Wednesday, June 3, 2020
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League survives terror threat as Chennai begin dominance

Abu Dhabi: The Indian Premier League (IPL) has often been on the terrorists’ radar. In the third edition in 2010, they almost managed to jeopardise this high-profile event by triggering two low-intensity blasts outside the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru just before the start of the Mumbai Indians-Royal Challengers’ match.

A third device was defused but the two explosions injured around 15 people. The match, however, continued after an hour’s delay. With concerns raised by most international cricket boards, the IPL governing body, led by Lalit Modi, immediately switched the semi-finals from Bengaluru to Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium.

Former cricketers Sir Ian Botham, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara and Shaun Pollock urged the players not to give in to terrorism by opting out of the league. Luckily, none of the players withdrew and the tournament continued as per schedule.

The season also introduced five new venues. With Deccan Chargers losing their home ground in Hyderabad amid fears of unrest due to the agitation for Telangana, Nagpur, Cuttack and Mumbai hosted most of their home Charger’s games, while Ahmedabad and Dharamsala shared a few home matches for Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.

The tournament featured a third-place play-off between the losing semi-finalists as a qualifier for the Champions League and also saw the induction of the barred Indian Cricket League (ICL) players. The final and the third-place play-off games were also played in Mumbai and the season ended five days before the World Twenty20 in the West Indies.

Though the rules and format remained the same as the previous season, they were a slight change to the strategic timeout. Each innings had two mandatory timeouts of two-and-a-half minutes each that the fielding captain must take one between overs six and nine and the batsmen also will have to take it between 13th and 16th overs.

Off the 97 registered players for the auction, 66 were shortlisted but only 11 players were sold. West Indian all-rounder Kieron Pollard and New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond were the biggest beneficiaries of the auction. Both were bought for $750,000, but not before their prices went in the silent tie-breaker round. Mumbai Indians (MI) brought Pollard, while Bond was snapped up by Kolkata Knight Riders.

Riding on Suresh Raina’s fantastic innings of 57 not out, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, defeated Mumbai in the final by 22 runs to clinch the title.

After scoring a competitive 168 for five, CSK came out to restrict MI to 146/9 despite Pollard’s late charge of 27 (10 balls). Sachin Tendulkar was the topscorer with 45.

Soon after that tournament, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi was sacked by the BCCI after nationwide tax raids unearthed alleged financial bungling. A report from India’s tax department, which has been looking into IPL and Modi’s finances, alleged that the match-fixing and betting racket has scaled a new height in the Twenty20 competition.

It was alleged that 27 players, including one high-profile Australian, were involved in ‘spot fixing’ or match manipulation during the 2009 IPL in South Africa. Modi had turned down the offer to use the ICC’s anti-corruption unit to police in South Africa, preferring instead to make his own arrangements.