Champions League 2013 Review
Even though T20 cricket was not their strongest suit, Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid had their moments of glory during the Champions League final. The former saw his team triumph and the latter had the satisfaction of seeing his underdog team (which he had led with passion and imagination) fight valiantly in the final.
While Mumbai Indians’ superior relentless firepower, peaking at the right time, won them the big moments, they were also aided by injuries to two key opposition players at crucial moments. High impact T&T bowler Rayad Emrit and RR’s crucial finisher Brad Hodge both had serious fielding injuries in their respective semis – they were both very perceptibly missed (Emrit’s absence has not been spoken of enough by the experts).
The Mumbai Indians responded to the two knockout matches (and the crucial qualifying match before that) as a team – they clearly deserved this title more than anyone else.
We’d mentioned before the tournament that 3 of the 4 IPL teams were favourites for the semis (for the first time in a CL tournament). It panned out exactly like that, and we got the fourth semi-finalist right too (T&T). From the knockout stages, it is all a question of one match, so it is difficult to predict anything – but it is interesting how each of the teams had something to take away. RR won all their group games, CSK looked invincible in the beginning but lost conviction (and perhaps hunger) at the later stages, MI began shakily but picked up pace in the last quarter and T&T were spectacular for the most part.
The best T20 tournament in the world (bar the World T20, of course) lived up to its promise.
Chennai Super Kings – underachieved. The way they started the tournament, with 3 wins in their first 3 games, CSK looked hungry enough. However, as the tournament progressed they faltered at the most crunch stage of the tournament (very unlike CSK) and lost two matches back to back, first to Trinidad & Tobago – to relinquish their top spot, which crucially forced them to go to Jaipur for the semi-final where RR hasn’t lost a single game this year, which is how it panned out again. Apart from Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni, their batting order failed to inspire almost throughout the tournament with Murali Vijay, S. Badrinath, Ravindra Jadeja and Dwayne Bravo (to an extent) being the main culprits. Michael Hussey showed some of his old touch at the beginning only to fade away at the end. In the bowling department, Dwayne Bravo emerged as their highest impact bowler but their sorry state of affairs is confirmed by the fact that Suresh Raina was actually their second-highest impact bowler. Mohit Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja grossly underperformed for them. What else can it be but desire?
Trinidad & Tobago – underachieved. One of the most enterprising teams of the tournament, T&T, were actually the second-highest impact team amongst all the teams prior to the tournament. Given that fact, their eventual show was disappointing. They had the strongest bowling unit amongst all teams but only Sunil Narine and Samuel Badree (to an extent) played to potential. Rayad Emrit – their highest impact bowler, was uneven, though he was just beginning to get his touch back. Which is why it was such a huge blow when he got injured early on in the semi-final, when defending 153 even against MI’s might was eminently possible; the debilitating nature of the blow was exemplified by the savage treatment to Ottley who now had to bowl in the Powerplay – by Tendulkar, who got his strike rate and assurance back in place after 2 consecutive sixes – it was never the same after that. Their batting, led here by Evin Lewis and Darren Bravo, shone often enough but the others failed to rally around them – not captain Ramdin, not their highest impact batsman Lendl Simmons.
Mumbai Indians – overachieved. It’s an odd thing to say for a team that won the IPL this year and is a past winner of the Champions League. But, as a team, this is not one where the whole had necessarily been greater than the sum of its parts. Without Malinga, their bowling was expected to struggle a bit, but Nathan Coulter-Nile unexpectedly stepped up brilliantly, and was eventually MI’s highest impact bowler in this tournament (without big match consideration). The most visible thing about Mumbai Indians during the latter stages of the tournament was their hunger. Even though they had a lukewarm start to the competition and were almost on the verge of being knocked-out, their best players stepped up during the most crucial parts of their matches. Rohit Sharma with his innings against Perth Scorchers, Dwayne Smith with his knock against T&T and Harbhajan Singh with the ball against Rajasthan Royals in the final. They had the highest
Rajasthan Royals – overachieved. This RR outfit had the highest
Highveld Lions – underachieved. Even though they had a considerably high impact team, it was a forgettable tournament for the Lions. To start off, their first match against the Perth Scorchers (the lowest impact side of the tournament) was washed off after which they were comfortably outplayed by Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians before losing out to Otago Volts in a Super-over in a match they should have won comfortably. A lot was promised from Quinton de Kock (whom we had identified as one of the highest impact batsmen in T20 cricket) but he failed to get going in 2 of the 3 matches that he played in before scoring an exceptional hundred in the last game against Otago. The fact that 2 out of their 4 highest impact batsmen didn’t even get a proper chance to play was bizarre (Neil McKenzie got only a single game whereas Gulam Bodi didn’t play any at all). Their bowling also was lacklustre and their highest impact bowler of the tournament Imran Tahir also surprisingly got only 2 games.
