The curtains were drawn on the 2013 Champions League T20 on Sunday, with the Mumbai Indians gifting a perfect farewell for the ageless maestro Sachin Tendulkar. MI became only the second team after Chennai Super Kings to win both the IPL and the Champions League in the same year.
While the League had its share of great moments, like the emergence of players like James Neesham and 41 years, 364 days young Pravin Tambe, there were things that it could have done without.
Washouts in Ahmedabad:
Ahmedabad and Ranchi were the two new venues in the CLT20 and these cities do not have an IPL team as yet. While the presence of their home-grown hero was reason enough for Ranchi to turn-out in good numbers, Ahmedabad did not have any such star appearances and this was the ideal time for the organizers to evaluate how far the leagues, both the IPL and CLT20, are popular in a neutral venue.
But rains played havoc and all the four matches were washed out, with one match being shifted out of the venue. The decision of the organizers to persist with the venue, in spite of the earlier games being washed out, backfired and the washouts certainly had an impact on the outcome of the tournament result.
Otago volts’ elimination:
Even if Mumbai took away the trophy, the side which played the most exciting cricket and won many hearts has to be the Kiwi club Otago Volts. Led by the innovative Brendon McCullum, they played an aggressive brand of cricket and were almost certain of making it to the semi-finals before a bad loss to the Rajasthan Royals dealt them a severe blow and Mumbai’s big win against the Perth Scorcher’s ended their dream run in the tournament.
Their 16-match unbeaten streak came to a halt during the tournament. It would have much better for the morale of the Volts and also for the tournament on a whole had they made it to the knock-out stages. A New Zealand side, which at the beginning of the tournament thought to be there only for making the numbers, making the semi-finals would have helped in taking the League to a wider audience.
Too many IPL teams spoil the tournament:
If the presence of four IPL teams was not damage enough to the global tag of the League, three IPL teams making the semi-finals was like a final nail in the coffin. While the outcome of matches is not in anyone’s hand, allowing the participation of four IPL teams was in itself a mistake in the first place. This is where the presence of a team like the Otago Volts in the knock-outs would have made a huge difference. That would have added a little variety and helped in spicing things up a little.
If they are anywhere interested in the sustainability of the Champions League, at least now the managers of the League must realize their folly and not more than 2 IPL teams should be allowed to participate in the League from next year, even if it is through the Qualifiers.
Clash of the two Australian Heavy-weights:
Not the clash between Hussey and Watson, but the collision that happened during the last over of the semi-finals between RR and CSK. With the match seemingly in their grasp, Watson and Hodge collided while trying a take a skier from Chris Morris. Hodge injured his knee and was declared unfit to play the finals. Royals were dealt a huge blow much before the start of the finals, as
Hodge had scored 109 runs in the tournament at a strike-rate of 198 and was their match-winner in the middle order.
Hodge’s presence in the RR line-up against a star-studded MI line-up would have helped even things out a little. RR certainly missed their star-finisher in the finals as the match slipped from their grasp.
Tearful goodbye to the Wall:
While Sachin bowed out of his last match in colored clothing with a victory and a trophy, Rahul had to be content with the runners-up medal. As with his last appearance in ODI’s, Tests and T20 Internationals, Dravid was in the losing side yet again in his last recognized match. Though, he was certainly not anywhere near his best form with the bat, he led his side well and inspired them through to the finals.
But what happened in the finals was a heart-break to the fans of the Wall and the man himself, someone who had served the country with so much distinction certainly deserved something better. Seeing the man go out like that was the worst moment of this year’s Champions League.