A Quote for life!

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.
Specialization is for Insects

Robert A Heinlein
(American science-fiction writer,1907-1988)

Monday, June 2, 2008

Indian Premiere League – T20 World War I

June 1, 2008: Jaipur Royals beat Chennai Super Kings to win the first ever DLF IPL Twenty20 tournament. This concluded the 45 days long series of T20 matches which saw many extravagant over-boundaries and shameful moments that ever took place in the history of the game. The tournament was all covered with controversies – the Harbhajan slap, the Ganguly-Warne brawl, the quest against the cheerleaders, umpire controversy with Mumbai Indians etc.; however, the end of all these was good – in fact very good. This is by far the most famous and most flourishing Twenty20 tournament in recent times. We can easily say that the best team has won the tournament.
Team Jaipur has shown high class in their cricket throughout the tournament showing the world that T20 is not only about thumping the ball every time. They were at the top of the table throughout the league period and went into the semi finals as number one team. They thrashed Delhi Daredevils by a mammoth 105 runs in the Semi Final to go into the Final and beat Chennai Super Kings by 3 wickets to clinch the title. This was the only team led by a foreign player. Shane Warne had a dual role to coach as well as lead the team which he did royally. He has been instrumental in bringing the cup home for Jaipur. Greame Smith, Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan and Sohail Tanvir gave him high class support on the field.
Team Chennai had a good tournament too and was also leading the league table for a small period. They went into the Semi Final as the second best team and edged passed Punjab Kings XI to enter the Final. Led by Indian Captain M. S. Dhoni and carried on the strong and responsible shoulders of Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Abie Morkel, Muttiah Muralitharan and Makhaya Ntini the Super Kings had shown swanky cricket to the world. With high percentage of wins in the league they were having equal change of grabbing the cup, which however, did not happen. They had to be happy with USD 0.6 Mn while the champions gained a colossal USD 1.2 Mn on their way back home.

Team Mohali and team Delhi had a lot to offer as per the team composition but could not impress the cricket lovers with their middling performances. They managed slots in the Semi Finals but could not leave any impression behind. There were huge differences in performance in the Semi Finals and both the teams had to accept big defeats. Delhi was led by the run machine Virendra Sehwag, who failed to switch on the engine at any point in time. Gautam Gambhir, Glen McGrath and other devils could not dare enough to go past the Jaipur royals in the Semi Finals. Punjab team was led by Yuvaraj Singh, the present Indian heartthrob who also could not perform to his caliber. Shaun Marsh shone in the series accumulating highest runs in the series but could not do much and failed to take the team past the Semi Finals.
Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders played below par cricket and went drown the stream without much agitation. They were of no much difference than the Semi Finalists who failed to make it to the Final Match, but could not feature in the top four because of inconsistent cricket and some close finishes. Team Kolkata, led by the one and only Sourav Ganguly started with a bang thrashing Bangalore Royal Challengers by huge difference but fell prey to Jaipur, Punjab and Chennai on regular basis and could not rise any higher. The absence of foreign star players like Ricky Ponting and Brendan McCullum after a few initial games hurt the team strength; however, some brave cricket by Salman Butt and the captain himself had brought the team a few wins, but was not enough to overcome the spirited Semi Finalists. Mumbai Indians started worse, with injured (captain) Sachin Tendulkar and four defeats in a row. They lost Harbhajan Singh, the replacement captain over a controversy with S. Sreeshanth of the Punjab team. They came back strongly as Sachin joined hands with Shaun Pollock, Dwayne Bravo and Sanath Jaisurya with consecutive wins, but a narrow loss against Team Punjab threw them out of the contention.
The two teams at the bottom of the league table were Deccan Challengers, Hyderabad and Team Bangalore or Royal Challengers. The Team Hyderabad was a set of promising individuals like V.V.S. Laxman, Andrew Symonds, Scott Styris, Rohit Sharma and Adam Gilchrist, who could make no difference to the outcome of their fate in the tournament. The Bangalore team was arguably a ‘Test Team’ with heavy pillars of International (Test) Cricketers like Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jafar, Daryl Steyn, Marc Boucher and Zaheer Khan. These pillars could not be moved and they remain in the bottom half of the league table. The Under 19 pair of Virat Kohli and Shreevats Goswami showed far better cricket than the senior test players but their effort was too feeble to break barriers like Team Jaipur and Team Chennai.

Along with millions of joyous fans, there was a huge lot of heart broken people too who did not see their favorite team win. I am one of them. I always knew that supporting one team may not fetch me a good sleep every night. So, to be on a safer side, I supported two teams – my home team: Bangalore Royal Challengers and my own team: Kolkata Knight Riders. While Kolkata was having the potential to settle for the cup, I was not too impressed by the composition of my home team. Later I felt that Rahul has one of the fastest Indian Fifties in ODIs. Also, Kallis and Boucher are from a team which chased 400+ runs twice. Steyn is the numero uno rated bowler at present. Pravin Kumar and the under 19 guys were also in good form and would add to the youth factor in the team. All these could make up for the overall team composition. Everything was fine; the only thing that happened was that all these stars failed to be a working constellation and they fell apart. The Knight Riders started well, but could not hold on to their spree. Neither the batting maestros like McCullum, Ponting, Salman Butt and Sourav nor the speedsters in Shoiab Akhtar, Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda could click together and see gold for their team. One thing that lacked in my teams was team spirit. There were stars that kept on shining in different parts of the sky and hence, failed to lighten up the night sky bright!
To my utter desperation, I could not watch many matches of the tournament. Sometimes, it was a wildly calling night and sleep and sometimes it was the want of waking up early in the morning to attend office duties. However, I managed to witness some great fights in the tournament which again strengthened by faith on Twenty20 Cricket. Heard people saying that ‘Twenty20 is also Cricket’ and I laughed – not because I do not think that Twenty20 is not cricket, but because of the fact that BCCI earned over INR 350 Cr within 45 days of the tournament. Well, even if this is not cricket this is being enjoyed by you and me and all around. That is entertainment and sport has always been a mode of entertainment to the mankind! Congratulations Jaipur Royals. My heartiest congratulation to BCCI and incessant thanks to Mr. Lalit Modi et al. We will long for the next season of IPL.

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