IPL Flashback - 2008: Shane Warne inspires Rajasthan Royals to surprise win
The concept was clear - slam-bang cricket coupled with a heavy dose of glamour and razzmatazz and you had a heady cocktail that had audiences hooked on to TV sets and in stadiums every evening.
“The man who has no imagination has no wings,” these words of the champion boxer Muhammad Ali pretty much defined the audacious new concept called Indian Premier League, which was the brainchild of Lalit Modi. In 2007, when ICC organised the first T20 World Cup in South Africa, the BCCI was still not convinced about the viability of the T20 format. But an epoch defining victory for the Indian team in the tournament changed the way the world’s most powerful cricket board looked at this new beast called T20 cricket. The result was the launch of the IPL the following year.
The concept was clear - slam-bang cricket coupled with a heavy dose of glamour and razzmatazz and you had a heady cocktail that had audiences hooked on, to TV sets and in stadiums, every evening. The tournament was a money spinner for all stakeholders involved, and it also led to some exciting cricket being played on the ground.
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The first ever IPL auction saw certain teams take the lead in terms of getting the services of the best in the business and the likes of Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders led the way in terms of popularity.
Bollywood became a key ingredient of IPL with several superstars picking up stakes in the eight franchises. The tournament started with a blockbuster knock from Kiwi marauder Brendon McCullum as Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders staked claim for the title.
But as the tournament progressed, Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings and Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals took centre stage with good performances. Two teams from the north, Virender Sehwag’s Delhi Daredevils and Yuvraj Singh’s Kings XI Punjab also put in exciting performances to stay in the top half of the table.
Sourav Ganguly’s Knight Riders faded away after a good start and so did Sachin Tendulkar’s Mumbai Indians. Royal Challemgers Bangalore were a mess with several seasoned campaigners in their squad who found the going difficult in the T20 format. Deccan Chargers, the team from Hyderabad, failed to fire completely despite several mavericks in their squad, who were tipped to be the players to watch out for in this format.
The first semi-final saw league toppers Rajasthan Royals demolish Delhi Daredevils as Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson put in a great show. Kings XI Punjab were no match the quality of Chennai Super Kings in the second semi-final and we had the finalists who were to fight it out to become the first ever champions of IPL.
The entire nation rooted for MS Dhoni’s CSK in the final. But a Yusuf Pathan classic (3/22 and 56) in the summit clash helped the Royals turn the tables. Fittingly, the inspiring Shane Warne was in the middle as Rajasthan became surprise champions.
Pakistani paceman Sohail Tanvir pipped Royals teammate Warne to win the Purple Cap, awarded to the bowler with most wickets (22) in the tournament. KXIP’s Shaun Marsh won the Orange Cap, as he finished with 616 runs in the tournament.
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