Monday, June 2, 2008

Winners All

We may have received the runners-up trophy in the inaugural DLF IPL Trophy, but make no mistake, we played like winners and bowed out as winners should. Cricket was the ultimate winner in yesterday's heart-racing clash between two great teams led by the most charismatic leaders in the cricket world.

All said and done, Rajasthan Royals throughly deserved this victory. Theirs was the fairytale script - underdogs to the core, if ever there were any. But the fact that the match went to the last ball in such a tense finish was sufficient testimony to the fact that both teams were so evenly matched that only the tiniest of differences separated them on the given day.

We can be proud of our team and the way it represented Chennai on and off the field. Not only did we take the fight to the Royals till the very end, we also bagged the Kingfisher Fairplay Award. And we the fans deserve kudos too for several surveys showed that ours was the most cohesive and loyal fan-base out of all 8 teams.

Coming to the game itself, I back our captain when he said we played as a team throughout and lost the finals as a team. It would be easy to point out to certain individuals and certain moments - Balaji's wide ball, Parthiv's mess-up, dropped catch by Raina, Kapugedara failing to get going, but truly the fact of the matter is the entire team fell short by that tiny minuscule margin. It was so great to see the team forming the huddle and Dhoni delivering his few last words just as he had done after the victory in Bangalore at which point Hayden, Hussey and Oram had left the team.

I would say we weren't quite able to up the tempo when we needed it in the second half of the innings. Raina seemed like the guy who could do it, but Kapugedara failed to get going and Dhoni couldn't get too much of the strike. In hindsight, maybe it was the wrong decision to send Kapugedara ahead of Badrinath. With the ball I think we were quite good keeping the pressure on through, except that Balaji had a forgettable night and the pressure got to Murali too. Of course that dropped catch by Raina was a big moment. But after every setback, we fought back with the wicket and in the end it was only a matter of inches that the Royals beat us by.

For the Royals it has to be said that Yusuf was extraordinary. What can you say about such a fabulous all-round performance except that hope he goes on to translate it at the international level ?

The campaign in the inaugural DLF IPL is over. But we shall be back again next year - with a big BANG - and hopefully with that little extra to take us over the line. I am not sure where I shall be next year. It was just luck that I happened to be in Chennai at a time when the IPL came about. And it has been one joyful experience becoming a fan of this team of wonderful players, but more so getting to be a part of the fan club that includes great guys like you all. Through the year I shall keep in touch off and on if anything interesting comes by.

Cheers !

1 comment:

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