Sehwag flattered to deceive
The third edition of the Indian Premier League has reached its fag end with the culmination of the group stage.
The qualification of the four teams -- Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore -- is also an indication of the fact that these teams played the 'pressure points' better than the four that failed to make it past the initial stage.
While teams like Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders have only themselves to blame, they had plenty of riches within their ranks for their vapid show, others like Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab neither had the firepower nor the form to help their cause.
These four teams, which failed to make it, paid the price for the lack of form of their key players, names which promised a lot, but delivered a little.
Rediff.com takes a look at a few key players whose failure affected their team's cause.
Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils)
It is disappointing to see a name like his (Virender Sehwag) at the start of this list. He was indeed one of the biggest disappointments of the third edition.
The stats above are an apt indicator of how much the 30-year-old struggled to assert himself in the tournament.
His highest score in the tournament -- 75 off 34 balls vs Rajasthan Royals at Motera -- was also his lone match-winning effort in the tournament.
His two other 50-plus scores -- 74 vs Chennai Super Kings and 64 against Kolkata Knight Riders -- came in losing causes.
More importantly, the one factor that fans always expect from Sehwag's batting is flamboyance. That was found lacking in the last few weeks.
Image: Virender Sehwag of the Delhi Daredevils
Photographs: IPL/ Getty Images
No seriousness towards captaincy
Gautam Gambhir (Delhi Daredevils)
The Delhi captain started with a bang, his 72 off just 54 balls against Kings XI Punjab a match-winning effort, and won him the man-of-the-match award as well.
He missed three matches owing to injury wherein he headed to Sri Lanka to have ayurvedic treatment.
And he wasn't as convincing after his return.
His unbeaten 57 (off 56 balls) against Chennai Super Kings was a match-winning effort but not a confident innings.
Maybe, it was due to the pressure of captaincy, or lack of form.
But, fact remains, if Delhi failed to qualify for the last four it was primarily because their highly-rated top three failed.
Image: Gautam Gambhir of the Delhi Daredevils
Two good knocks don't make a tournament
David Warner (Delhi Daredevils)
Highest: 107 not out
Much was expected from the burly Australian.
He didn't feature in Delhi's first three matches, but played in all the 11 outings thereafter.
He started with just six runs in his first match, against Chennai Super Kings, but the next three contributions were significant -- 57 against Deccan Chargers, 33 vs Royal Challengers Bangalore and a match-winning 107 not out against Kolkata Knight Riders.
That was just about it!
Moreover, his opening partnership with Virender Sehwag never yielded Delhi the desired results.
And that had considerable impact on Delhi's overall standing.
However, to end on a positive note, he was a livewire on the field.
Image: David Warner of the Delhi Daredevils
When Dadagiri became a punishable offence
Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Apologies at the outset to all Dada (and Kolkata Knight Riders) fans.
But Sourav Ganguly isn't in this list because of lack of runs.
In fact, he scored too many and took a few spectacular catches as well to assert his commitment to the game.
However, it is in his role as a captain that he failed.
Too much tinkering with the team combination and his poor strike rate as an opener are few of the factors responsible for the team's failure.
KKR is the only team not to have made it to the last four in any of the three editions.
The buck has to stop somewhere.
And, as Dada himself has maintained during his strained relationships with Greg Chappell and John Buchanan, the captain is responsible for the team and not the coach. He is to be blamed for KKR's failure in this campaign.
Many hardcore fans won't agree with this, and there maybe various counter arguments regarding the same.
But, for once, let us give emphasis to reason vis-a-vis passion.
Image: Sourav Ganguly of the Kolkata Knight Riders
Gayle-force and IPL don't go hand-in-hand
Chris Gayle (Kolkata Knight Riders)
The West Indies captain failed yet again, for the third year on the trot.
Gayle didn't feature in Kolkata Knight Riders' opening four matches and his first innings -- 75 off 60 balls against Mumbai Indians -- was a rather uncharacteristic knock in what was eventually a lost cause.
Most of his subsequent forays to the crease were disappointing.
