NEWS

Rajasthan Royals Win IPL Twenty20 Championship Off Final Ball

June 01, 2008
Aaman Lamba

A month and a half of cricket-watching ended with some pretty good cricket as the Rajasthan Royals lifted the inaugural Indian Premier League Twenty20 Cup and $1.2 million in prize money. Chennai were the putative underdogs, given the fabulous winning streak of the Royals. The team had belied their original promise, and much like the Little Engine That Could, pushed their way to the final, ably driven by Shane Warne, who will doubtless be noted in the annals of Rajput history, along with some friends from across the border. The victory was due a razor finish, avoiding a bowl-out from the final ball.

The Rajasthan Royals won the toss and chose to bowl. The innings started a little late due to the pre-game entertainment, ranging from the Cirque du Soleil to Salman Khan. Each team got some airtime in the form of Bollywood-themed performances. Cricket luminaries like Sharad Pawar and David Morgan hailed the IPL format and Lalit Modi proclaimed their 'hopes fulfilled'.

Once the game started, the Chennai Super Kings got off to a good start on a typically slow scoring wicket. They were 39 off 5 overs, when Ravindra Jadeja caught Vidyut in the first of his spectacular catches of the innings. The batting stayed strong until Raina's wicket fell. Morkel was caught earlier in an unfortunate kerfuffle in which Akmal and Kaif collided badly. The run rate dropped in the slog overs, to the cost of the Super Kings, and were it not for the final efforts by Dhoni, they might have ended with a lower score than they did.

The Rajasthan Royals innings started well enough, but Niraj Patel fell in the fourth over, and the run rate stayed below the required mark for the first six overs or so. They lost two more wickets in the next couple of overs, the most silly that of Kamran Akmal who didn't seem to have a clue and just kept running back to the dugout. There was a bit of humor when a ball bounced off Yusuf Pathan's helmet and they took a run as it was caught behind. Despite the appeal, the wicket was not given, and a leg bye not signalled at the time, though registered soon afterward. Yusuf Pathan helped push up the run rate with some forceful shots, gaining 14 runs off the 10th over. His luck continued as a crucial catch was dropped by Raina off Muralitharan's first over.

Despite the run rate not quite rising, the game seemed destined to go down to the wire even after Pathan stepped up the pace in the 12th over with a couple of back to back sixes. Muralitharan broke the Shane Watson-Pathan partnership in the 14th over, giving some hope to Chennai. Pathan became a bit more cautious after this, but not for long. Mohammed Kaif and Ravindra Jadeja went for consecutive dismissals, and despite another stroke of luck in a missed run out, Yusuf Pathan was run out in the 17th over for 56. Sohail Tanvir and Shane Warne dribbled singles off each ball, and needed 8 off the final over in a midnight finish. The scores were level off the final ball, and Rajasthan took a boundary.

The victory was an exciting moment. The teams were visibly tensed, and it was an emotional scene. It was also time to bid adieu to some of the most sustained television watching one has done for a while, and the many events and characters that populated the mediascape. From a little child's best friend to the never-say-die Sanju, the mind-numbing repetition of advertisements ensured the audience will recall the spots and characters, if not the messages or brands. One of my favorites was the inspiring 'The World Never Sleeps...Citi Never Sleeps' one.

The non-playing action has been as intense as that on the field. We've had fulminations against the cheerleaders, the Indian Premier Legs, as it were, and opinions about the changing order of world cricket. We've had tragedy in the form of the Jaipur bomb blasts, and on the other hand, shared sub-continental pride in Pakistani players that gives one much hope. Slapgate is better glossed over in the annals of history, although one expects it may still have repercussions in the main Indian team.

Next year will be another time. The teams will look to make changes and treat the first season as a learning experience, where they had to improvise as they went along. There will be greater focus on consistency and teamwork. Significant changes are likely, from team composition to playing styles. The value o the international players has been proven, although local players have done more than one might have expected too. The IPL management might shake things up, the better to improve and sustain TRPs. The owners will look for ways to improve the revenue productivity, as it were. A few icons will possibly be replaced or retire. Challengers to the IPL might arise, from the EPL to a revamped ICL.

It is equally likely we will see changes in the international team, with some old hands making way for younger players who have shown promise. The BCCI could look at offering Shane Warne a contract.

Aaman Lamba is the Publisher of Desicritics.org, a Blogcritics network site. He also blogs, more infrequently nowadays, at Audit Trails Of Self
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Rajasthan Royals Win IPL Twenty20 Championship Off Final Ball

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Author: Aaman Lamba

 

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#1
Aaman
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June 1, 2008
03:24 PM

Post-game commentary with Adi Godrej, commentator says 'is this the end of that boring ODI format?' Interesting thought - why have a 50-over version, why not the test and the Twenty20?

#2
temporal
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June 1, 2008
07:05 PM

aaman:

do you think Twenty20's popularity is universal? is it here to stay?

i think it would take a few years to consolidate and if it succeeds then ODI's would be history

for now much depends on this format's commercial viability in other markets

#3
Chandra
June 2, 2008
06:01 AM

T

At the end, everybody was waiting for the tournament to end. More so if your team was not playing the final or got kicked out earlier. They will need to shorten this thing and need to have good anti-corruption measures in place. One inexplicable decision yesterday- To send kapugedera instead of badrinath defied logic. When asked- Dhoni said that the coach took the decision. Nobody knows why the coach took this decision. I ran through the stats in every possible way, I cannot find one reason why Kapu was sent ahead of Badri. In the context of the match - kapu scored 8 runs in 2 overs of the slog overs. badri scored nearly the same number of runs in 2 balls. In fact, in a previous match, badri scored almost 30 runs in two overs. As I said, almost every single stat did not justify the Kapu decision. If one player/coach can have such a huge influence on the match, corruption can become a huge issue, particularly so if you are getting paid $ 30000 when rest of your colleagues are getting paid half a million dollars. Food for thought!!!

My article is still lying in pending mode...chaapna hai ki nahin? Thanks

rgs

#4
Harry
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June 14, 2008
12:45 PM

Loved the way IPL happened in India! Really! Shane Warne proved once again that good cricket always wins!

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