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Moments that won and lost IPL 2009 finals - Suneer Chowdhary column
by Suneer Chowdhary
May 24, 2009
There could have been a better script, with R.P.Singh conceding all but one of those runs in the final over, and the game going into the Super-Over play-off in order to break the deadlock. Yet, as finals of a tournament as long and winding as the Indian Premier League go, it was a thrilling contest, with momentum swaying from one team to another, to finally resting on the team that, in Andrew Symonds words, did not crack under pressure.

There was not a lot more that the fans could have asked for, when it came down the result of the game or the quality of the contest. The match had its rich share moments that elicited the oohs and aahs from the audiences around the world, some which were potentially tournament-turning, while others that provided fuel to already high pumping adrenaline. The moments that made the match a classic in its own right.

Kumble's opening coup: That Adam Gilchrist was surprised that Anil Kumble opened the Bangalore bowling may never be known, but his dismissal did prove that it had taken a brilliant strategist to make it in the first place. What Kumble, the captain, would have observed closely from that Gilchrist blitzkrieg in the semi-final against Delhi is his wicket had been claimed by Amit Mishra, a fellow leggie, off a googly. That, of all things would have registered in Kumble’s RAM, and a plan formed.

Of course, no plan is complete without executing it to the tee, and Kumble's flighted delivery that had Gilchrist half-groping, half-stretching, was an absolute beauty to bowl at the stage. He finished with figures of 4/16 in his four and had a man-of-the-match award to boot as well.

Dravid drops (the cup?): In the final analysis, the 33 runs that Andrew Symonds smacked off 21 deliveries would have proved rather crucial, in turn, making Dravid's missed catch even more vital. Symonds had just about arrived at the crease, and for all my money, had yet to get his eye in. A beautiful out-going delivery from Vinay Kumar took the edge and it went straight to Dravid, in the solitude of the slips. Nice height and all that.

The white cherry popped out of his hand!

Roy was on five at that time, and went on to add 28 further runs, off only 16 deliveries, but more importantly, provided the desired momentum to a team struggling the momentum at the other end.

Slow Gibbs carries bat: That Herschelle Gibbs was a pale shadow of his own self was beyond doubt. That he played a knock that fit exactly in the right place of the jigsaw puzzle wasn't too clear till after the game, but the fact of the matter was that he was the glue that bound the Deccan Chargers innings. Without his half century, there was a reasonable possibility that the Chargers could have capitulated in the middle innings akin to the Royal Challengers who had nobody play a sort of a role that Gibbs did, on a pitch as slow as this.

Van der Merwe checks in...and how! A multi-utility cricketer in van der Merwe probably played that sort of an inning which could have been nipped in the bud ages before he actually was dismissed, but had he continued for another one over or three, the match could have turned on its head again. His knock had everything going for him, the DLF maximums interspersed with verbal duets with the ring of fielders around, near missed stumpings to an attitude that was so reminiscent of a Shivnaraine Chanderpaul - batting with the knowledge of one's own weaknesses along with strengths - and moments, funny enough to make it to a slapstick comedy show. And then he was stumped off Pragyan Ojha.

His dismissal pegged the Royal Challengers' inning back by an eon.

The Dravid-saga continues...: If it was the dropped chance earlier, this time around, it was a stroke that was so un-Dravid-like that it turned the game on its head. At 79/3 in 11 and a half overs, the Royal Challengers looked to have had the game by the scuff of its neck, only for Dravid to try and play a cheeky little paddle of Harmeet Singh. As it turned out, there was broad daylight between the bat and the trajectory of the ball, and it crashed straight into the leg-stump to send the Chargers a step closer towards a win.

Symmo's near hat-trick and the cool-dude RP: Ross Taylor has had his hand in two previous victories, but just when one thought that history was repeating itself, Symonds came to the bowling party, with a brace of wickets. Taylor was one of them, attempting his favourite short-arm jab, only to find a fielder at the boundary. If this was a killer blow, then what put the Royal Challengers into their graves was the next one which saw a smart piece of work from Adam Gilchrist to send Virat Kohli packing.

R.P.Singh bowled a couple of the business-end overs, and allowed the batsmen to take only eight runs off the bat, off him to send his team and the supporters in raptures!
 
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