No Crowds, No Cheerleaders, Yet IPL 2020 is the Best Ever. Agree?

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No Crowds, No Cheerleaders, Yet IPL 2020 is the Best Ever. Agree?

Illustration: Reynold Mascarenhas

The Indian Premier League has felt different without crowds, cheerleaders, and controversies. But that hasn’t taken away the thrill of the game. In fact, IPL 2020 is officially the most competitive edition in the history of the tournament. It is for the first time that all teams have won six games. Even after 47 of the 56 league matches, no team had qualified for the playoffs.

Is this then the best IPL ever?

Analysts, cricketers, and commentators dub the IPL as the “most exciting T20 franchise league” in the world. But there is little data to back that claim. After Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) emphatic nine-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab, all teams have won six games for the first time in an IPL season. Rajasthan Royals finished bottom of the league with 12 points in IPL 2020. Last year, Sunrisers Hyderabad finished in fourth place and made it to the playoffs with 12 points. The competition has really heated up!

The past few days have helped cricket fans brush up their permutations and combinations chapter from sixth grade. With every result, the table was significantly changing and there were more twists and turns in the tournament than a K-serial. Before last night’s game between Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), three slots for the playoffs were still open. Delhi Capitals won, but a close game ensured that RCB got through as well, flooding the internet with angry memes from KKR fans.

After DC’s win, one slot still remains open as the last league stage match is set to take place between the Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). A Hyderabad win would ensure three teams end up at 14 points and it will come down to the net run rate (NRR). Time to get the calculators out!

In a twist of irony, KKR fans will be supporting bitter rivals Mumbai Indians today. An MI win ensures KKR bags the fourth place. An SRH win will most certainly knock out KKR from the tournament. This IPL has even brought rivals together.

IPL 2020 has been brilliant not only because of the cut-throat competition but also the quality of cricket has been topnotch. Young Indian players like Ishan Kishan, Kartik Tyagi, Devdutt Padikkal have risen to the occasion in pressure moments and players like Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have had decent stints captaining their sides. Veterans like Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers have lit up the occasion once again with some breathtaking performances.

Runs have flowed, wickets have tumbled, catches have been dropped, and multiple games have gone down to the super over. It truly has been the best IPL in history, and it’s far from over.

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