As the curtain came down on the Champions League, HT encapsulates the tournament from ‘A’ to ‘Z’.
A, Anil Kumble
At 39, Kumble was the oldest player on view. Age, however, hasn't mellowed the fierce determination to win. Ask Manish Pandey how he felt when the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper gave him chilling looks when he dropped Suresh Raina in the semifinal.
B, Big B
Amitabh Bachchan came on board to endear the CLT20 to the TV audience. He might not have had the success he's used to, but his histrionics did have some impact as the tournament logged a better TRP.
Catches win matches, right? Wrong. Had Dale Steyn not gone for Michael Hussey's offering, the RCB might have been in the final. Steyn landed on his back while going for the catch and had to be taken to hospital, leaving a big hole in the RCB attack.
D, Davey Jacobs
Davey Jacobs apparently took the "leading from the front" bit too seriously.
The thinly-built Warriors’ skipper opened for his team and was the most consistent batsman of the tournament.
E, Enrique Iglesias
The Spanish singer made women go weak in the knees when he crooned "Baby, I like it" at the concert to kick-start the event.
The DJ just needed to turn on the number in the stadiums to have the crowd swaying.
The Mumbai Indians topped the entertainment charts on this front. Their fielding, especially in Durban, was hilarious. And guess what? They had Jonty Rhodes and Robin Singh, the best fielders in their days, as coaches. Aren’t you already laughing?
A support staff of Guyana bragged how the IPL teams were no teams at all, and how Trinidad &Tobago, the side that made waves last time, had never beaten them in their domestic contest. He was nowhere to be seen when Guyana kept losing.
The hattrick by Issru Uddana was the only pleasant memory the woeful Wayamba XI took home. The team, however, should be admired for accurate self-analysis. Jehan Mubarak, the skipper, admitted they still had a long way to go.
I, IPL auction
The upcoming IPL auction was something everyone had an eye on. However, Sachin Tendulkar played a reverse sweep. "It’s got to be about building teams, not breaking teams," he said.
J, Jonathan Foo
A lot of hype was built around the Chinese-origin cricketer and he was touted as one of the hardest hitters around. Alas, the youngster failed to measure up to expectations.
K, Kieron Pollard
It’s routine for Pollard to hit sixes. He did the same here. The only difference was he looked to send them as far away from the stadium as possible. The longest travelled 128 metres.
L, Lop-sided contests
Not enough matches went down to the wire, which is the selling point of the T20 format. The three weak teams, Central Stags, Wayamba XI and Guyana, made the contest lop-sided.
M, Murali Vijay
The Chennai Super Kings’ opener was one of the most consistent batsmen and was next to Davey Jacobs in the list of highest scorers. He was also quite agile in the field.
Peter Siddle bowled two no-balls above waist height that were deemed dangerous by the umpires. We wouldn’t know whether the Aussie speedster was annoyed with the CSK batsmen or the ball merely slipped out of his hand. What’s your guess?
O, One-man army
The Central Stags were literally a one-man army with Jamie How waging a lone battle. The skipper struck two unbeaten big half-centuries but didn’t get support in a single match.
P, Port Elizabeth
It’s fun to watch a game at the St George’s Park. While the crowd at the Wanderers back ‘away’ teams more than the home side, the Lions, the spectators at St George’s are ferociously behind their team.
The atmosphere, with the Warriors band and song going on non-stop, was electric.
It was amazing how promptly people got into a queue, without anyone around to police them.
Thanks to the discipline, entry and exit from the stadium was hassle-free.
R, R Ashwin
The off-spinner saw more highs and lows than anyone else.
There can’t be a worse feeling when you are responsible for the team’s loss, that’s how it was after he gave away 23 runs in the Super-Over. On the brighter note, he finished as the highest wicket-taker.
Spinners again upstaged the pacers in a T20 competition. Ahead of the final, the top two rungs in the leading wicket takers’ ladder were occupied by Ashwin and Muttiah Muralitharan.
The coin favoured Mahendra Singh Dhoni almost every time. And quite a few times the toss played a crucial role, especially on the slow and turning track at St George’s Park.
Quite a few players didn’t live up to expectations, but the most noticeable underperformers were RCB’s Ross Taylor and Cameron White. Not that they were worse than the other under-achievers, the fact that RCB splurged a fortune on them made it more striking.
The plastic horns that were all over during the Soccer World Cup were nowhere to be seen. The CLT2O governing council banned them, saying it wasn’t a sound of cricket
It might be the most talked about cricket stadium in South Africa, for journalists, it’s far from convenient. Not only is the press box small, one can hardly identify the players from that height.
The X-factor was lacking.
It was a decent tournament for the Indian young guns. While Vijay and Ashwin were at their best most of the time, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina too impressed when they got going.
Z, Zaheer Khan
His poor showing left Sachin Tendulkar at pains to explain how tough it was for a fast bowler to get back into rhythm after returning from injury.