The eighth edition of the Pepsi Indian Premier League is down to its final encounter which is to be played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in Kolkata. At the halfway stage of the tournament, it did not even seem that Mumbai Indians would make it to the playoffs. But a collective team effort by the men in blue turned the tide for the team as they stormed their way into the finals.
Another team who proved their worth and on-paper strength were the Royal Challengers Bangalore. After finishing 7th in the previous edition of the IPL, Virat Kohli and his team finished third and made it to the playoffs despite five rain affected games. They went on to beat Rajasthan Royals in the eliminator but fell agonizingly short of a berth in the finals after losing to Chennai Super Kings by 3 wickets. Let us take a deeper look into the comeback stories of this season’s IPL:
Mumbai Indians: Rising from ashes
The Mumbai Indians had a disastrous start to their IPL-8 campaign losing their first four games. The openers were not firing, Malinga looked rusty and there were whispers about the massive management squad. Things were soon to change though !
Mumbai finally opened their account with a win over Royal Challengers Bangalore and then one saw a massive turnaround as they won almost every game after that. The departure of Aaron Finch and Corey Anderson hardly affected their form and Mumbai Indians went on to finish at no. 2 in the league table. The bowling attack picked up steam with Lasith Malinga and Mitchell McClenaghan becoming more effective with every game. Lendl Simmons and Rohit Sharma started impressing with the bat and Pollard came to the party as a bowler to oust KKR in a nervy final over.
In the first qualifier, Mumbai beat Chennai with Pollard contributing with the bat this time. Mumbai are now gearing up to face Chennai in the final once again on Sunday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Rain-hit side gets lucky
Bangalore made a promising start, winning their first game against the Kolkata Knight Riders. They failed to keep the momentum going as they lost 3 consecutive games at home. Left arm pacer Mitchell Starc returned to the RCB camp and his arrival completely turned the fortune of the team as they moved into the top four.
Apart from Starc, the rest of the bowling unit, comprising of Yuzvendra Chahal and Harshal Patel made handy contributions for RCB. The batting was always brilliant but took on a more consistent form this season with AB de Villiers emerging as the highest run-getter for RCB with 513 runs. Virat Kohli (504 runs) and Chris Gayle (491 runs) too were brilliant with the bat and almost led RCB to their third IPL final.
RCB just fell short of a place in the final after losing to Chennai Super Kings by 3 wickets. They however have a lot of positives to take from the tournament. The Bangalore franchise are a young team and are expected to show more consistency in the years to come.
This season of the IPL may prove to be the season that RCB came to the party! Sports Rediscovered salutes the spirits of Mumbai Indians and RCB for proving that tough situations do not last , but tough teams last!