Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli was in the form of his life, accumulating 973 runs — the most in an IPL season ever. David Warner’s Sunrisers Hyderabad enjoyed their best IPL performance to lift their maiden title, beating Bangalore by eight runs in a thriller at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Off the field, the Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants joined the league after the Supreme Court responded to the 2013 spot-fixing scandal by ordering two-year suspensions for the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals.
It was the most closely contested IPL ever, with uncertainty around the top four teams prevailing till the final league game. Ultimately, Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Rajasthan Royals, the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings made the cut. Mumbai sensationally recovered from a poor start to clinch the title, beating the table-topping Chennai Super Kings.
After a controversy-ridden edition the previous year, the organisers were relieved to go through an entire season without any scandal. Since the early part of tournament clashed with the dates of elections, the event had to be shifted to the UAE this time. Kings XI Punjab, powered by Glenn Maxwell’s all-round hitting, decimated all opposition, while the Kolkata Knight Riders peaked at the right time. KKR won their second title and were easily the best side.
Yet the on-field action had been completely eclipsed by controversies by the time the final was played. S Sreesanth and his Rajasthan Royals teammates Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandila were arrested for alleged spot-fixing and were consequently suspended by the BCCI. Gurunath Meiyappan, son-in-law of then BCCI president N Srinivasan and a top management official of the Chennai Super Kings, was arrested on charges of betting, fraud and forgery. Raj Kundra, co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, too confessed to betting.
Despite a few scandals, there were huge crowds at stadiums, who got to enjoy an extraordinary number of close finishes. The IPL had a new champion in the Kolkata Knight Riders at the end of the nine-team league. KKR had been among the poorest performing franchises, finishing in the bottom four in each of the first three seasons. So the title was a big relief for their actor co-owner Shah Rukh Khan.
The 2011 World Cup cricket final ended splendidly for India but left its audience so emotionally exhausted that IPL 4 was played to vast tracts of empty stands and dipping TV ratings. It was a 10-team league, with new entrants Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Pune Warriors eventually finishing eighth and ninth. MS Dhoni retained the IPL in front of a sea of yellow as the Chennai Super Kings produced a near-perfect game and mauled Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Powered by Sachin Tendulkar’s blistering assaults at the top of the order, the Mumbai Indians decimated opposition after opposition to coast into the final. From the other side, the Chennai Super Kings gradually picked up momentum, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at the peak of his power as captain and finisher. In a fitting final, it was Tendulkar versus Dhoni. The latter used his spinners astutely and came up with his trademark field placements to stump Mumbai.
When the Indian government expressed its helplessness to provide security due to the general elections, the flamboyant Modi shifted the entire tournament to South Africa in a month’s time. The Virender Sehwag-led Delhi Daredevils set the tone in the league stage, but the star-studded Deccan Chargers finally played to their potential to canter to victory, beating Royal Challengers Bangalore in the final.
The IPL could not have hoped for a better launch-pad than Brendon McCullum’s stunning 73-ball 158 in the tournament opener between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. There was little cheer for KKR after the dramatic start; instead, the underrated Rajasthan Royals took home the trophy. The season also saw controversy when the Mumbai Indians’ Harbhajan Singh slapped Kings XI Punjab’s S Sreesanth during post-match handshakes in Mohali.