Kolkata Knight Riders emerged victorious in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League, beating Chennai Super Kings in a tense final that ebbed and flowed one way then the other. It was a terrific advertisement for the tournament.
The Knight Riders join Rajasthan Royals, Deccan Chargers and the Super Kings as winners of the tournament.
Rather than dwell on the final, though, we’re going to take a quick look back at the tournament as a whole and pick out our favourite performers from what was a genuinely entertaining six weeks. The format may not be getting the global attention it seems to demand, but it does appear to be inching closer to getting its own mix right. There was a good blend of local and overseas talent at this year’s league.
It was a shame, however, that Kevin Pietersen had to leave early, Dave Warner had to arrive late and Stuart Broad was ‘injured’. My own view is that the tournament needs to be shortened to a maximum of four weeks and given a proper slot in the calendar. Will that ever happen?
Anyway, enough of the future, back to the past…
Player of the Tournament – Ajinkya Rahane
The 23 year old illuminated IPL 5 with some very impressive performances for the unfancied Rajasthan franchise. He hit 560 runs at 40.00 and at a fair lick too, 129.33. Rahane already has 11 ODIs to his name and will doubtless feature in many more. His First Class average is a whopping 68.47 from 50 games, so expect to see this young man become a mainstay in the Indian setup. Just as soon as Virender Sehwag calls it a day…
Performance of the Tournament – Mavinder Bisla
Kolkata Knight Riders had some decisions to make for the final. Brett Lee was forced into the side due to injuries, so a foreigner had to go. Atop the order it was Brendon McCullum who made way for Bisla. It was a bold call.
48 balls later Bisla departed for 89. The foundations for Kolkata’s maiden victory had been laid in a 139 run stand with Jacques Kallis. It was Bisla’s seventh appearance of the tournament and he’d hardly set the world alight in his previous six. In a daunting chase of 191, however, he picked his gaps, went over the top and hit eight fours and five sixes. It was a brilliant innings and, given the situation, was our performance of the tournament.
Flop of the Tournament – Ravindra Jadeja
Jadeja set the Super Kings back the princely sum of US$2m. For that, he scored 191 runs at 15.91 from 19 games. He added to that 12 wickets at 22.75 at 7.80 runs per over. Five of those wickets came in one match against the very poor Deccan franchise. As one of the poster boys of Indian cricket, much more was expected of Jadeja.
Virat Kohli, too, was less than impressive for Bangalore. Much was expected of him since his limited overs form for India had been brilliant just prior to the tournament. He began to show his talent towards the tournament’s end, but he should have been up there challenging for the orange cap.
Michael Clarke cannot go unmentioned, either. He came into the Pune Warriors side and replaced Jesse Ryder who, until that point, had been in the runs. The Australia captain is not renowned for his T20 prowess and did nothing to dispel that theory with 98 runs at 16.33 from six games.
Most Runs – Chris Gayle
The mighty West Indian only enhanced his lofty reputation with 733 runs at 61.08. He also scored them at 160.74 and never looked like losing the orange cap. He collected a boundary (four or six) once every four balls he faced and struck a scarcely believable 59 maximums – one for every seven balls bowled at him. Cameron White, Dwayne Bravo and AB de Villiers all struck 20 sixes, someway behind the ever impressive Gayle. It was a shame he was something of a one man band at Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Most Wickets – Morne Morkel
The South African new ball maestro spearheaded the Delhi Daredevils attack and claimed 25 scalps at 18.12, going for 7.19 runs per over in the process. Bizarrely, he was left out of Delhi’s knockout game against Chennai and Delhi got pummelled, leaking 222 runs first up. The moral of this story is ‘always pick your best players’. Always.
Morkel wasn’t quite bowler of the tournament, though. Sunil Narine, the West Indian spinner took 24 wickets and 13.50, leaking a measly 5.47 runs per over. One wicket in the final would have seen him tied with Morkel for the purple cap. It wasn’t to be…
We thoroughly enjoyed the fifth instalment of the Indian Premier League and hope that it finds its proper place in the cricketing world. It is both weakening and weakened by, the international calendar. The West Indies are poorer without Chris Gayle and the IPL was poorer without Kevin Pietersen. There needs to be a compromise somewhere.
By Miles ReucroftTweet
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