Otago Volts – played to expectation. One of the two teams to come through from the qualifiers, Otago Volts may consider themselves highly unlucky to miss out on the semi-final spot. Through the qualifiers and the main tournament, they won 5 games and lost only once and after having won 15 in a row, that solitary loss proved enough for them to be knocked out. Otago after scoring 242 against Perth in their first match may rue their slackness to allow Perth (a feeble batting line-up) to score 180 in the run-chase. Had they won by a bigger margin, it would have been extremely tough for the Mumbai Indians to play the catch-up game. As highlighted in our preview piece, James Neesham staked his claim as one of the most promising T20 all-rounders in the world by emerging as their highest impact player in the tournament. Otago also relied a lot on their captain Brendon McCullum but the attacking instinct he showed in the qualifiers went missing in the main stages of the tournament. Otago’s bowling lacked variety when compared to the other big sides in the tournament but credit is due to them for providing a stiff fight every time.
Brisbane Heat – played to expectation. Prior to the tournament, they were the lowest
Sunrisers Hyderabad – played to expectation. According to Impact Index they were never one of the favourites to qualify for the knockout stages and their middling Batting and
Titans – overachieved. It would be fair to say that given their overall Team Impact (prior to the tournament) Titans over-achieved the most amongst all the teams in the tournament. Prior to the tournament, they had the second lowest
Perth Scorchers – played to expectation. With their big stars missing, this was the lowest impact team prior to the tournament and they were mere pushovers for the rest of the teams in their group. They had the second-lowest
And here’s celebrating the characters that made this show come alive.
Without taking big-match performances into account, Sunil Narine and Pravin Tambe emerge as the highest impact players of the tournament. Even though Tambe has a slightly higher
Within a tournament context, the highest impact players are Dwayne Smith, Pravin Tambe, Harbhajan Singh, Sunil Narine and Ajinkya Rahane.
Smith was consistent throughout the tournament and produced two high impact performances in the knockout stages; the same goes for Tambe as well. Harbhajan Singh had an indifferent tournament but came up with a brilliant spell in the final against Rajasthan Royal to produce a
The highest impact batsmen without tournament context are as follows:
Henry Davids scored almost 34% of all the runs that Titans scored in this competition which is a whopping margin. He excelled in all the batting parameters and his
Within a tournament context, the highest impact batsman are – Dwayne Smith, Ajinkya Rahane, Evin Lewis, Henry Davids and Suresh Raina.
Dwayne Smith emerges at the top due to his
The highest impact bowlers without tournament context are as follows:
Pravin Tambe, the winner of the ‘Golden Wicket’ award for the most number of wickets was indeed the highest impact bowler of the tournament and was exemplary in all fronts. He had the highest Wickets Tally Impact, second-highest
Within a tournament context, the highest impact bowlers are – Pravin Tambe, Harbhajan Singh, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo and Daniel Christian.
Even though Harbhajan Singh produced a
The fact that all three of them are from Otago Volts talks about the top-order instability in their batting order throughout the tournament. James Neesham in particular was brilliant under pressure while chasing against Highveld Lions.
In both the games where Mumbai chased under a must-win situation, it was Dwayne Smith who gave a fast and solid start at the top. Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson were at their best while chasing not only in this tournament but during this year’s IPL as well. The fact that they almost pulled off the big chase against Mumbai Indians in the final and that they were a part of 3 successful chases in the tournament is a testimony to that.
Most consistent batsmen- Evin Lewis, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma.
Even though he is such an unorthodox player, it is very interesting to see Lewis being one of the most consistent batsmen in the tournament. Given his playing style, if he can keep his
Highest Wickets Tally Impact Bowlers- Pravin Tambe, Sunil Narine and Rayad Emrit.
Tambe and Narine were not only economical but they also picked up wickets at a consistent rate and interestingly all their wickets were of top-order batsmen. Rayad Emrit was expensive but showed his wicket-taking talent.
The only surprise here is Suresh Raina, he bowled 8 overs in the tournament and gave away only 28 runs. Conventionally, he has the best economy rate in the tournament but in a match context both Narine and Tambe go ahead of him.
Highest Pressure Building Impact Bowlers(taking wickets in succession) – Pravin Tambe, Rayad Emrit and Rahul Shukla.
Pravin Tambe picked up wickets in quick succession several times in the tournament thereby completely decapitating the opposition batting-order. Rayad Emrit and Rahul Shukla find a mention here for their performances against Chennai Super Kings and Otago Volts respectively.
Most consistent bowlers (lowest failure rate) – Pravin Tambe, Sunil Narine and Daniel Christian.
Every bowling parameter has been more or less dominated by Tambe and Narine and that just shows their effectiveness throughout the tournament. None of these bowlers failed even once in the tournament although special credit should go to Tambe and Narine as they featured in 5 games without failing even once whereas Christian played in only 3 games.
Soham Sarkhel and Jaideep Varma