to showcase their abilities and even for the domestic talents to get noticed. Undoubtedly so, the revolutionizing emergence of Indian cricket, especially in limited overs cricket, can be related to the upbringing of this T20 carnival. The league has also gone on to inspire other countries to start their respective T20 tourneys.
It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the Indian Premier League has given hard-working and deserving players their opportunity to claim a stake at a spot in their national teams. The tourney has been a home to innovation, incredible hitting abilities, impressive bowling spells as well as some inhuman fielding displays. Moreover, the fierce competition between teams has only grown intense with time. Each team has created its own dedicated fanbase and in the last 12 years, the franchises have also developed to a multi-million brand value.
The Chink in the Armor:
And as it goes, with every good comes a little bad. The IPL has had its fair share of controversies over the past decade. The susceptance of naive players to the malpractices in cricket has been on display a few times. Be it the match-fixing scandal involving Ajit Chandela, S Sreesanth and Ankit Chavan or a few ugly interactions between the players, be it the shifting of the league abroad due to elections or changing the venues courtesy unforeseen circumstances, be it the technical flaws within the game or financial problems off it, IPL has largely managed to overcome each of those with ample ease. The progress it has made over the years has been promising and assures every cricket fan that the league is here to stay for long.
Indians would definitely miss IPL this time of this year as it enters the uncertain cloud of suspension, just like every other sporting league in the world. But having said, “ IPL as given us enough memories to rewind and watch the best until it’s back doing what it does the best : Hosting pure cricket”
The title distribution over the years:
Mumbai Indians (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), Chennai Super Kings (2010, 2011, 2018), Kolkata Knight Riders (2012, 2014), Sunrisers Hyderabad (2009, 2016), Rajasthan Royals (2008), Delhi Captials, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab (Yet to win)