Indian Premier League Final 2008

Cricket had never been so interesting, if not for others, at least for me! T20 has ushered in a revolution for Cricket addressing the complaint that our unofficial National game just takes up a whole day, or sometimes five days of people who follow it. The IPL concept, borrowed from the ICL and a wee bit inspired by Football’s leagues, is now a runaway Hit. Even Bollywood has stayed its releases. I still can’t believe that a non-cricket-lover like me managed to watch most matches on TV and saw two live in the Stadium.

Sunday’s Grand Finale was such a spectacle, both for the game that went down to the wire and for the befitting grand display for the closing ceremony. To enjoy such an event, one needs the right crowd, and I we were a bunch of 18, some cheering for the Dhoni’s Super Kings and others for Warne’s Royals. Since my favorites, the Bangalore Royal Challengers were long out of contention, and my current city’s Mumbai Indians minus the pest Bhajji were also out, I chose to support our National Skipper Dhoni’s boys.

The fun started right from when we all gathered outside the gates, tried to beat the heat with a roadside lime juice and figuring out whom to support. Going in was a breeze at DY Patil, compared to the push and pull one has to endure at Wankhede. The stadium layout was lovely, had good seats, was well organized entrances and had clean toilets. I must say that this place was aptly chosen for the closing finale.

The closing ceremony had performances from Bollywood including Salman Khan, trying to promote his ‘Dus Ka Dum’ game show and glam girls Diya Mirza, Sameera Reddy, Amrita Arora and Shamita Shetty performing to Bollywood numbers and theme songs of the teams. This was followed by German acrobatics, laser show coupled with fire all around the ground. Action from the sky included para-gliders carrying logos of the teams with fireworks and laser. One of them who had the IPL theme landed in the ground too.

For the match, we had interesting posters. While one was “Dhoni RR ko Dho Dal” there was a creative “Only Super Star: Rajnikant, Only Super Kings: Chennai”. Another said “Dhoni, you gave us the world cup, just do this one again”. The best of course was “Sorry Boss, we’ll be late tomorrow” went on air and was commented by Ravi Shastri too. There were a few for the Royals too, either way, they had the last laugh.

The match was total value for money too. Warne won the toss and opted to field. All matches at this stadium had been won by the chasers with the highest total being 162. Chennai started off pretty well but went on losing wickets at crucial intervals but managed a decent target of 164 for the Royals. The Royals went on fighting it but lost wickets. Chennai may have just won it Raina had not dropped the catch or Balaji did not bowl a wide in the end which the keeper fumbled. Well, the Royals deserved the win!

The show ended with an elaborate presentation ceremony, including awards for Man of the series, orange and purple caps, recognition for the best under-19 player, the officials and then of course the runners up medals and the expensive winners’ trophy. In the end, the Royals go home richer by USD1.2Million while Chennai got half of that. Well, if Dhoni wants to win it next time, I’d say, dude, change your shabby cheerleaders. Talking of fun, check out some my list, something to take home from Cricket- ka-Karmyudh!

Hottest Cheer Leaders: Washington Redskins for Bangalore Royal Challengers
Worst Cheer Leaders: Chennai Super Kings; Mumbai is a close second
Coolest Jerseys: The blue and ochre yellow of Rajasthan Royals
Lackluster Jerseys: Deccan Chargers; who on earth thought of that color!
Most In-tune Song: Korbo-Lorbo-Jeetbo-Re of Kolkata Knight Riders
Anticlimax Song: Jeetenge-hum-shaan-se of Bangalore Royal Challengers
Gentleman Game: Sangakkara walks away though Umpire doesn’t call ‘Out’
Shame of the Tournament: Harbhajan slap-gate for Mumbai Indians
For the girls to drool on: Shane Watson of Rajasthan Royals
Cool Cucumber Skipper: Our National Captain Dhoni for Chennai Super Kings
Most Lost Skipper: Rahul Dravid for Bangalore Royal Challengers
Most Enthusiastic: Sachin enjoying every moment for Mumbai Indians
Feel sad for: Gilchrist from the Deccan Chargers; for the string of defeats
Most Energetic Team-Owner: King Khan for Kolkata Knight Riders
Unlucky Lot: Kings XI Punjab were on a roll and lost in Semis
Awesome Stadium: DY Patil, Mumbai, maybe because it’s too new
Most Good Looking Crowd: Mohali has no real competition on this one
Set Max eye candy: Former Miss India runner up Shonali Nagrani did OK
Awesome Live Entertainer: Star Percussionist Sivamani for Chennai Super Kings
Happiest lot after the Tournament: Lalit Modi and the BCCI for all the moolah!