Mumbai are the new IPL champions, and deservingly so, after a big win over the Chennai team. In a short format like T20, any win over 10 runs means a big win since the usual asking rate is between seven and 10 runs an over, and a 23 run victory signifies that the chasing team would have needed another couple of overs at least, to get to the target.
The Mumbai team beat the Chennai team thrice out of the four times they met this season, and so they were clearly the superior side.
Cricket being the great leveller it is, showed that just as players can fall from heights to the earth, they can also rise from the depths, as Lasith Malinga's first over showed.
He got through the defence of the orange cap holder Mike Hussey with a fast swinging delivery, and then bowled a perfect bouncer to get rid of Raina off the very next ball.
Rohit Sharma’s field placing was spot on. Remember, it was the unbeaten partnership between these two in the first qualifier that had propelled Chennai to the final.
Inexplicably, the Chennai skipper Dhoni batted at number seven where it was impossible to repair the damage, and though he batted valiantly, it was too little too late.
He is a much better batsman than Bravo and Jadeja and should have come in ahead of them, and then knowing that these two were still to come behind him along with Albie Morkel, he could have had more overs to repair the damage caused by the loss of his two stalwarts, Hussey and Raina.
Mumbai owe a big thanks to Kieron Pollard who saved their blushes time and again in the tournament. He has come good when the team needed it most, and not just with the bat, but also with the ball, and his superlative fielding has electrified the stadia wherever he has played.
He may not have won the most valuable player award, but there is no doubt that, if you don’t go by cold statistics, he was the man of the tournament.
The IPL final was disappointing especially after the close finishes earlier throughout the tournament. There was some terrific cricket played since that first ball when Brett Lee knocked out the off stump of Unmukt Chand.
What the tournament showed was that India’s young players have a long way to go as far as coping with pressure situations is concerned, and hopefully this event will be a learning curve for them not just on the field, but also off it.