R Mohan

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Best and worst of Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League had a dream finish that Hollywood scriptwriters may not have dared put in their scenarios. Form a start in Bengaluru to a spectacular show to a finish serenaded by Bollywood stars, the six cricket-crazed weeks had everything fans could have asked for. Here are some Three-three moments from the grand spectacle:

Three great moments:

Elation: The hug Warne gave in his latest incarnation as captain-coach of Rajasthan Royals to a young Pakistani in a new stadium in Mumbai captured the great unifying power of sport.

Effort: It's a bird, no it's Yuvraj: The Punjab XI skipper's run out off the last ball, Jonty Rhodes style, captured the essence of effort in Twenty-20 cricket with its accentuated do-or-die situations.

Fireworks: More than 60 per cent of the nearly 18,000 IPL runs came in boundaries. Spectators could not have asked for more by way of instant entertainment.

Three worst moments:

Misplaced elation: Shah Rukh Khan's jigs were so overdone they became an embarrassment. Curiously, he wasn't around when the Kolkata Knight Riders were bidding goodbye to the first IPL.

Unwanted commercialisation: The commentators were so sold out on the title sponsor that each six was a sponsored "maximum", each great twist in the contests another sponsor's moment.

Mindless rivalry: Slapgate will always represent the worst of rivalries brought on by the game. Imagine hitting a Team India colleague with whom he plays his international cricket.

Three best buys:

Shaun Marsh (Punjab): Cost $30,000, 616 runs at 68.

Shane Watson (Rajasthan): $125,000, 472 runs at 47, 17 wickets at 23.

Sohail Tanvir (Rajasthan): $100,000, 22 wickets at 12.

Three worst buys:

Ricky Ponting (Kolkata): $400,000, 39 runs in four innings.

Jacques Kallis (Bangalore): $900,000, 199 runs at 18, four wickets at 78.

Ishant Sharma (Kolkata): $950,000, seven wickets at 47.

Three fine performers:

Batsman (Sanath Jayasuriya): Was a live example of how misplaced all the arguments over how young a player has to be to perform in the Twenty-20 format. Like Martina Navratilova, Sanath had made a statement - "the ball doesn't know my age."

Bowler (Sohail Tanvir): The spell in which Tanvir wrong footed Chennai batsmen with his six wickets for 14 runs to prove that is plenty of scope for swing and seam in this format too.

Fielder (Yuvraj Singh): With a flying porpoise catch at mid wicket and an even better flying leap for a run out at the business end of a match, the Punjab XI skipper proved to be the fielder of the IPL.

Three great chokes:

The super choke: How Chennai managed to lose against Bangalore chasing 128 is anybody's guess. Sailing smoothly at the halfway mark Chennai tied up their chase in knots. Serial choker: Mumbai has some claim to choking consistently at the business end. Abhishek Nayar was doing everything right except deciding to take a single off a no-ball in the final over that cost Mumbai the match against Chennai.

Devils dared too much: Why take on Shoaib Akhtar's opening spell when there was enough fodder coming their way at the other end and against an older ball soon? The extra pace of the Pindi Express made stroke play hazardous and the Devils of Delhi dared only to lose.

Three fair play moments:

Not impeding batsmen: There were any number of instances in which bowlers made way for the non striker instead of running in their path in a big show of ball grabbing that is usually rated as ultra competitiveness in other formats.

Granting 4's and 6's: Quite a few IPL fielders were gallant in granting 4's and signalling 6's so that the interminable delays in referring to the third umpire were not necessary.

Commiseration for injured players: Anyone injured in action had plenty of opponents showing their sympathy openly. There was none of the Jeff Thomson style "I like to see blood on the pitch" posturing.

Three not-so-fair play moments:

Warne-Dada skirmish: The former Indian captain had no business in asking the field umpire to refer a catch to his TV colleague. Charu 'hot potato' Sharma: The Royal Challengers fared poorly. And the Royal Challengers boss dropped his CEO in the middle of the IPL. Fair Skin episode: The skirmish over dark skin at Mohali brought a bad name for the very concept of assembling cheerleaders from abroad at considerable cost. Such racism, if it occurred at all, had no place in IPL that brought together players of all colours.

Republished with permission from The Asian Age

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