On Sunday, 24th May, IPL 2015 came to an epic conclusion at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Mumbai Indians emphatically won their second title, in three years, beating a formidable Chennai Super Kings by 41-runs. The grand finale however was preceded by 59 matches, which had kept cricket fans on the edge of their seats for the better part of the last two months. Let us, in this article, take a short, team-wise, tour of all the events that transpired in this mega tournament.
IPL 2015 – How the teams fared
Other than CSK and KKR, Mumbai Indians are now the only side to win the IPL trophy twice in the eight years since its inception. The champions though, had begun the tournament badly – by losing their first four matches on the trot! And then they staged a stunning comeback, winning eight out of the remaining 10 games in the group stage action.
Rohit Sharma led the team brilliantly during this comeback period. MI took all their winning momentum into the playoffs, beat CSK in the first Qualifier and then again in the Final. Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan and Lendl Simmons proved to be invaluable to team’s cause in the business end of the tournament.
Chennai Super Kings
Qualifying for the play-offs has been a part and parcel of CSK’s routine in the IPL. They are the only team to have qualified to the last four stage in all editions of the tournament, and IPL 2015 was no different. This time MS Dhoni and his men marched into the playoffs as the top ranked team in the points table. While Dwayne Bravo and Ashish Nehra made CSK’s bowling unit a formidable one, Brendon McCullum at the top of the order had terrified opposition bowlers for the better part of the tournament. CSK’s dream run however ended in the final, when they lost to Mumbai Indians in a lopsided contest.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Like in few of the previous seasons, Kohli and his boys showed a lot of promise, but failed to fulfill the fans’ soaring expectations yet again. Even though RCB lost quite a few matches in the first leg of the tournament, they came back strongly after a major rejig in their batting and bowling ranks. The top three – Gayle, Kohli and de Villiers – contributed nearly 70% of the runs scored by the team this season. Youngsters like Sarfaraz Khan and Mandeep Singh came good on a number of occasions. The bowling was led by Aussie pacer Mitchell Starc, whose pinpoint accuracy was hard to negotiate for most batsmen. However, RCB failed to get going on the ‘big occasions.’ Their batting lost the characteristic shine in the Eliminator against CSK, which they lost by three wickets defending a paltry total of 139.
The Royals were in top notch form in the first half of the tournament, winning the first five matches on the trot! And, then, they slipped! Just two wins in next nine matches (two of which were abandoned due to rain) meant that RR were unable to keep up the consistency that they had put on display, during the first few games. Shane Watson and Steve Smith both captained the team at various points of time during the tournament. But both Aussie batsmen showed glaring inconsistencies in their form with the bat. James Faulkner, yet another Aussie heavyweight, had a lean season. The young guns – Sanju Samson, Karun Nair and Deepak Hooda – showed glimpses of promise every now and then, but could not sustain their good form for long. The Royals got the fourth place in the points table after winning their final game against KKR in a nail biting finish. The joy of qualification, however, vanished soon after they suffered a 71-run defeat to RCB in the Eliminator.