On a certain September 10th, when the rains were pouring down here in India, the “Cricket Monsoon” had started elsewhere in a land far away from here in South Africa. The two IPL teams, Mumbai Indians and the Bangalore Royal Challengers were touted to be the favorites of the tournament. How could they be more wrong? There has not been and still is not a great history of favorites actually ending up as the “Champs” The only team that I can remember of doing that are the Australians. The Opening match was a slap in the face with the Lions downing the Mumbai Indians. Perhaps that set the precedents of the tournament. The teams in this tournament can be grouped under three heads; chumps, also-rans (Name courtesy @diogeneb)and champs.
The Chumps are like “hmm” “ah” “oh” just fillers. This tournament certainly proved they dont belong to this stage. Lets start with the Guyanese who lost all of their matches. They might have fancy Indian names with mutations like ‘Devendra Bishoo’ et all but they did not have any fancy batters or bowlers. Along with them are the “Central Stags” who were tied with the Guyanese for the ‘Top Chump’ perhaps we need a super over to break the tie. The Stags looked absolutely pathetic against even mediocre spin bowling, let alone top class spinners. The sorry tale is that the Central Stags are just a reflection of what New Zealand cricket is right now, totally dried up. Wayamba 11 aren't far behind, in my eyes they are equally pathetic. They have ended up 3rd in the chumps list only because they beat the Central Stags.
There are teams who were 'also-rans'. Barring the 3 chumps, the rest of the 7 teams can beat each other on any given day. These teams just couldn’t replicate their domestic form to make it to the semifinals of the tournaments. The lions, Bushrangers and Mumbai Indians just couldn’t bring their ‘A’ game. Bushrangers were pretty unlucky to not make it to the semis despite winning 3 of their 4 matches.
Usually only the best teams make it to the Knock out stages of any tournament. Beyond that it is purely how the team performs on that day, previous performances hardly matter. The classic example would be the Red Backs. They have pretty much won everything in their league and ended up loosing just one in the semis to be sent ‘Down Under’. RCB were also unlucky to lose Kallis in the league stages and then Steyn in the middle of the semifinals. Yesterday the SA champions and IPL champions locked horns and we all know who won it. No wonder Warriors are under the Kings. It wouldn’t be an understatement if i say they were the 2 deserving teams.
Many players came to fore in this tournament like Davy Jacobs, Aaron Finch, Michael Klinger, Colin Ingram and Dan Christian. You can really see the dominance of CSK if you look at the ‘Top Scorers’ and ‘Top Wicket Takers’. Three of the top five wicket takers and 2 of the top run scorers are from the Super Kings. Also both of M.Vijay and R.Ashwin top their respective charts. To notice that both have been brought up in Chennai brings a sense of pride and happiness that donned the pretty much the same streets I do.
One highlight of the final for me would be when Vijay went past Davy Jacobs’ tally of runs. Davy Jacobs ran to Vijay during the overs break to congratulate him on beating his tally *RESPECT*. That is the showcase of Sportsmanship of the highest order and hair raising moment for every true cricket fan. I wish Davy Jacobs a great career ahead. People like him are gems when you see no balls being bowled to stop batsmen from scoring centuries.
Yellows seems to dominate the cricket world like anything. Not long ago the Australians were marching rampant. Chennai Super kings have fallen into that bracket with 1 runners up, 1 semifinal, 1 IPL title and 1 champions of Champions title. For me CSK carries Chennai’s no nonsense approach to its cricket. Perhaps one of the least controversial, devoid any fights and a very cohesive and consistent unit. If any team carrying those qualities wins, it certainly makes me happy. The fact that is is CSK just makes it special. The sad part is that, yesterday was the last time they will play as an unit together, thanks to IPL’s decision of including 2 more teams a fresh auction. For me they will be remembered as The Invincibles, everything they touched turned golden yellow. Period!