In the end, the night belonged to Mumbai, and Sachin Tendulkar. The Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings — which seemed a pale shadow of its formidable self, perhaps due to the fixing scandal swirling around it — to give the master his first domestic T20 championship in his last season with the league.
They also avenged their 2010 finall loss to the Super Kings.
“This is my last IPL. I had taken the decision before the start of the tournament,” 40-year-old Tendulkar, who retired from one-dayers in December, said after the match. “We have to be realistic… This is the perfect time to say thank you to my supporters and well-wishers.”
With a packed house at Eden Gardens, it was the fixing scandal, however, that was uppermost on people’s minds. Before the match, Indian cricket board boss N Srinivasan suspended son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan “from all cricket activities” and announced a three-member inquiry commission — a clear sign he plans to brazen it out.
Adding to the tension, Delhi Police sources said a team was in the city, ready to move in and detain “three to four players” soon after the closing ceremony.
Addressing a press conference hours before he walked on to the field to hand the winner's trophy to MI skipper Rohit Sharma, Srinivasan seemed to almost dilute Meiyappan's role in the scandal as he called him a "cricket enthusiast". He said: "He did not have any role at all. He never visited the CSK office. But he'd go (to matches). He is very enthusiastic. Let the commission find out."
That may not be the best way of unearthing the truth. The commission will include two members from the league’s operations committee, which comprises BCCI members Rajeev Shukla, Ajay Shirke, Arun Jaitley, Sanjay Jagdale and Ravi Shastri. At least three of them are said to be on very good terms with the BCCI president. Srinivasan has promised not to play any role in the appointment of the third member.
“The home ministry should look into this matter. This is beyond BCCI,” said former board president Shashank Manohar.
The Delhi Police, having kept a low profile for the past several days, promised to wrap up "final arrests" "by the middle of the week". Special cell teams are tracking the movement of suspects in Kolkata, sources said, "more or less" ruling out the arrest of any more small players like bookies.
The detention of the suspected players prior to final arrests, according to investigators, was the basis on which the special cell sought and got a two-day extension of the custody of arrested Rajasthan Royals players S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan on Sunday.
"The arrested players have alleged that four players - one of foreign origin - are involved," said an officer. Police chief Neeraj Kumar said "no arrests are in the offing" but refused to elaborate.