76 games. 2052 fours. 675 sixes.
IPL2013, despite the controversies and fallouts, finished with a new IPL Champion. And it’s a team that was in danger of being called the best team to have not won the title.
Mumbai Indians are 2013 Champions. In their second final v/s the same opponents after 2010, MI pulled off a low-scoring win to cement themselves as the only other team apart from CSK to have won a Champions League and an IPL. CSK lost their third final out of five- a fair bit ahead of any other team despite the loss.
Here are a few best and worsts of the tournament that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons-
Best bowler of IPL2013: Mitchell Johnson
Purple and Orange caps aren’t often the best indicators of the real game changers in the tournament. Johnson, right from the first game, got the early breakthroughs and deceived top-order batsmen with his guile and pace. He looked to be on odd fit in a T20 side earlier, but has proved his worth- even upstaging Malinga through the season. Easily the best bowler in the edition, even though 10-odd wickets less than purple cap holder Bravo- who preyed on big hitting lower orders.
Best Batsman of IPL2013: Michael Hussey
Tough to contradict the orange cap argument here. He was the batsman that set the standards, and rarely failed- except in the final. Consistently, even though he was easily the oldest player in the side and a recent retiree, he scored runs according to situations and didn’t let CSK feel the absence of Du Plessis or the poor form of Vijay. It was a pity he couldn’t take them over the line in the final game. Mr. Cricket has made the IPL his own.
Best Fielder of IPL2013: Kieron Pollard
The 3 consecutive dropped catches of Hussey will stand out as the most madcap minute of IPL2013. Brainfaded and miraculous, Pollard was otherwise easily the best catcher and fielder of the tournament- setting the standards so high that his one handed catches rarely looked difficult. He also started the Mumbai juggernaut with a superb catch at the ropes for Dhoni’s wicket in their second game- giving them a much needed first victory and a mental hold over the Super Kings.
Best Captain of IPL2013: Rohit Sharma
It is only appropriate that the new MI captain, despite his failing form towards the end of the season, walks away with all the plaudits. He changed a team that had lost 3 out of its first 6 games, with a 100% home record and field placements that pushed the limits of aggression. Due credit to Ponting, who stepped down after 6 games and handed over the captaincy at the right time before it was too late. Sharma was backed well by his players, especially the two West Indians in the side.
Best Catch of IPL2013: Pollard v/s Kings XI Punjab
While many feel that Gurkeerat Singh’s catch merits the award, it was Pollard’s perfectly timed stunned at the long-on boundary that got the dangerous Marsh out that really stood out, as did his Dhoni catch just because of the situation.
Best Innings of IPL2013: Gayle 175* and Miller 101*
Gayle’s innings will remain in everyone’s memory for the records it broke and the ease with which he did it, but it was Miller’s 101* v/s RCB that was probably the best innings ever played while chasing an IPL score. That innings was also why RCB ended up short at the end, as he cemented his place as the hottest South African import in world cricket.
Best bowling performance of IPL2013: Amit Mishra’s 4/19 v/s PWI
4 wickets in 5 balls to break the back of what was supposed to be a simple low-scoring chase for PWI. A hat-trick included, Mishra bamboozled the middle order and pulled off an unlikely win that kept his team in the reckoning- probably the Sunrisers’ most important win in the league.
IPL Power Team 2013: Chris Gayle, Michael Hussey, Shane Watson, Rohit Sharma ©, David Miller, Kieron Pollard, MS Dhoni, Johnson, Faulkner, Amit Mishra, Harbhajan Singh/Karan Sharma
IPL Flop Team 2013: Murali Vijay, Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting ©, Unmukt Chand, Yusuf Pathan, Adam Gilchrist, Dilshan, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Piyush Chawla.