Sun rises on King Warner's men

The underlying theme of team work versus gladiators was there all season with two new teams in the mix who made IPL season-9 somewhat special.

It may not have been the most memorable of finals, but for sheer effort of the teams, both desperate to get their hands on the trophy for the first time, may have been unmatched in the last few seasons. The underlying theme of team work versus gladiators was there all season with two new teams in the mix who made IPL season-9 somewhat special.

As fancied combinations like the defending champions bit the dust, so too the limited-overs genius captain’s team, there was plenty of schadenfreude flying around. There was, of course, none of that after the final where the victor and the vanquished felt they had given it all as eight runs separated them on a manic batting day.

The end result may have been spotted with a number of overs to go, particularly after the prolific Virat Kohli and the innovative AB de Villiers fell in quick succession. What really separated the teams was the end overs bowled by the peerless yorker length of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the fine understanding of change of pace in one so young in “The Fizz” Rahman for the new champion Sunrisers, Hyderabad. To counter them, RCB had to be far more ahead than they were even after that frenetic opening stand dominated by the one and only Chris Gayle, whose lusty hitting forced Kohli to play second fiddle. More than a run a ball in the final four overs would have been tough to get. RCB were just not ahead of the curve despite Kohli’s brilliance after Gayle blew it.

David Warner’s call at the toss was unusual too considering the form book of IPL-9 in which the chasers were the victors more often, sometimes in daring defiance of big “asks.” The quality of pitches as well as the steadier nerves of chasers was the clear highlight of the preliminary league. The key matches were also about the chase, with ABD’s miraculous rescue of RCB from the depths of 68/6 and Warner’s lone hand of an unbeaten 96* defining who would meet in the final.

So far as leading from the front went, there could not have been a better final with both skippers setting a great example, in leading their teams with certain sangfroid as the runs flowed and in setting up that flood of runs themselves.
It was something of a pity then that two boundary hits alone should separate the two teams at the finish in a season in which the sponsored “maximum” was a record breaking figure. A closer finish would have made this a thriller to remember.

In the early days of IPL, the city of Hyderabad knew what two committed Aussies could do on behalf of the whole XI. If Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds could inspire nine not so great colleagues into winning the title for Deccan Chargers, David Warner showed he could do it virtually alone. But then had another Aussie turn up on the big night in Ben Cutting who cut to the chase as it were in blasting that quickfire 39 which gave the defenders the highest ever total in a final. Known as a bowling team, the Sunrisers could not have asked for more.

There was certain freshness to the contest between these two teams as opposed to say the Chennai Super Kings playing Mumbai Indians in the final or KKR versus any one of the big two.

A new champion was needed lest staleness creep into a league that will turn all of 10 next season, which means the 11th will see a lot of churning once again as the old favourites return to the league.

To stay relevant, the IPL has to keep reinventing itself to whatever extent possible. The combinations change but within the same lot of players, which means fans sometimes get confused. No doubt, tribal loyalties are built up around clubs in sport. But to get to the levels soccer has, the IPL has a long way to go. Not even the fat royalty cheques can hide the fact that cricket has some catching up to do.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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