IPL’s South African Safari
The cricket extravaganza finally came to an end and the T20 carnival now moves to England for a grander version. A successful IPL has set a perfect platform for the T20 World Cup and India being the defending champions adds more zing to the international tournament.
<p>The cricket extravaganza finally came to an end and the T20 carnival now moves to England for a grander version. A successful IPL has set a perfect platform for the T20 World Cup and India being the defending champions adds more zing to the international tournament.<br /> <br /> The second season of the Indian Premier League survived all ups and downs to give us all a grand finale. </p> <p>Now that it has ended on a high note, <strong>CricketNDTV.com</strong> takes a look at the IPL’s South African Safari.<br /> </p>
<p>First thing first, you will have to admit it was a good show put together at a short notice. Of course, the ambience would have been different had it been in India. </p> <p>Though it did not generate enough excitement back home as it had last year, but it surely made its presence felt and expanded its fan base globally. A South African fan flashing a banner thanking Home Minister P Chidambaram for the IPL shift or another poster asking IPL to return next year speaks volumes.</p> <p>As a competition, it was fiercer this time. There were so many close encounters that it’s hard to count them all. </p> <p>Even in the first phase, the points table was clogged at the top. It was just by the middle of the tournament that Delhi Daredevils dominated the top slot. Till the penultimate league matches of the teams, the competition for the semi-final berths was wide open.</p>
<p>The biggest disappointment was that the IPL missed out on India’s huge fan base. The city-based loyalty got limited to Television. </p> <p>Another shock was defending champions Rajasthan Royals failing to make it to the semi-finals. That it was the tournament-laggard Knight Riders who hammered the last nail added to the astonishment.</p> <p>Mumbai Indians, that boasted of champions like Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya, JP Duminy, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, were another disappointment. They started of well in the tournament but just lost their way somewhere. One kept wondering why they shuffled their opening pair when Sachin-Sanath were up there to send chill down the opposition’s spine. Too much experiment up the order dashed Mumbai hopes. Zaheer’s injury did not help them either.</p> <p>Stars failed to dazzle. Names like Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Sourav Ganguly, Jayasuriya, Rahul Dravid, and Virender Sehwag all failed to live up to their reputation. One spark here, one knock there and that’s it.</p> <p>For cricket fans across the globe missing out on a contest between Tendulkar and McGrath was one big disappointment. The Warne vs Sachin contest only added to the yearning.<br /> </p>
<p>The second season of the Indian Premier League saw some swashbucklers playing like possessed men and some bowlers charging like hurricane to rip off the batsmen on strike.</p> <p>Rohit Sharma, who was declared as the best under-23 IPL player, showed his all-round prowess and utility for the Deccan Chargers. An attacking batsman, an agile fielder and a useful part-time bowler who claimed a hat-trick, Rohit played a crucial role in taking Chargers to the final.</p> <p>Another Deccan Charger, who was looking to make his way back into the Indian side, RP Singh was a revelation. The pacer from Raibarelly is also the holder of the Purple Cap. He was consistent and kept giving his side early breakthroughs. Throughout the tournament he kept firing from one end while bowlers from the other end kept changing.</p> <p>RP Singh’s state mate Suresh Raina was one player who could give Rohit Sharma a tough competition. Playing for Chennai Super Kings, Raina was the fourth highest scorer of the tournament who gave crucial breakthroughs and finished with seven wickets. </p> <p>Raina’s teammate Matthew Hayden too played to his name. He was the highest scorer of the tournament with the help of five half-centuries. He was also the architect of Chennai’s wins. Providing great starts to his side, the Australia giant got close competition from his compatriot Adam Gilchrist. </p> <p>Yusuf Pathan was Rajasthan Royals trump card. The all-round had proved his potential last year. He just carried his form from there and played some brisk and result-bearing knocks to snatch victories in close encounters. Unfortunately he failed to fire towards the end of the league matches and defending champions paid a heavy price for that. Though his ‘Super Over’ heroics will be remembered for a long time. </p> <p>Two South Africans AB de Villiers and JP Duminy scored heavily for their respective teams – Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians. They were consistent throughout the tournament. </p> <p> </p>
<p>While we saw some exceptional game of cricket, there were some blips as well. A few incidents took place, which were not in very good taste, yet calling them controversies will be too harsh. </p> <p>West Indies pacer Fidel Edwards who played for Deccan Chargers rubbed his opponents the wrong way. He once targeted Delhi’s Tillakaratne Dilshan with his verbal volleys that the Sri Lankan all-rounder returned with interests after scoring the winning runs. Edwards didn’t even spare his national teammate Chris Gayle who played for the Knight Riders.</p> <p>But when Sreesanth is up against Matthew Hayden, it can’t be a peace treaty. The Punjab pacer, who made his comeback against Chennai Super Kings, was thrashed by the former Australian giant. Sree gave all he had…stares, words and of course the deliveries. He finally managed to get Hayden out but by then the legendary opener had done the damage. He didn’t stop there and called Sree an over-rated bowler. </p> <p>Sreesanth reminds of Harbhajan. The Mumbai off-spinner was his restrained best but he did shoot his mouth. While Mumbai Indians wobbled after a good start, Bhajji said he was not sure what his role was in the team. And all this while we thought he was supposed to pick wickets.</p> <p>And when a hint of controversy is there, can KKR be far behind? NDTV Cricket expert Ajay Jadeja disclosed on air that Indian players in the KKR camp were subjected to poor treatment by the supporting staff. Jadeja revealed how an Indian player was asked to come off while fielding and when asked why he was called back, one of the assistant coaches said, "You bloody Indian, you do as you're told." The player and coach involved were said to be Ajit Agarkar and Andy Bichel (bowling coach), respectively. </p> <p>There were also some reports that said the Kings XI Punjab co-owner Mohit Barman was bashed up by the police for misbehaving with daughter-in-law of a South African dignitary. </p> <p>Defending Champions Rajasthan Royals too made some unpleasant but inadvertent noises. Their two rookie pacers were reported for suspect bowling action. While Amit Singh was cleared, Warne’s ‘Tornado’ Khan had to sit out after few successful outings.</p> <p>And the tournament it self was in news for the contests it ran. Indian Sports Minister MS Gill slammed the SMS game in which fans made ball-by-ball predictions for cash prizes, saying it amounted to gambling. The game was finally withdrawn.<br /> </p>
<p>Yeah, I think he is a particularly over-rated bowler. And so he was a great target for us to go at. He always loses his cool under pressure and I think it was a good example of that (in the match) - <strong>Matthew Hayden on Sreesanth.</strong></p> <p>"I don't think we missed McGrath because he hasn't played in the last one year. He was not in that kind of form the way he bowled last year - <strong>Virender Sehwag on benching Glenn McGrath</strong></p> <p>Captaincy is getting worst out of me. I am getting very angry on the field, I don't know why - <strong>Yuvraj Singh on his aggressive side.</strong></p> <p>We came in as the underdogs and here we are in the final. We encouraged each of our players to work hard and they have done that, they have responded - <strong>Deccan Chargers captain Adam Gilchrist. </strong><br /> </p>