The biggest Carnival of cricket has come to an end & Kolkata Knight Riders has emerged the champions of IPL for the second time. It was a great journey for KKR this year. KKR’s UAE leg was not so good as they had only two wins in that leg but their losses were close though. KKR’s problems during the UAE leg was that all of their experienced batsmen like Gambhir, Kallis, Uthappa & Pathan were not in best of their forms. Gambhir started IPL with three ducks, Kallis was not having good time with bat or ball, Pathan was good for only 20s & 30s & Uthappa didn’t knew that at which no he is going to bat. Youngsters like Manish Pandey & Surya Kumar Yadav were only positives for KKR in UAE leg.
I wrote off KKR after UAE league as their strategies were not going right & they were not converting their close matches into the wins. Gambhir was back in form before Indian leg started & that was awesome thing for them. They had to restartegise things & they did that in Indian leg. First thing they changed was opening combination, they tried the combination of Gambhir & Uthappa & it proved to be blessing in disguise for them. Gambhir continued his good form & Uthappa batted as if he wanted to open from ages. Gambhir started Indian leg with few consecutive half centuries & Uthappa was unstoppable as he scored 40+ in each inning of Indian leg except the final. Both these openers were winning the games single handedly for KKR & that gave them the belief of winning the IPL.
These consecutive half centuries of Gambhir made him get noticed as a captain too. I have always rated Gambhir higher than Dhoni as far as captaincy is concerned. Gambhir don’t play wild gambles, he just play with his team’s strengths. KKR wasn’t even looking in the race of playoffs at the start of Indian leg finished second on the points table in the league stage & Gambhir played a very important role in it. In playoffs they faced KXIP best team of league stage but KKR was the only team to defeat KXIP in league matches so they were high on confidence & that took them to final.
The way KXIP has played through out the tournament it was expected of them to be in the final & they were in the final against KKR in Bangalore. KXIP was certainly the favorites at chinnaswamy as the wicket was batsmen’s paradise as usual but momentum was with KKR as they had already beaten KXIP three times in the tournament by then. Moreover KKR had Manish Pandey who knew this ground inside out & Manish played his best innings of IPL. Manish Pandey’s 94 allowed KKR to clinch the title for the second time. KKR’s journey proved that if you believe in yourself, you can win over the world.
Every year IPL gets bigger & better. IPL 7’s contibution to world cricket is that now teams believe that the target of 200 can be chased within 15 overs. IPL give birth to lots of stars every year & also give a new direction to the careers of out of form players. So lots of knights were were born this year as well not only from KKR but from other teams as well. Next IPL is going to be bigger and better but unfortunately I have to wait for the next year to witness it.