And the only time he played according to his reputation was in a spectacular 42-ball 88 against Kings XI Punjab. His knock though was overshadowed by Mahela Jayawardene's match-winning hundred.
Image: Chris Gayle of Kolkata Knight Riders
In seventh heaven, literally
Ishant Sharma (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Best Bowling: 2-33
Seven matches, seven wickets.
And an economy rate of almost 10 runs per over.
Ishant Sharma, an expensive buy for KKR, wasn't even deemed good enough to play in all 14 matches.
Need we say more?
Image: Ishant Sharma of Kolkata Knight Riders
Bogged down by expectations
Yusuf Pathan (Rajasthan Royals)
His 100 off 37 balls in Rajasthan Royals opening match against Mumbai Indians at the Brabourne was a spectacular knock even though RR couldn't win the match.
So was his unbeaten 34-ball 73 against Deccan Chargers at Motera.
However, in the other 12 matches that he featured in, Yusuf Pathan contributed just 82 runs.
Maybe, Rajasthan's over-reliance on their flamboyant batsman contributed to the pressure.
Maybe, it was plain bad luck.
Whatever be the case, Rajasthan Royals' dependence on Yusuf cost them dear.
Image: Yusuf Pathan of Rajasthan Royals
Good, but not enough
Shaun Tait (Rajasthan Royals)
Best Bowling: 3-22
Australia could afford it but Rajasthan Royals couldn't.
Shaun Tait took 23 wickets but was hugely expensive in Australia's 2007 World Cup campaign.
He took 10 wickets in eight matches for Rajasthan Royals, including superlative efforts against Deccan Chargers (3-22) and Kings XI Punjab (3-22).
However, he was expensive on occasions, and that cost his team dear - considering their batsmen were struggling to put runs on board.
Image: Shaun Tait of Rajasthan Royals
This Prince failed to get an opening
Yuvraj Singh (Kings XI Punjab)
When was the last time you remember Yuvraj Singh not scoring a fifty in 14 successive matches?
Well, it happened in this IPL.
Stripped from captaincy, Yuvraj didn't do his reputation any good by being one of the biggest flop stories of this campaign.
There were many damage control measures clarifying his poor efforts with the blade wasn't owing to the fact that he had been removed as the captain.
Even Yuvraj did come out with his own statement saying there is no problem within the side.
Only if he had made the statement on the pitch.
Safe to say this 'Prince' (Yuvraj) failed to get an opening unlike the eponymous Bollywood film that released earlier in the month.
Image: Yuvraj Singh of Kings XI Punjab
Captaincy meant added pressure
Kumar Sangakkara (Kings XI Punjab)
If the outgoing captain of Kings XI Punjab was struggling to find form, the incumbent fared only marginally better.
Kumar Sangakkara's 42-ball 56 against Mumbai Indians was a match-winning effort, but most of his other contributions were forgettable.
Literally speaking, he didn't lead from the front.
As a result his team finished with the wooden spoon.
Image: Kumar Sangakkara of the Kings XI Punjab
Fading in public memory
S Sreesanth (Kings XI Punjab)
Best Bowling: 2-24
The Kerala speedster is never in the news for his performances.
In the inaugural edition, we remember him for crying in public after the 'Slapgate' incident.
Last season, it was because of the nickname that was given to him by the blogger who wrote by the name 'Fake IPL Player.'
But this year, we won't remember S Sreesanth at all.
Look at the figures above and you will know what we mean. Besides, there were no controversies on this occasion.
Image: S Sreesanth Kings XI Punjab
No longer the Lee(thal) weapon
Brett Lee (Kings XI Punjab)
Best Bowling: -
He quit Test cricket to prolong his career in the shorter formats of the game.
Maybe it would have been wise on his part to quit altogether.
For he is not quite the same force he was before.
In the four matches he played, Brett Lee was hit all over the park.
And, considering Kings XI Punjab rested an in-form Juan Theron to accommodate the Australian, it turned out to be an exercise in futility.
Image: Brett Lee of Kings XI Punjab