It had to happen. The team with the best cheerleader outfits, the Deccan Chargers won the tournament.
Almost like a sign of things to come, they started in fine form with four victories from as many matches and stormed to the top of the points table. However, they eventually only managed to scrape through to the semi-finals with some strife because of a few dodgy performances. A Gilly gem in the semis meant that nothing else mattered in that match. But could he repeat that performance in the finals as well? As it turned out, captain took on captain and Kumble got Gilly out in the first over and ended up getting three other heavyweights from DC out.
RCB started their campaign this year by thrashing last year's champions, the Rajasthan Royals, quite comprehensively. KP's captaincy seemed to lose its charm when the team lost to CSK, DC, KXIP and Delhi in consecutive matches. His exit was the perfect catalyst for a team that seemed to transform under someone who's language they understood - Anil Kumble. After that initial dip, the only direction it seemed that RCB were headed was up. And that they did when they beat all the other teams in the competition at least once.
One would be lying if one said that RCB weren't in control of the final match till Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli were batting. Their fall in successive balls off Symonds' bowling triggered a quick collapse and Uthappa's final efforts to salvage the game were futile.
The interesting thing was that like last year, this was also a team with so many performers - Gibbs, RP Singh of the purple cap, Rohit Sharma of the Citi under 23-award, Gilly of the destructive semi-finals knock and so many fringe players who made a name for themselves. It was awesome to see yet another underdog team rise to the top this year like the Royals did for IPL's first edition, yet again under the leadership of a retired-from-other-forms-of-cricket Aussie stalwart.
It's the end of the IPL, no more daily blogs on that subject, and I'm definitely not going to talk of the after-party. I wasn't going to stay up to watch Shilpa Shetty dance. The cricket was good enough for me.