The IPL final could have gone either way but Andrew Symonds’ back-to-back strikes tilted the balance in favour of Deccan Chargers, according to captain Adam Gilchrist and his Bangalore counterpart Anil Kumble.
Last things first. Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers, placed at the bottom last year, will face each other in the IPL final tomorrow. And lightning does strike twice. Ask Chennai Super Kings. They had shot under by setting Bangalore 147, but would have thought of it as a fighting total. Manish Pandey, who came out of nowhere and scored a century in the last game, didn’t think so. His 35-ball 48 almost killed the chase, and a minor hiccup later Bangalore were in the final.
May 24, 2009
Start time 16.30 local, (14:30 GMT)
And so, as a blockbuster second season of the IPL reaches its summit, two of its biggest success stories clash in the finale in Johannesburg. They also happen to be the two most unlikely sides given how they fared in 2008. Deccan Chargers and Royal Challengers Bangalore were the two bottom-placed teams then, now they’ve busted out of the basement and made the house their own.
Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has hinted that the Twenty20 tournament could be held twice a year, once in India and a shorter one overseas.
“The IPL will be based in India, but the second season (of a year) we are planning gives us the chance to see if a market exists and we are seriously looking at what we can do with it,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
The much-ridiculed underdogs of this year, Kolkata Knight Riders, have ended the tournament for the original underdogs, but not before they almost made a mess of the chase. Laxmi Shukla was the saviour for Kolkata, after they had stumbled to 45 for 6 in 11.3 overs. They had Charl Langeveldt to thank as well for pinning down Rajasthan Royals, and his 3 for 15 exposed Kolkata’s blunder of not playing him throughout the tournament.
Kolkata Knight Riders captain Brendon McCullum has been reported for showing dissent in Saturday’s six-wicket loss to Deccan Chargers in Johannesburg. He will face a hearing today after being charged with a breach of the IPL’s Code of Conduct.
A careless effort from the top order, followed by some tight bowling from the Deccan Chargers spinners, held the Kings XI Punjab to 133 which may not be enough to keep them in the tournament. Kumar Sangakkara led a recovery, after four early wickets, with a 43-ball 56 but he did not stay on till the end to ensure a more competitive total. The fast bowlers, who had conceded wides in their opening spells, returned with disciplined lines and the last three overs went for just 17 runs.
Rajat Bhatia, arguably the best allrounder in India’s domestic cricket, announced himself on the world stage tonight. Everything about Bhatia, his pace, his demeanour, his run-up, suggest an innocuous medium-pacer, but he was canny and deadly at the death, taking four wickets for four runs as Deccan Chargers choked to lose once again to Delhi Daredevils. Chasing 174 Deccan needed 25 in three overs, with six wickets in hand, but lost them all for just 12 runs.
Only in the infant stages of his international career, South African left-arm fast bowler Yusuf Abdulla has praised the IPL as a great launch pad. Abdulla, who made his Twenty 20 debut against Australia earlier this year, was rewarded for his outstanding performances in the domestic tournament and for Kings XI Punjab in the IPL with a call-up for the World Twenty20 beginning on June 5 in England.
Smart team changes by the Deccan Chargers and a spineless batting display by the Rajasthan Royals contributed to a mismatch in Kimberley. Deccan dropped two under-performing overseas players but their replacements – Dwayne Smith and Chaminda Vaas – contributed significantly in shaping a comprehensive 53-run win. Smith slammed 47 to help Deccan surge to a competitive total while Vaas took two early wickets before Rajasthan’s middle order imploded.