Youngsters did the trick for us: Gilchrist
After wining the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Johannesburg on Sunday, Deccan Chargers captain Adam Gilchrist said it was the power of youth that enabled the team's magical turnaround.
Chargers finished with the wooden spoon in the inaugural season last year, but came back strongly to win four matches at the start of this year's IPL. They faltered midway, but won important matches to finish fourth in the round robin and qualify for the semi-finals.
Gilchrist said the final against Royal Challengers Bangalore could have gone either way.
"The match could have gone either way. I thought (Pragyan) Ojha did a wonderful job, picking those two wickets of Manish Pandey and Van der Merwe," Gilchrist said after Chargers beat Royal Challengers by six runs.
"Harmeet is our golden boy. He played seven matches for us and we never lost. Tonight was a pressure game and he bowled well and took a brilliant catch in the end."
"We have had a number of those youngsters who have shown the hunger to learn and grow. Players like Harmeet Singh and Ojha have played a key role."
Gilchrist, who led from the front in the entire tournament, played an electrifying knock to crush table-toppers Delhi Daredevils and storm into the finals, where Chargers clashed with Bangalore Royal Challengers, who finished seventh last year.
"They (Royal Challengers) felt the same disappointment that we had last year and to see them turn it around was amazing. Full credit to Royal Challengers for coming so far."
Gilchrist pointed out that the wickets of Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli in Andrew Symonds' successive deliveries proved to be vital in the final.
"Those two wickets came at a crucial time for us," Gilchrist said.
The former Australian vice captain also thanked the organisers and the South African fans.
"It was phenomenal. All credit to IPL and Cricket South Africa (CSA) for arranging such a huge tournament at short notice."
He also thanked the Deccan Chargers owner T Venkatram Reddy for reposing full faith in the team.
"We finished at the bottom last year. But thanks for the support of the owners who kept their faith in us."
Gilchrist was awarded the Golden Player of the League for leading the team to the title and also for being the second highest scorer in the tournament with 495 runs.