The six-week extravaganza has come to an end. And it was a fitting finish to the fifth season of the Indian Premier League, says Chetan Narula.
Straightforward this week. The winners, Kolkata Knight Riders. There is no more a deserving team than them over the entire season. Sure, Delhi Daredevils were dominant in the league stage. But when it came down to the knock-outs, they bottled it. Meanwhile, Kolkata did what they had to do – make sure they qualify for the play-offs and then the final without many hiccups, and then win the big one.
A lot of credit goes to Gautam Gambhir for how he put out his troops and then marshalled them in every scenario. He found a weapon in Sunil Narine and then built a bowling unit around it. KKR’s batting caused some headaches during the league phase, but when you can chase down 190-plus in this big a final – that too without your top-scorer contributing – there isn’t much to complain about.
As much as Kolkata were the big winners, you cannot neglect Chennai Super Kings. They can be likened to that kid in school who just enjoys his time throughout the year, studies one night prior to the exam and scores good grades. It makes the other students who slog hard look like fools. MS Dhoni and his boys did pretty much the same thing. They should have been out in the final week, having slept through the league stage, yet others conspired to put them through. And once they were in, the giants woke up and found their big-match temperament. They needed to win three games in this last week to become three-time champions. They won two and put up a target of 191 runs in the third, going down fighting. They should be proud of themselves.
Disappointment of the Week
This doesn’t really go to the Delhi Daredevils as much as it goes to Virender Sehwag alone, for making that daft choice of not picking Morne Morkel for the all-important match against Chennai. How can you not play the tournament’s top wicket-taker in a game of this magnitude? The Delhi think-tank might have thought that it is their batting which has done the most damage this season. But that is only partly true, for the way Morkel has rounded up their bowling attack cannot be overlooked. Yet it was!
Value for money of the Week
This one doesn’t go to any team or player, but to the BCCI. They have made a very worthy decision just as the IPL was coming to an end. From next season onwards, the Indian domestic players will be put up for auction as well. It achieves two things – first, it brings parity in their stature along with those players who are just on the fringes having made only a couple of appearances for the national side. It may not have an increased effect on their pay, for the purse for auctions might not change. Even so, this is where the second point comes in. With the auction happening, the franchises and players themselves cannot indulge in any backroom dealing, thus eliminating the hint of corruption that seemed to be creeping in.
Click here to read Dirk Nannes’ latest AOC column on the IPL melting pot