Who would have thought at the start of IPL 2 that DC and BLR will be in the finals? It was just a scriptwriter’s dream as to how these two teams made it to the finals against all odds. The IPL 2 was a big success considering that it was staged outside India. The grounds were full all the time and the support from the South African public was phenomenal. First of all thanks to the people of SA for the excellent support and hope they were entertained.
When the IPL started the favorites were the RR, DD, CSK and Kings X1 to make it to the last four. KKR was the most hyped team and I never thought they had a chance to make it to the semis. When the tournament reached the final stages only DD and CSK fulfilled their potential. The final four was a surprise to everyone when BRC and DC joined DD and CSk.
BRC’s biggest signing of the year KP was the biggest flop for them in terms of both captaincy and a player. The franchise owners should realize that getting expensive international players isn’t going to help their cause. As Dhoni rightly pointed out, teams with good domestic players will have the edge. KKR does not have a good pool of young Indian players and their over reliance on foreign batters cost them heavily. The fact that they had to play 4 foreign players in the top order forced them not to play Langaveldt and Mortaza till the final two games.
The fairy tale ride for BRC began when KP went back to England to face WI and Anil Kumble was made the captain of the team. Anil led by example and bowled beautifully throughout the series and claimed most wickets for his team with a brilliant economy rate. BRC recovered exceedingly well from an early slump to claim a semi-final birth alongside CSK, DD and DC. They unearthed a little gem in Manish Pandey who scored a brilliant hundred and the first by an Indian in the IPL. He is just 19 years old and I hope that he has a great future.
DC though had a different route to the finals. They started off in a brilliant fashion winning their first four games but had a bumpy ride after that. They needed Chennai to beat Kings X1 to assure them a Semi-Finals spot. Their biggest assets were their youngsters like Suman, Rohit (Who even got a hattrick this season) and RP Singh. Adam Gilchrist made the captain this season also helped Deccan a lot as he led them brilliantly and also was their highest run getter.
DD and CSK though will be very disappointed with their Semi-Finals effort and both the teams lost pretty easily in their respective games. Batting deserted both DD and CSK when they needed the most and the tags of favorites also probably put lots of pressure on the youngsters. DD relied heavily on foreign recruits for their batting as Sehwag and Ghambir were not in great form. CSK though had Matthew Hayden in brilliant form at the top, followed by Raina, Badri and Dhoni who were a great supporting act. All in all it was a brilliant season for the tournament favorites but they will be really disappointed with their efforts in the Semi’s.
The final though was played between probably the worst two teams of 2008 edition of the IPL. It was a brilliant game and both the teams fought tooth and nail for the trophy and finally Deccan Chargers emerged victorious by a whisker. Chasing 144 to win in the finals on that pitch should have been achieved by the BRC batters but the constant pressure applied by the DC bowlers caused them to lose wickets at regular intervals.
All in all it was a brilliant tournament and in terms of cricketing standards, it was better than IPL 1. The games were closer and so was the tournament. 7 teams had a chance to get in to the semis till the last week. Bowlers had more of a say this time. Totals over 200 was achieved only once this year and totals under 120 was defended successfully twice.
Congrats again to Deccan for the brilliant win and also to Adam Gilchrist who led by example and sparked a great turnaround for the franchise.