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IPL memories: Kohli on top, Gayle the master blaster, a season in South Africa and forgotten franchises

Omnisport logo Omnisport 29/03/2020 Rob Lancaster
a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Mumbai Indians celebrate after winning the 2019 final. © Robert Cianflone/Getty Images Mumbai Indians celebrate after winning the 2019 final.

Sunday was due to see the start of the Indian Premier League in 2020, with champions Mumbai Indians scheduled to take on Chennai Super Kings in a repeat of last year's final.

It was to be the first of 56 group games during the 13th season, the success of the lucrative Twenty20 competition showing no signs of slowing up despite pretenders springing up all over the world hoping to find the same magic formula for success.

However, the coronavirus outbreak put paid to the best-laid plans.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India announced a postponement until April 15 initially, yet it remains to be seen when – perhaps even if – the campaign will begin, considering the health crisis that is unfolding around the globe.

Still need your IPL fix, though? Why not enjoy a leisurely trip down memory lane to recall some of the notable moments in the tournament's history.

 

LET’S START AT THE BEGINNING…

Talk about making an immediate impact. Brendon McCullum marked opening night way back on April 18, 2008, with a stunning innings in Bangalore.

The New Zealander smashed 158 not out from just 73 deliveries, the highest individual score in the T20 format at the time. His one-man onslaught helped the Kolkata Knight Riders amass a whopping 222-3, all this after opposing captain Rahul Dravid had put them into bat.

McCullum thrashed 10 fours and 13 sixes to steal the limelight, despite batting alongside Sourav Ganguly and Ricky Ponting.

While the game was anything but a contest - the Royal Challengers were rolled for 82 in reply – IPL organisers had the spectacular start they wanted thanks to a Kiwi in prime form.

HEADING SOUTH FOR THE SEASON

A clash with the 2009 elections in India forced the show to go on the road. The second season was shifted to South Africa, the country where India had won the maiden global T20 event two years earlier.

The temporary move did not affect the tournament's popularity, however, and the chance to be stand-in hosts was a huge financial boost for the South African economy.

England's stars were given a window of opportunity to cash in on their talents after missing out the previous year, while the international pool became deeper as each franchise was permitted to have 10 overseas players on their roster (albeit only four could make the XI for each game).

As for what happened on the field, Deccan Chargers – aided by a home favourite in Herschelle Gibbs making 53 - were crowned champions, pipping Royal Challengers Bangalore in Johannesburg.

TAKING IT TO THE MAXIMUM

The leading bowlers can be expensive commodities at auction time, but fans do not get out of their seats - or indeed pay to get in them - to see dot balls. T20 cricket is about big-hitting batsmen and the ball clearing the rope.

Chris Gayle is the runaway leader at the top of the IPL sixes list, recording 326 maximums in a career that has included spells with Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The West Indian left-hander also holds the record for the highest individual score, hitting 175 not out against Pune Warriors in 2013. That knock included the occasionally slow starter reaching three figures from just 30 deliveries, making it the fastest ton in tournament history too.

As for overall top run-scorers, Virat Kohli is unsurprisingly top of the charts. India's superstar captain has amassed 5,412 runs in 169 innings. He managed 973 in the 2016 season alone, aided by four centuries.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Five franchises have come and gone through the years. A quick reminder of those no longer with us...

Deccan Chargers: One of the eight inaugural teams, they were champions in 2009 but were banned in 2012. The Sunrisers took their place as Hyderabad's representatives.

Gujarat Lions: Based in Rajkot, they had two seasons while the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were suspended due to indiscretions by their respective owners.

Kochi Tuskers Kerala: Added for 2011 as part of a two-team expansion, they only survived for one solitary season when they failed to make the play-offs.

Pune Warriors: The other new arrival for the fourth season. A three-year run saw just 12 wins and they withdrew in 2013 over financial differences with the BCCI.

Rising Pune Supergiant: Like the Lions, they were around for two campaigns. The second team from Pune were runners up in 2017, their last involvement a final defeat to Mumbai.

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