Kevin Pietersen: My IPL 2020 awards
The Betway ambassador reveals his highlights of the tournament, including the best player, best innings and best match.
Player of the tournament: Jasprit Bumrah (MI) – 27 wickets
This was a toss-up between Bumrah and Kagiso Rabada, but look at who was holding the trophy aloft after Tuesday’s final. You've got to go with the Mumbai Indians player.
IPL conditions were batting-friendly, particularly for the first part of the tournament, so to take 27 wickets was yet another fine effort by Bumrah.
He was a slow starter in the tournament, but ultimately he always turns up and delivers.
Once he had warmed up he became the star of the show and his efforts at both ends of the innings meant that he was the biggest contributor towards Mumbai winning the title again.
Young player of the tournament: Devdutt Padikkal (RCB) – 473 runs
Padikkal has got such a bright future.
Some of his shot-making for RCB was, of course, excellent but he was so calm under pressure in a few situations.
He also managed to ease himself into batting with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, looking like a seasoned campaigner alongside them. I thought that was a sign of someone very special.
I’d also like to mention Mumbai Indians’ Ishan Kishan. He’s just 22 and I thought that he had a fabulous season, scoring 516 runs and hitting 30 sixes, which was more than anybody else.
Match of the tournament: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab (27/09)
This match in Sharjah was one of the highlights of my time in the UAE.
Rajasthan were dead in the water, needing 51 off the last three overs with Rahul Tewatia on just 17* off 23 deliveries.
Tewatia had looked terrible for the first part of his innings, and it looked like the match was drifting towards a comfortable Kings XI victory.
Then all of a sudden, he smashed Sheldon Cottrell for 30 off an over and went on to get his side over the line.
The short boundaries at Sharjah were helpful, but this was still an incredible and unexpected turnaround right at the death. It arguably went on to cost Kings XI a place in the playoffs.
Innings of the tournament: Rahul Tewatia (RR) vs Kings XI Punjab
I have to go for the same innings.
It was just incredible, not least because Tewatia made such a dreadful start – he was on just eight off 19 deliveries at one stage and we were calling it one of the worst innings ever on commentary.
He had come in up the order and we were saying that he couldn’t possibly be a pinch-hitter. Rajasthan needed 17 or 18 runs per over, and he couldn’t get the ball off the square.
I actually said on-air that he needs to run himself out and that maybe, if Kings XI get a catching chance, they should deliberately drop it to keep him in.
And then all of a sudden he hit Cottrell for a six and everything changed.
I know from experience that one shot can just make you feel so much better and fill you with so much confidence. You suddenly feel like you’re back.
I didn’t really see it coming here, though, and he certainly made us commentators eat some humble pie because he completely destroyed the Kings XI death bowling to get his team the win.
Best bowling performance: Anrich Nortje (DC) vs Rajasthan Royals
This period of play was so exhilarating that I wrote a whole column about it. Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada bowling to Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes – the best against the best, which is what the IPL is all about.
Three or four overs of firepower, speed, shot-making, exhilaration and calmness under pressure.
Ultimately, it will be remembered for Nortje bowling the fastest ball in IPL history to Buttler (156kph) and the bowler being rewarded for attacking the stumps, even after he was lapped over his head for four, by finally taking the big wicket.
Storyline of the tournament: The IPL successfully going ahead
It’s only right to highlight the entire venture that has been the 2020 IPL.
When Virat Kohli said after RCB’s elimination that their defeat was only a part of the bigger picture, he hit the nail on the head. That bigger picture was desperate times and desperate measures, and the entertainers stood up and delivered a package that was a blockbuster.
To get to the end of the tournament and have encountered no issues with testing is a terrific effort for a tournament that was postponed and might have been cancelled.
The BCCI – Jay Shah and Sourav Ganguly – deserve great credit for that, but there are so many other unsung heroes: the hotel staff, the cleaning staff, the TV crews, the camera operators and the millions of people watching.
I’m pleased as a broadcaster to have played a small part in the spectacle in the first half of the tournament, too.
Everybody associated with this year's IPL needs a pat on the back.
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