A life has been saved
"Srinivasan shall live", sayeth Ambani. Chennai needed to lose this game for their "owner's" sake, even though their "boss" is in jail. The amount of rubbish that has flown out of Srinivasan's mouth the last couple of days has been comparable with the quality of the batting in the finals. His defence of his son-in-law has been in complete contrast to his lambasting of Sreesanth and co. The fact that both of them were playing golf together in Kodaikanal when the Police Summons were issued just adds more grime to the whole saga. And the Eden Gardens crowd didn't lose their opportunity to boo Srinivasan on the presentation dais when he was introduced by compere without compare, Ravi Shastri.
He must have been grateful to his team that they continued to abide by his instruction. "Please lose this game", he must have said, "for my life depends on it. Even though Mumbai are wont to lose to us in important games, if we win, their boss will annihilate me and the full force of the Congress Party will fall on my head." Given how folk like Pawar are calling for Srini's head and how close the Ambanis are to Pranab Mukherjee, it was imperative that Srini had to do all he could to lose, even though his main man, the man who engineered all this stuff, was sitting in a Mumbai Cell. And Chennai didn't disappoint.
How to lose a game
Mumbai tried their best to screw up. 16/3 within the first few overs. For all the praise Rohit has got for his captaincy, his batting in the last 4 games has been woeful. Equally off-the-boil has been Mumbai's initial batting star, KDK. Yesterday they were somehow saved by Rayudu and Pollard, who has actually batted more or less sensibly this IPL. Quite a contrast from the drivel we have been made used to over the last few seasons. What Mumbai did, Chennai could do better, and so they were 3/3 in the 2nd over. Badri actually had work, but decided he'd rather be on holiday, especially since it was a Sunday. Raina this IPL has been the perfect analogy to the stock markets: boom or bust. 3 Golden Ducks, a score of 1(2), and interspersed within those, also a 100* and 99*, apart from a couple more 50s. He started the event horribly, then seemed to be getting into form, only to keep reminding us of his frailty against seam bowling by scoring more ducks than any other established batsman this IPL. Coming from the "Tendulkar of IPL", it was quite a let-down.
Flushwin and donkey gone
And finally a commentator got it right, Doull in this case, when he said "money can't buy you brains" referring to Jadeja's dismissal. All of Mumbai (and Kolkata) shouted, or at least should have, "Gadha Ja!" Dhoni decided to wait till the last 2-3 overs to try and hit, lest Chennai end up winning had he tried earlier. Ashwin took the cake for the best supporting cast, scoring 9(18) to ensure the scoring rate went up from 12 an over to 25 an over on his watch. Chennai sank as low on the filed as they had sunk off it over the last few days. It was thoroughly appropriate then that they won the "Fair Play Award" at the presentation.
Sachin retires from….
The biggest surprise of the evening emanated from the lips of Sachin Tendulkar. He announced his IPL retirement. The other Marathas were so tongue-tied, they didn't even ask him the most relevant question, "Will you play the CLT20?" I'm guessing he will, and since the venues for that event are likely to be Mumbai, Chennai and Jaipur, he'll have the chance to play in front of the Wankhede crowd, something Gavaskar seemed to want him to do so badly in the next IPL.
Why IPL is great
Thus ends another IPL season. Each year we want the controversy to be more than the previous year, the umpiring and commentating to be worse (sometimes they were the same person!), the broadcast to have more ads and less cricket, the cricket itself to be equally poor and the glitz, glamour and girls to titillate the perverted Indian male. And never have we been disappointed. Therein lies the greatness of the IPL.