Mumbai’s IPL triumph

Mumbai Indians brought the curtain down on IPL-13 with a clinical performance in the final on Tuesday night, winning their second successive title with a comfortable victory over Delhi Capitals. Mumbai won their fifth IPL title after crushing Delhi Capitals twice in a row, by five wickets each in Qualifier-1 and the final — this after being thrashed by 10 wickets by Sunrisers Hyderabad in their last match of the qualification stage. Hyderabad were, in turn, beaten by Delhi in Qualifier-2, underscoring the highly unpredictable nature of cricket’s shortest format. Given this, the consistency of Mumbai this season was remarkable as they did not lose two consecutive matches at any stage, and two of their five losses during qualification were sustained in the Super Over.

Mumbai’s win also ended 52 days of welcome relief of live sport on TV in this Covid-hit year, even if actual action was taking place hundreds of miles away, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Before IPL-13 began, there was apprehension over cricketers being afflicted with Covid-19 during the course of the tournament, and a few players did opt out. But, in a testament to the effectiveness of the bio-secure bubble put in place by the organisers, the event went off without trouble. The bio-secure bubble proved to be a blessing in disguise for another significant reason: It reduced the possibility of players being directly approached by match-fixers or corrupters, who are known to be very active in the UAE. There was only one report of a player being made a ‘corrupt approach’, and the matter is under investigation.

Even though cricket’s purists are not big fans of the Twenty20 format, the IPL did cheer fans, who had been starved of live sporting action due to disruptions caused by the pandemic. It also resurrected the Country vs Club debate, as Mumbai Indians’ Rohit Sharma chose to play on despite an injury that had caused him to be dropped for the national team’s tour of Australia. That tour begins later this month, and fans now look forward to the national team returning to action for the first time since March 2.

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