The fourth season of Indian Premier League was full of many twists and turns.
Firstly, it was announed that two new teams from Pune and Kochi were added to the tournament..
However, the way the bid around the Kochi franchisee turned controversial resulting in the resignation of Shashi Tharoor, minister from the Central Government, leading to investigations by various departments of the Government of India into the financial dealings of IPL and the other existing franchisees.
Later, Lalit Modi, who introduced us with this lucrative form of cricket, was also removed from IPL chairmanship by BCCI.
Later, it was confirmed that Kochi will take part in the fourth season of IPL.
As the total number of teams was increased from 8 to 10, it would have resulted in the increase of number of matches from 60 to 94.
To avoid this and to fit the tournament in the very-compact yearly cricket calendar, a new format was being followed. According to the new format, each team had to play 5 other teams in a two-way round robin format and there would be 2 teams against whom they would play only at home and remaining 2 teams against which they would play only away matches.
Thus each team plays 14 matches.Top four teams would qualify for the semi-finals.
The problems were not solved as in October 2010, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab had their franchises terminated for breaching ownership rules. The new Kochi franchise was also issued a warning to resolve all their ownership disputes. Two months later both teams were finally allowed to take part in the 2011 edition after a court ruling.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings won their second IPL title after defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore by 58 runs in the final of the tournament. CSK had beaten RCB in the playoffs too while RCB defeated Mumbai Indians to reach the final. This was the first time a franchise has won two IPL titles, had four consecutive semi-final visits, come to the finals three times, and successfully defended their title. Chris Gayle, who was discarded by the WICB, won the Orange Cap for maximum runs in the tournament (608 from 12 matches) while Lasith Malinga who plays for the Mumbai Indians got the Purple Cap for most wickets (28 from 16 matches). Kieron Pollard was awarded for taking most catches in the tournament while Kings XI Punjab batsman Paul Valthaty was awarded the Best Individual Performance in the IPL for his 120 runs against Chennai. The Rising Star of IPL was awarded to Iqbal Abdullah of Kolkata Knight Riders.
IPL III full coverage
The third edition of the IPL came home to roost (12 March-25 April 2010 ), but more than onfield play, activities off it received most attention. The charges of graft, politicking and much worse at the top of the BCCI and IPL power centres however, failed to distract the fans. The tournament, by now well-established and accepted by one and all, was as action-packed as the previous editions and to top it all, the men most on everyone's mind, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni, looked like the ones having the best chance of holding aloft the trophy. The semifinal saw the previous year's finalists pitted against the new challengers Chennai Super Kings vs Deccan Chargers and Mumbai Indians vs Bangalore Royal Challengers with Mumbai and Chennai emerging winners. The final was yet another special contest with Tendulkar's swashbuckling style contrasting with Dhoni's quiet efficiency. While Mumbai held Chennai down to a very gettable 168 runs (every batsman got into two figures with Suresh Raina slamming 57 not out), yet it could have been better for Mumbai but for Mumbai bowlers Harbhajan Singh and Malinga failing to snag even one wicket, while Zaheer Khan got just one – these three arguably form the best bowling attack in the world. The batting reply by Sachin was stupendous, but there was scant support with S Dhawan out for a duck right at the start. Sachin himself scored 48, but apart from AM Nayar and Kieron Pollard smashing 27 each, the rest of the batting failed to get the measure of Dhoni's fine bowling changes nor the bowlers guile – apart from R Ashwin, who failed to get even one wicket, the rest of the bowlers bagged one each Bollinger, Raina, Morkel, Muralitharan (figures of 1 for 17 runs at an economy rate of 4.25) and Jakati got 2.
MS Dhoni lifted the cup, but it was Sachin Tendulkar who topped the batting statistics. Fittingly, Sachin received the man of the series award (15 innings 618 runs at an average of 47.53 runs with 5 fifties – next best was Jacques Kallis with 572 runs off 16 innings). Suresh Raina got the man of the match trophy.
IPL III full coverage
The second IPL season (April-May, 2009 )started with a controversy even before the first ball was bowled – the tournament had to be shifted to South Africa as the Indian govt was not able to provide assurances of player safety due to the tournament coinciding with the general elections. The shifting did not seem to have had any deleterious effect on the players as yet another special tournament took off. But as in the first season, rank underdogs emerged as giant-killers again, this time in the form of Deccan Chargers – they had finished last in the inaugural season. The difference was that both teams in the final were erstwhile underperformers. The team could boast about having some of the hardest hitters of the cricketing ball like Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma apart from the destructive finesse of VVS Laxman. RP Singh, Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa led the bowling attack. The final was an explosive one against Royal Challengers, led by a rejuvenated and increasingly aggressive Anil Kumble. Their rise was akin to that of Rajasthan Royals, except for the bucketfuls of money splashed on players (on what many disparagingly referred to as a 'Test' team!)- Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer, Jacques Kallis. But they did have some truly sizzling ODI players in the form of Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar and Jesse Ryder and of course Dale Steyn (Kevin Pietersen was there, but featured more as an absentee).
The final turned out to be a humdinger despite being a low-scoring one. Deccan Chargers started batting with a whimper when they lost captain Gilchrist for a duck to some inspired leadership by his counterpart Kumble who opened the bowling. The third ball sent Gilchrist packing. Some slow but splendid batting by Gibbs, Symonds and Rohit Sharma ensured a competitive total though – Kumble bagged 4 wickets. But the chase proved futile as batsman after batsman played erratic cricket to gift the match away. While Kumble received the man of the match trophy, Gilchrist walked off as the player of the tournament. Top wicket-taker was RP Singh with 23 and Kumble was second with 21.
IPL II full coverage
The inaugural season of the Indian Premier League was held in 2008 with even die-hard cricket fans apprehending a disaster. But the truth was far from that. The furious pace of the matches as well as the presence of the best players in the world ensured unbridled interest. And most of all, the action-packed tournament, that virtually went down to the wire ensured its acceptability by not only the youngest section of cricket lovers, but even amongst the orthodox community. What also appealed to the public was that rank outsiders and 'no-hopers' turned out some of the best performances right up to the final. The team that caught everyone's imagination was Shane Warne's Rajasthan Royals (the cheapest team in IPL), which could boast of nothing special apart from the retired Warne himself – the rest of he players on whom teams had spent crores of rupees emerged as duds. Ultimately, the play-offs went on to script a dream final against the MS Dhoni's (IPL's most expensive player at $1.5 mn) Chennai Super Kings and emerge, from plain underdogs, to indisputable winners.
On final match day, Warne won the toss and asked Chennai to bat and promptly rued the fact as the openers smashed the ball all around the park. But that was business as usual for the Royals as Chennai was not the only team that had got off to flying starts. Royal's specialty was to bring the high-flying birds down to earth and that is exactly what they did by ensuring no single player got a 50 and the best score was that of Suresh Raina (43 runs) - Chennai was stopped at 163. Yusuf Pathan was the best bowler with three wickets, while Tanvir and Watson grabbed one each. The asking rate of 8.20 runs per over did not look impossible even though Kamran Akmal and NK Patel fell cheaply. Pathan emerged the saviour, smashing 56 runs from 39 deliveries. The impact of the Royals on the tournament can be gauged from the fact that Shane Watson (474 runs and 17 wickets ) was named player of the tournament and Sohail Tanvir became the top wicket-taker with 22 scalps. The winners cheque was Rs 4.8 crores ($1.2 million) while the runners-up received Rs 2.4 crores ($600,000). Tournament's top scorer was Shaun March (King's Xi Punjab) with 616 from 11 innings at an average of 68.44..