Match 60(IPL3 FINAL): Big cheers, chants of Sachin, Sachin reverberated across the ground when Sachin walked onto the field for the toss and 3 hours later the DY Patil stadium was stunned into silence as the men in yellow walked away with the top honours. MS Dhoni’s captaincy overshadowed the bravado of Sachin Tendulkar in the big final on Sunday. With this win MSD has added another feather to his captaincy hat. First he started the turnaround for his team with the bat and then he was spot on with his captaincy against a formidable Mumbai Indians attack. Suresh Raina capitalized on the two dropped catches to score 57 which is the highest in an IPL final. 58 runs were scored in the first 10 and 110 runs came off the last 10 which was where Mumbai Indians lost the match. Had Kieron Pollard come up the order maybe the men in blue would have ended up on the winning side. But it was the Super Kings who came up trumps by 22 runs in what was a cracker of a game.
Match 59(3rd place play-off): Gilchrist summed up the game for DC when he said “We have saved our worst for the last”. Although the 2 teams had lost their semi finals, a lot was riding on this match for both the teams as they had an opportunity book their place in CLT20. But it looked like only one team had turned up for the game and it was RCB. Deccan Chargers were abysmal, being bowled out for 82(Lowest score in IPL3) which was a result of bad shot selection and some tight bowling from the Bangalore boys. It was that kind of a day when nothing went right for the boys in blue. Anirudh scored half the runs, only 2 batsmen reached double figures, 4 batsmen made no score and the last four wickets added nothing which says a lot. Bangalore knocked off the runs with 9 wickets in hand to book their spot in the Champions League.
Match 58(2nd Semi Final) – Chennai Super Kings put up an inspired performance with the ball to not only defend a modest total but instead thrash the defending champions by 38 runs. Chargers had done half the job by restricting the powerful batting line up that Chennai boasted of to only 142 but they still had to complete the other half which was to chase down the score. But unfortunately their foreign stars Gilchrist and Gibbs batted in a manner contrary to their reputation, preferring caution over attack in the Powerplay which resulted in Chargers making their lowest score (23/2) in the first 6 overs. The required rate which was 7 at the start zoomed to 10 at the end of 10 overs as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. Deccan’s sharp bowling effort went in vain as their batting crumbled to be bowled out for 104 on a tricky pitch.
Match 57(1st Semi Final) – Kieron Pollard’s all round show ensured that Bangalore Royal Challengers didn’t reach their 2nd consecutive IPL Final and instead MI sailed through the finals and hence qualified for the Champions League Twenty20 to be held in September. RCB were in control for most part of Mumbai’s innings only to see Pollard play yet another delightful cameo to lift the Mumbai Indians to an impressive 184-5. It was always going to be a tough chase and this being a semi final only made it harder. Bangalore’s batting powerhouse stumbled yet again and never threatened to get close to the target. Even a limping Kieron Pollard was good enough to take 3 wickets and was rightfully awarded the man of the match.
Match 56: In the only dead rubber of the 56-match league, Kolkata Knight Riders beat a second-rung Mumbai Indians side to end the 3rd season on a high note. This win was Kolkata’s first against Mumbai in all three editions of IPL. Although KKR’s performance has improved over the last 2 seasons they still remain the only team to have not made the semi-finals in any of the IPLs.
Kolkata Knight Riders Innings
Match 55: Deccan Chargers thrive under pressure and Delhi Daredevils choke under pressure. That just sums up the 2 teams performance in the 3 seasons of IPL. Deccan Chargers who finished 7th in the first season shocked everyone by winning the second season and after having lost 5 matches in a row this season they had to win the last 5 matches to make it to the semis but they played like true defending champions outclassing each of the 5 teams that they played to charge into the semis. On the other hand Delhi who have been the favourites in all the seasons have failed to deliver in crunch games. After having reached the semis of the previous 2 editions they could not enter the finals and tonight when it was a must win game for them to get into the semis they failed yet again. There might not be any South African players in the Delhi side but surely they are the South Africa of IPL.
Match 54: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Dhoni came to the party when his team needed him the most. His 29 ball 54 blitzkrieg took his side to the semi-finals for the 3rd season in a row. He blasted 25 runs in the final 2 overs to remind everyone that he is still one of the best finishers of the game. Kings XI once again failed to defend a big total which has been the story of the season – their batsmen have piled on more runs than all teams except Mumbai Indians, but their bowling has has let them down big time. Having made 192, it was a tough ask for the Super Kings to chase it down but given that they had no other way but to go for it made the innings interesting. It began badly for them as they lost both their openers quickly but Raina and Badrinath got the innings back on track before Dhoni’s onslaught stunned the Kings XI at their home ground Dharamshala.
Match 53: Kolkata Knight Riders outclassed the Rajasthan Royals to win the game comprehensively by 8 wickets. After having seen the outcome of the Bangalore match both the teams were in with an outside chance to make it to the semis and in the end one team kept their hopes alive while Rajasthan Royals became the 2nd team to crash out of IPL 3. It was total domination by Kolkata bowlers as they restricted the Royals to a below par score of 132. Half the job was done and the remaining half was completed thanks to a solid 3rd wicket partnership between Sourav Ganguly and Cheteshwar Pujara.
Match 52: The table toppers Mumbai Indians crushed RCB by 57 runs on their home turf and the big loss meant their run rate took a beating but remained just high enough to make them favourites for the semi final berth. The match was delayed by an hour due to a couple of low-intensity blasts outside the stadium but once the match started the crowd were treated to some power hitting by the Mumbai boys who posted 191 on the board which in the end proved too much for the boys in red.
Bangalore Royal Challengers Innings
Match 51: Deccan Chargers pulled off a thriller against Kings XI winning their 4th consecutive game by virtue of which they are still in contention for that all important semi final berth. Put in to bat at the picturesque Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharmashala, Kings XI posted 174 on a wicket which had more grass than all the pitches combined in India. Chargers two star overseas batsmen Gilchrist and Symonds didn’t do much, but once again the local talent did it for them. Suman and Rohit’s timely partnership of 66 in 39 balls got them past the line. If you had to name a batsman who can be graceful yet lethal it has to Rohit Sharma who made a brilliant 68 from 38 and ensured that Chargers didn’t choke this time (referring to the game against Rajasthan)