he final doubleheader of the IPL 2020 ended on Sunday elevating the glory of IPL 2020 in the UAE. Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals joined Chennai Super Kings as the eliminated teams but the contests have been so intense in this edition that even after the last of the doubleheaders and the 54th match of the tournament, the playoff table has yet not been finalised.
Through an emphatic nine-wicket win, Chennai walked away with their head held high after spoiling Punjab’s chances of reaching the playoff stage. The beauty of this tournament is that neither Punjab nor Rajasthan could be dubbed as weak teams since they have shown that they can beat any team. In a closely fought tournament, small blemishes are enough for a team to be ousted, and these three teams paid the price for that. Except probably Mumbai Indians, today no team can confidently say they are capable of beating any of these three ousted teams.
In the match against Punjab, Chennai skipper Dhoni not only won the toss but also lifted his team’s spirits by announcing during the toss that he would be playing in the next edition of IPL too. The 48-runs smooth start from Punjab openers KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal in 5.2 overs did not matter for Chennai. After Lungi Ngidi dismissed Agarwal and Rahul in quick succession, what followed was a battle between Imran Tahir and Chris Gayle. Tahir bowled tightly and won the battle trapping Gayle leg before for 12. If not for Deepak Hooda’s knock of 62 off 30 balls, Punjab would not have even crossed the 150 run mark. Chennai opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, riding on the confidence of his two successive half-centuries added a third and remained unbeaten on 62.
The second match was nothing but another inspiring show from captain Morgan. He lost the toss, but not his positivity. He showed why he is the man who lifted the 2019 ICC World Cup by carrying Kolkata from 99 for 5 in 13 overs to a mammoth 191 for 7 through his unbeaten 68.
Morgan’s determination rubbed off on his bowlers with Pat Cummins taking the lead to bag four wickets. Unfortunately for Rajasthan, their stars let their team down. Or else, how could a team made up of the finest international cricketers like Steve Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jofra Archer make such an early exit?
— The writer is a senior cricket journalist who has covered 12 ICC World Cups
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