Monday, June 2, 2014

IPL 7 : Knights reign The Kings,...its patch Purple over Red...KKR ....KKR....again !!

The Kolkata Knight Riders have done it....& in style.....winning the coveted trophy twice in three years.... Korbo, Lorbo, Jitbo re....Jitbo re....
For a team that was struggling at the halfway mark of the tournament this year, they came back with amazing belief in their abilities & won nine matches to the trot to romp home winners...... Kudos for sure. The think tank had done very good home work, & got the winning combination on the buzzer..... to go past strong teams like CSK, RCB, MI & of course KX1P..... it indeed has been a purple patch for the Kinghts.... well done.

In fact, in my huddle discussions with friends around for the finals, I must admit I felt it will be the Red Kings from Punjab this time. The reasoning, the rationale, the statistics & the team form said it would be the Knights, but somewhere, the heart felt, the instincts felt, it will be Punjab this time...& I rarely go wrong with such instincts, I must say....& the Kings X1 Punjab missed the title by a whisker....& they have themselves to blame for losing an almost winning game.... was it the nerves of the first final, was it the team composition, was it the batting order, was it scoring just 58 runs in the first 10 overs,.....lots of conjectures...but a golden opportunity in the offing lost.....some stories like this are meant to bring in tears. The most consistent team till the playoffs....the most fearless & inventive batting, one of the best fielding sides, a cool Captain in Bailey, Maxwell & Miller scoring from virtually every delivery & more...& yet!!

Look at the match.....the big guns of Punjab....Maxwell, Miller & Bailey(the murderous three in big hitting...throughout the tournament), contributed just 2 runs to the total !!!, & yet they amassed 199....incredible...& at the helm of all this were two rather lesser known players.....the duminitive Wriddhiman Saha & Manan Vohra...... Saha going unbeaten for 115 off mere 55 deliveries & Vohra a brilliant 67 off 52 deliveries. They had taken heveyweight bowlers like Morkel & Naraine & Chawla to was simply incredible.....& in chase, when KKR lost their best batsman Uthappa in the 1st looked all set for Punjab...wickets were falling at intervals. However, another lesser player from the shadows emerged in Manish Pandey for the Knights to slam an unbelievable 94 off just 50 deliveries....& then from nowhere a Piyush Chawla, better known for bowling, stole the show for the Knights, by hooking that awesome six of Mitchel Johnson in the last ball of the 19th over, & of course then hitting the winning boundary. Two years back, it was a certain Manvinder Bisla who tore the CSK attack in the finals with 80 + run innings to win it for the Knights & this time it was Manish Pandey.....SRK does live his luck on his sleeves.
I would stick out & say that the Punjab lost because on this day of reckoning their international players contributed almost nothing, despite having been in fabulous form right through the tournament. It was the bowling which let the Kings down....they had crossed the line narrowly in the playoffs, & in a couple of other matches as well, but maybe, they did not pay heed or did not have enough resources. 
It was however, a final worthy of every single moment....hard fought....fortune swinging.....& jaw dropping. 

The heartening fact of this edition of IPL was the domination of Indians as much if not more than the overseas players through the tournament. The matches were mostly well fought & close encounters....there was very little to chose between the winners & the losers, in almost every game....Cricket certainly was the winner. 
Saha's incredible century, in the finals, though in vain, was equally countered by Manish the bowling Aksar Patel was excellent for the Punjab, while Umesh Yadav was piercing with his new found pace for the Kolkatans. 
In the playoffs, Sehwag's masterclass century from nowhere against Chennai was equally contested by Raina, with his unbelievable 87 off just 25 balls...he would have won the game, but for the unfortunate run out. Hard hitting Yusuf Pathan's ballistic 72 in the play offs; Corey Anderson's 95 not out 42 year old Pravin Tambe's hat trick to get a win for Rajasthan against the KKR from nowhere, Robin Uthappa's dream run with the bat, having won the Orange Cap with 650 plus runs; Mohit Sharma winning the Purple Cap with 22 wickets; some brilliant batting innings by Sanju Samson, Gautam Gambhir, of course Yuvi & Virat Kolhi in flashes. In bowling Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Aksar Patel, Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav & Jaddu were stand outs. 
Heavyweight players like Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Rahane, Ashwin, Murali Vijay, Dinesh Kartick, all had a rather tame tourney by their standards.

The fact that both the Orange Cap & the Purple Cap stays home with the Indians, & also the Emerging Player of the tournament bagged by Aksar Patel, speaks volumes of how the Indians performed this year. 

Amongst the overseas players, the standout & the Most Valuable Player of the tournament was Glen Maxwell....he was in dream form in the early part of this edition with three knocks in the 90's...then there were Lindl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Warner, deVilliers, Duminy, Miller, Corey Anderson(rather late in the contest), McCullum, Pollard(though in patches)  in batting & Naraine, Morkel, Starc, Malinga(till he left for his national squad) were phenomenal with the ball.