The Indian Premier League has some heat. It’s only taken 70-odd games. Considering the dearth of competition and calamitous efforts by giants like Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, one could be forgiven for forgetting that when this competition turns it on, there are none better.
Two games into the play-offs and we have had two belters. And the promise of two more to come. Particularly Friday’s final eliminator with Rajasthan Royals and Bangalore Royal Challengers meeting in Ahmedabad.
It could be a classic of the play-off genre. The Royals, possibly the most rounded team in the tournament who made serene progress to second spot, facing off against a scrappy Bangalore who only made it to the last four because another franchise’s skipper suffered one of the great meltdowns of all time.
Against Lucknow Super Giants on Wednesday, Bangalore finally cast off the shackles. They discarded doubt. They played with joy and freedom. Well, apart from Virat Kohli. Their ‘big team’ tag has perhaps hindered them in the past but here they were hitting like plucky upstarts, as if they had nothing to lose. And it’s darn dangerous.
Rajasthan may recognise that feeling. They approached much of the group stage with a carefree attitude. They relished the notion that they were gatecrashing the big boys’ party after a 7-8-7 return over three season. No-one expected much from little old Rajasthan. Least of all themselves.