IPL 2014: Profiling Winners of Orange Cap, Purple Cap, MVP and Fair Play Awards
The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League ended last week with Kolkata Knight Riders beating favourites Kings XI Punjab to the title for their second one in three years.
The 60-match season, split over two legs in the United Arab Emirates and India, saw a total of 18,909 runs being scored, 671 wickets being taken, three centuries being hit, one hat-trick being recorded and one super over being played.
After all the action, the tournament also got its winners for the Orange Cap (leading run scorer), Purple Cap (leading wicket taker), Most Valuable Player of the tournament and Fair Play award.
Here is our profile of all the winners.
Orange Cap: Robin Uthappa
Uthappa is a delicious south Indian delicacy, and the Kolkata Knight Riders served a variety of their own when they unleashed Robin Uthappa on other teams in IPL 7.
A year ago, Uthappa had ended the season as the 12th-highest run-scorer, with 434 runs in 16 matches at 27.12, playing for the now-defunct Pune Warriors. He was known to get his team a good start and hit an odd 40-50 here and there, but that was it. He was no match-winner.
However, the Uthappa everyone got to see this year was a visibly different man. He had lost oodles of weight and was looking much fitter. He had also made a distinct change to his stance, wherein he crouched a bit at the point of delivery and was no longer closed and upright.
It has made him a lot more flexible going for his shots, and he hasn't been able to stop scoring this year.
In the early parts of the season, KKR experimented with playing Uthappa in the middle order but soon realised they were underutilising him. He was moved back to his preferred openers slot as the tournament approached the halfway stage, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Going into the final last Sunday, Uthappa's last 10 scores read: 47, 65, 47, 46, 80, 40, 67, 83 not out, 41 and 42. He had 10 consecutive scores of 40 and above, along with 11 for the season—the most by any batsman in a single season of the IPL.
He was an integral part of KKR's surge to the final after a slow start and can be credited for giving his team's bowling attack more than sufficient runs to defend. His spectacular form in the second half of the season ensured that KKR won their last nine matches on the trot to reach their second final in three years.
Unfortunately for him, he could not replicate his form in the final, where he scored just five runs, but that didn't stop him from retaining and winning the Orange Cap of the season for being the tournament's leading run-scorer. His tally at the end of the season read:
Purple Cap: Mohit Sharma
Medium-fast bowler Mohit Sharma's breakthrough season in the IPL was last year when he picked up 20 wickets in 15 matches at an economy rate of 6.43. His performance led to call-ups from the Indian team for limited-overs cricket.
Unlike some other one-time wonders, Sharma not only managed to retain his form into the 2014 season, but also bettered it as he went on to take 23 wickets in 16 matches, which was enough to win him the Purple Cap for the leading wicket taker.
A tall bowler, he has a clean action and can move the ball away from the right-handed batsman. His accuracy in line and length is what stands out the most and overshadows his lack of pace. He is also a clever bowler, ready to tweak his plans according to the conditions and has a good slower ball.
Even though CSK's line-up is filled with illustrious big-hitting batsmen, Sharma has managed to stand out like a sore thumb among the bowlers with his consistent performances over the last two seasons.
If Sharma continues to take wickets in the domestic circuit, it won't be long before he becomes a regular in the Indian team.
Here is his record for the 2014 IPL:
Most Valuable Player: Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell was bought by the Mumbai Indians for $1 million last year but was played for just three matches all season, scoring all of 36 runs. It wasn't a surprise when Mumbai decided against bidding for the Australian this season.
However, the Mumbai Indians' loss turned out to be the Kings XI Punjab's gain. Having retained just one player from last season, KXIP had a lot of funds at their disposal and considered Maxwell a run-pinata waiting to be cracked open. They didn't think twice before splurging another $1 million on him again.
Contrary to last season, Maxwell made the starting XI in his very first game. Punjab were set a target north of 200, but it turned out to be child's play for the Australian as he blitzed his way to 95 off just 43 balls. In his next couple of games, he wowed one and all as he scored 89 off 45 balls and another 95 off 43 deliveries.
By the halfway stage of the tournament, he had notched up 435 runs in just seven matches at an average of 62.14 and a phenomenal strike rate of 181.16, even as Punjab won their first five games on the trot.
Soon, Maxwell's No. 32 Punjab jersey was the most popular one sold in the country, and he earned various monikers such as Glenndeep Singh Maxwell from the Punjab faithful, who adopted him as their own son.
That being said, Maxwell could not carry his form into the second half of the tournament. His last nine matches yielded just 117 runs, and he was out for a duck in the final that Punjab lost.
However, Maxwell still won the award for the Most Valuable Player from the adjudicators, probably because he was the one who provided Punjab the boost to take the tournament by storm and end up at the top of the table in the league stage.
Maxwell's record for the season:
Fair Play Award: Chennai Super Kings
The buildup to Chennai's 2014 IPL season was all about the off-field saga of the corruption case that erupted last year (reported by the BBC and The Economist), which had its epicentre within the CSK camp.
Head coach Stephen Fleming even admitted in a press conference before the tournament begun that there were "a lot of distractions," per ESPNcricinfo, for the squad.
Two days ahead of Chennai's opening fixture of the season against Kings XI Punjab, N Srinivasan, former BCCI president and managing director of India Cements—the company that owns CSK—was named, per NDTV Sports, by an independent committee appointed by the Indian Supreme Court to probe the case in its report. Captain MS Dhoni's name had also cropped up, with the prosecution accusing him of concealing information.
However, controversy isn't new to Dhoni at least, who seems to shield any nerves well beneath his greying hairline.
Last year, barely a month after the scandal broke, he led India to victory in the ICC Champions Trophy. Last month, when his name did the rounds in the papers in connection with the case again, per NDTV Sports, he took India to the final of the 2014 ICC World T20.
And just like that, CSK played IPL 2014 just like they had done for six previous seasons: with dedication and hard work. The five-time finalists and two-time champions left no stone unturned in ensuring that their focus was fixed on the cricket field and made sure that the opposition came up against the same dominating, ruthless side.
That being said, Chennai did not cross the line of ethics, on the field at least, throughout their campaign. Their performance in the tournament all but wiped away any baggage from last season and what the spectators got to see was total cricket.
CSK, in a rather amusing bit of irony, were so clean this season that they won the Fair Play award of the tournament, decided by the match officials. Whatever happens to their management off the field is their doing, but the players made sure that at least they were playing by the rules.