Kautilya Singh/Amit Kumar

New Delhi: The fourth edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) proved the best one as teams vying for the play offs were separated by a margin of few points. IPL 4 presented an enthralling battle between the Young Turks and the Old Warhorses. As some youngsters came up with stupendous performance, few highly paid seniors failed to live up to the expectations.

Prior to IPL -4 not many knew about cricket rookies Paul Valthaty, Rahul Sharma, S Aravind and Iqbal Abdulla. However, by the time the tournament ended, they became household names in the country. Meanwhile, Man of the tournament in the 2011 Cricket World Cup Yuvraj Singh who was leading Sahara Pune Warriors was one of the biggest disappointments of IPL 4.

Leading spinner of the country, Harbhajan Singh yet again failed to deliver his best in an IPL tournament. Whereas, his contemporaries Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha spinned a web around the batsmen and were successful in coming up with match winning performances.

Andrew Symonds, Kieron Pollard, Greame Smith, Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, J P Duminy, Cameron White, Shaun Tait, Jacob Oram, James Hopes, Brett Lee were among the international stars who failed to sizzle the IPL stage.

Meanwhile amidst the glitter and showbiz, old warhorses continued to prove their worth. Sachin Tendulkar the captain of Mumbai Indians was amongst the top run-getters of the tournament. Former Aussie legends, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist yet again proved that retirement has not ended their enthusiasm for the sports. Warne led Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab under the dynamic leadership of Gilchrist, remained in the hunt for the play-offs. However, despite the efforts their teams could not qualify for the play-offs.

After an illustrious career, Warne announced his retirement from IPL. Having taken over 55 wickets in four seasons of IPL, the inspirational leadership of the Australian legend helped Rajasthan Royal lift the first trophy of IPL in 2008.

Finds of the tournament

Paul Valthaty: The new emerged hero of the IPL 2011 season Paul Valthaty scored 463 runs in 14 matches with an average of 36. He caught the attention cricket fans with his scintillating knock of 120 not out. This innings won him the individual performance award in IPL 4. The amazing innings was followed by a number of half centuries. His IPL performance has given an option to national selectors to consider him for the national side.

Rahul Sharma: Amidst the flop show by Pune Warriors, spinner Rahul Sharma emerged as one of the most promising talent of the season. In 14 matches, Rahul scalped 16 wickets for his team with an economy rate of just 5.76. Batsmen found hard to hit against his tweaks and the lanky leg-spinner played an important role in few victories Pune Warriors had achieved.

S Aravind: Among all the new Turks, Sreenath Aravind impressed Royal Challengers Bangalore throughout the IPL 2011 battle. The medium pacer with 21 wickets in 13 matches helped RCB to cruising in the grand finale of the Indian Premier League.

Iqbal Abdulla: For his superb spin bowling Abdulla was named the rising star of the tournament. Abdulla played a vital role for his team Kolkata Knight Riders. He got the limelight while drawing the initial bloods for his team and troubling opponents with his leg spin. The short heightened spinner s the highest wicket taker for his team with 16 successes in his kitty in 15 matches. His best was against Delhi Daredevils with 3 wickets from 25 runs. 

Major disappointments

Yuvraj Singh: The man of the tournament of the World Cup 2011 has been the biggest upset for the IPL season. Claimed the strongest team of the IPL season 2011 on-papers, the skipper couldn’t do much on the field. Yuvi played 14 matches in the season and scored 343 runs at an average of 34.30. Yuvraj was not up to the desires of crickets fans. 

Harbhajan Singh: Turbunator ‘Bhajji’, who was on song in the World Cup with the bat and the bowl too, couldn’t click in the IPL season. The well known ‘doosra’ spinner has played 15 matches and has taken 15 wickets with an economy of 7. Harbhajan couldn’t impress the fans for what he is known for. But in the batting section he played some healthy knocks for his team while batting one down.

Robin Uthappa: The second highest auctioned player in the IPL season 2011 after Gautam Gambhir, Uthappa couldn’t fulfill the wants of the team owners. Uthappa has scored 264 runs in 14 matches at an average of 26.40. His dud batting show was continued throughout the tournament. 

Old is Gold

Sachin Tendulkar: The world number one batsman Sachin Tendulkar took Mumbai Indians to the play-offs but a bad captaincy put them on the back foot and ruined their hopes for qualifying it to the finals. The cricket icon played 16 matches in the season and scored 553 runs at an average of 43 including his massive century. The MI skipper clinched the orange cap two times

Adam Gilchrist: Kings XI Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist played 14 matches in the tournament and scored 383 runs with an average of 27.35. Gilly scored a blistering ton against Royal Challengers in which he single-handedly cruised his team to victory at Dharamsala. He tried hard to alive the play-off hopes for KXIP but they couldn’t click in the initial league ties in the IPL. 

Shane Warne: The Australian legend Shane Warne’s effort was immense in the IPL 2011 battle. The ‘Sheikh of Tweak’ has played 13 matches in the game and plucked 13 wickets for his team. After registering their name in the IPL champions list in 2008, Warne couldn’t do much due to the upsetting show from the team members.

Chris Gayle: The destructor Chris Gayle set the IPL 4 on fire with his devastating innings. The Jamaican has played 12 matches in the season and has scored 608 runs at a magnificent average of 67.55. He ended the season with the domination on Orange Cap.

Lasith Malinga: With 27 wickets in his bag, ‘Slinga’ earned the purple cap in this season. During the entire tournament, Malinga was in sublime form and made life a nightmare for opponent batsmen. His performance largely helped Mumbai Indians in reaching the play-off stage.