IPL’s Season 10 was always going to be a milestone as a total churning will take place from Season 11, with all the players back into the general auction pool. A last-ball finish with any result possible till the end made it even more memorable, but Rising Pune Supergiant may not see it quite that way as the match was also their last.
Pune’s Cinderella-like rise was one of the season’s highlights, their strategic shift to Steve Smith as skipper and the way the Australian bonded with Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a virtual two-man leadership show paying rich dividends. Only on the day of reckoning did they mismanage the chase on a slowing pitch, on which Mumbai Indians’ captain Rohit Sharma had shrewdly chosen to bat first rather than chase. An old and trusted IPL formula is to use Australians in crunch situations and trust them to take the pressure, but what happens when it’s Aussie versus Aussie? Mitchell Johnson handled the death over with aplomb, getting Smith’s wicket and holding Pune off at the finish, almost snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Mumbai Indians’ record third triumph must be immensely popular with their huge fan base, more so as it came with a tinge of sweet revenge after they lost all three engagements against Pune this season. IPL-10 may not have been as much of a hit as some earlier editions, but it helped to sustain many objectives, and proved whatever be the problems within the BCCI, it’s still possible to organise cricket and manage its logistics without a fuss.