Aijaz Rahi/Associated Press
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: