What is the IPL?
The Indian Premier League is short format cricket at its absolute finest. The best cricketers in the world join one of the eight Indian teams to compete for IPL glory and follows the T20 format of cricket. The league is usually contested between March and May each year, which is typically a gap in the Test window, ensuring that the world’s finest players can play in the competition. The league is contested by eight teams, namely:
- Chennai Super Kings.
- Delhi Capitals.
- Kings XI Punjab.
- Kolkata Knight Riders.
- Mumbai Indians.
- Rajasthan Royals.
- Royal Challengers Bangalore.
- Sunrisers Hyderabad.
IPL: A Brief History
Formed in 2008, the IPL is the most-attended cricket league globally and one of the most widely viewed domestic cricket competitions of all time. As of 2020, there have been thirteen IPL seasons, and Mumbai Indians are the most successful team in its short history, with five titles to their name, and the most matches won. The tournament follows a round-robin format, with each team playing each other twice, with playoffs and a final concluding the season and determining the winners.
Showstopping Moments in the IPL
Although some cricketing purists may disagree, IPL is arguably cricket at its most exciting. Colourful, frantic, and loud, the game is played at a relentless pace, with wickets falling and balls being smashed out the park at a mouth-watering rate. In the first match of the IPL, New Zealander Brendon McCullum smashed an incredible 158 runs off just 73 balls, setting the whole tournament’s tone. We’ve also seen batting masterclasses by superstars MS Dhoni, AB De Villiers, Steve Smith, and Chris Gayle. Gayle hit an unbelievable 175 not out off just 66 balls against Pune back in 2013, which has to be the standout moment in the league’s history. We’ve also seen incredible bowling from the likes of Amit Mishra, who incredibly has three IPL hat-tricks to his name. Sri Lanka’s enigmatic pace bowler Lasith Malinga famously delivered a series of unplayable Yorkers against Delhi in 2011, with figures of 5-13 making fun of an opening order that boasted Warner, Sehwag, and Chand. For box office moments, the IPL is unrivalled.
IPL 2020 was initially postponed due to COVID19, but it was rearranged for October-November 2020. It’s also the first time that the IPL has not been held in India. Instead, the matches have been played out in UAE. This year’s cricket feast has seen its fair share of drama and wonderful moments despite the venue change, culminating in a dramatic win for the Mumbai Indians, who clinched their record fifth title, something that the newest betting site companies had predicted. Spearheaded by captain Rohit Sharma, and thanks to some insatiable bowling by New Zealander Trent Boult, Mumbai topped the table at the end of the round-robins and never looked like passing up the chance of claiming that record fifth title, beating Delhi by five wickets in the final on November 10th.
IPL: Domestic Cricket’s Flagship Event?
Again, many people may disagree with the sentiment that IPL is cricket’s flagship event, as there are many formats to consider and many series and tournaments that are exciting in different ways. If we look at the international game, the Ashes test series between England and Australia springs to mind and is always tense and dramatic. The World Cup, played in the one day format, always guarantees drama too. Just think back to how England won the World Cup in 2019, and you will understand what I mean.
Domestically, though, several nations hold different types of T20 events, many of which are popular in their own right. Yet nothing can really compare to the success of the IPL. According to figures released by the Broadcast Audience Research Council in India, IPL 2020 has registered 30% growth per match in terms of viewing minutes compared to the 2019 season. In the UK, it has been reported that more people have watched IPL than specific English Premier League football matches, highlighting just how absorbed many in the UK are with the IPL right now.
Although a relatively new tournament with just thirteen completed seasons, the IPL has become a mainstay in the cricketing calendar and attracts players and viewers worldwide. It is exciting, fast-paced, and incredibly fun, and it is likely to continue to grow and become more popular year on year.