Call it arrogance or dynamism, Lalit Modi, the disgraced former IPL Commissioner, took the second edition of the Indian Premier League to South Africa after the Central government said it can’t assure security to the event owing to elections.
It was a swift and dramatic move. Equally stunning was the turnaround in the fortunes of two teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers – which had brought up the last two places in the first edition.
After enduring a familiar run of losses in the initial stage, Royal Challengers salvaged their campaign under the leadership of Anil Kumble who took over the mantle after Kevin Pietersen’s departure for national duty. Leading from the front (21 wickets, the second highest for the tournament), the leg-spinner inspired his side to finish third and make the last four.
Chargers, too, progressed under the inspirational Adam Gilchrist who struck a defining knock in the semifinal against the formidable Delhi Daredevils, the toppers in the league phase. The marauding left-hander smashed a 35-ball 85 (11x4, 5x6) as Chargers made short work of Delhi’s competitive 153/8. In the other semifinal, Royal Challengers were guided to victory over Chennai Super Kings by a calm Rahul Dravid and a confident Manish Pandey, who had notched up the first IPL ton by an Indian earlier in the tournament.
The protagonists in the final proved that T20 is a great leveller. But it was heart-break for Kumble who had bowled brilliantly (4/16) to restrict the Chargers to 143/6. It was a still a tricky total on a slow surface but the target looked within RCB’s grasp until Andrew Symonds’ double strike in as many balls (Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli) tilted the balance in favour of Hyderabad who eventually emerged winners by six runs.
The tournament also proved that age is no bar for this super fast format of the game as Kumble, Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden held their own. While the quality of cricket drew large number of crowds to the stadiums, the fakeiplplayer blog provided the best form of entertainment off the field.
Brief scores (final): Deccan Chargers: 143/6 in 20 overs (Herschelle Gibbs 53 n.o., Andrew Symonds 33; Anil Kumble 4-16) bt Royal Challengers Bangalore: 137/9 in 20 overs (Roelof van der Merwe 32; Pragyan Ojha 3-23).
-RP Singh (Deccan Chargers): 23
-Anil Kumble (RCB): 21
- Ashish Nehra (Delhi Daredevils): 19
-Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians): 18
- Pragyan Ojha (Deccan Chargers): 18
- Matthew Hayden (Chennai Super Kings): 572
-Adam Gilchrist (Deccan Chargers): 495
- AB de Villiers(DD): 465
- Suresh Raina (Chennai Super Kings): 434
- Tillakaratne Dilshan (Delhi Daredevils): 418
-Highest Total: RR: 211/4 vs Kings XI, Durban
- Best Economy rate: M Muralitharan (CSK): 5.22.
- Most sixes: Adam Gilchrist: 29.
- Hundreds in the tournament: 2
-Most catches: AB de Villiers (DD): 13