In a thrilling match of fluctuating fortunes, which went right down to the last ball of the last over, the Deccan Chargers overcame the Royal Challengers Bangalore to lift the DLF IPL trophy. The team which last season had finished in the utter last position, this season won this cricketing extravaganza in South Africa. That is cricket, folks!
Eight teams, 59 matches, hundreds of breathtaking moments, thousands of runs, millions of dollars, and hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide. And it all came down to this one match this evening. The stage was set in the Bull Ring for the final of the IPL.
Royal Challengers won the toss and elected to field first. A decision which had been the key to success for them in the past couple of matches.
And it couldn’t get any better than this. Royal Challengers captain Anil Kumble decided to bowl the first over to his opposing team captain Adam Gilchrist.
But the Challengers drew first blood, as Kumble bowled Gilchrist in the first over itself for a duck, drenching the Bangalore camp in ecstasy. That was the perfect start.
But Kumble reserved himself for later overs, as he then brought on his seamers. He rotated the bowlers well, and the Royal Challengers succeeded in keeping Gibbs quiet in the opening overs. In fact, it was the worst start, in terms of run-rate for the Deccan Chargers in the entire tournament.
Just when you thought the Royal Challengers had a tight grip on the match, out came the fiery Australian batsman Andrew Symonds. Right away as he smashed the first ball he faced to the boundary line for four, he let the Challengers know, that he was out there on a mission.
Symonds took control of the game, hitting boundaries at will. And when Rahul Dravid dropped a sitter, and gave Symonds a second chance, it seemed as though nothing could stop the Aussie from unleashing hell upon the Challengers.
But again, the great warrior Kumble brought himself on, and sure enough, in just a couple of balls dismissed Symonds for 33 runs, albeit in a rather awkward fashion.
Gibbs was not his usual self today, but he kept the scoreboard ticking and stood strong at the other end. He was joined by Rohit Sharma, who has been in prolific form this season. He scored a handy 24 of 23 balls.
But the Royal Challengers bowled well in the last few overs, and never allowed the Deccan Chargers to get away. R. Vinay Kumar bowled well finishing his quota of 4 overs with figures of 2/30. But Pravin Kumar had a bad day at the office, bowling a number of wides, and finishing with figures of 0/43.
Anil Kumble was the pick of the bowlers, as he finished his overs with excellent figures of 4/16. Right at the start of the tournament, he had taken 5/5 and in this match he again showed why he is such a respected and talented cricketer.
Gibbs managed to get his fifty, but never got the strike in the last few crucial balls. He remained not out with a score of 53 off 48 balls. The Chargers scored just scored 9 runs off the last ball, and set a total of 143 runs to chase for the Royal Challengers.
The Royal Challengers, in reply, started cautiously. Maybe it was nothing but pure pressure, due to which the hero of last two matches for the Challengers, Manish Pandey, was extraordinarily quiet at the start.
But soon enough, it was the South African Jacque Kallis, who took the initiative and hit a couple of good strokes. But just when it looked that he would steal the show, he dragged one on to the stumps. Not much later, Manish Pandey also returned to the pavilion having scored just 4 runs off 8 balls.
You want entertainment? You got it! Roelef vd Merwe walked out to the crease, and right from the first ball, we knew, he was not there to be a spectator.
It was rather hysterical to watch the calm, composed and traditional Rahul Dravid at one end, and the eccentric, crafty and aggressive Merwe at the other. But that’s the magic that worked. Merwe took special affection to a Ryan Harris over and smashed him for two sixes.
He didn’t care who was bowling, or what length the ball was, or where the field was. He gave it his all, and wanted to smashed every ball out of the stadium. Merwe scored a quick-fire 32 off just 21 balls, but was out stumped off the bowling of Pragyan Ojha. Dravid also got out without adding much to the board.
But Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli continued where Merwe had left off. Together they built a steady partnership, taking smart quick singles and occasionally hitting one out of the ground. At that stage it looked as though the Royal Challengers had one hand on the trophy already.
But great players need great moments to show their greatness. Gilchrist threw the ball to Andrew Symonds, and he got Ross Taylor out. He had scored 27 off just 20 balls.
But the very next delivery, Virat Kohli got stumped & Andrew was on a hat-trick, but more importantly both the set batsman were out. Some might say, the credit should go to the excellent and alert keeping by Adam, but either way, Challengers were in trouble.
They needed 45 runs from 33 balls at that stage. Young Harmeet Singh bowled extremely well, especially since his first over had gone for plenty. He finished with figures of 2/23, having snapped the important wicket of Boucher for just 5 runs.
Wickets just kept tumbling for the Royal Challengers, and the required run-rate kept on rising. The 19th over proved crucial, as R. Vinay Kumar hit a four, and then Robin Utthappa smashed a fantastic six off the bowling of Ryan Harris, and somehow hope still was there for a miracle for the Bangalore team.
But Harmeet took an excellent catch in the deep, and Kumar got out.
Just one wicket in hand, 15 runs to get off the last over, and Uthappa not on strike. It wasn’t a pretty picture for a Challengers fan.
The experienced RP Singh bowled the last over. Pure adrenaline, unadulterated nail-biting tension, enormous pressure, and six most crucial balls in the IPL this season.
But no more miracles were in store for the Royal Challengers, as they just couldn’t hit the big sixes in the last few balls. Needing eight off the last ball, RP Singh bowled a legal delivery, which ensured that that the Deccans Chargers restricted the Royal Challengers to 137/9 in reply to their 143/6.
The stadium erupted and there was blissful chaos in the air, as the Chargers were crowed the new IPL champions.
No one would have bet ten quid on them to win this season, heck, no one thought they would even qualify for the semifinals. But they had what it takes to go all the way, to win, to survive. The perfect cocktail of talent, desire, effort, and some mighty good luck!
Congratulations Deccan Chargers, the DLF IPL season two, belongs to you!
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