- May 31
- 11:19 PM
Why Kolkata deserved to win the Trophy
One thing I learned from the finals of the 2012 Indian T20 League is that you could play well for almost 38 overs of a match and the smallest of things can make a difference. Like one no-ball for height. This shows that even in a 20-over game you should be focused all the time.
Manvinder Bisla was undoubtedly the trump card for Kolkata. Replacing experienced batsman Brendon McCullum, he scored a quick-fire 89 from 48 balls with an astounding Batting Momentum of 95. He was also the Top Performer with 79 points on the Castrol Index as well as the Player of the Match. I think genuine credit should go to the team culture that allowed him to go and express himself in a big final. There are certain times when teams are tense and uncertain in a final, it shows in the performance, and then a guy like Bisla would never have been given the freedom to go and play the way he did.
Jacques Kallis was another stand-out performer. Playing with an injured hamstring, he came in at number 3 and steered the innings along with Bisla. I think what he did right was to hold his end up while Bisla was batting. This ensured they were not losing wickets in a daunting run-chase. With all the experience he has, he knows what to do in any given situation. Sometimes, he tends to play defensively and that puts pressure on him; here, he was able to accelerate towards the end. There is such a thin line between winning and losing – if his slog had been six inches shorter, then Michael Hussey would have caught it. It really comes down to small things like these. With 69 runs and a wicket with the ball, he was second on the Castrol Index for Kolkata with 59 points.
The pressure on Kolkata was different because of the baggage that they were carrying, especially with Sourav Ganguly as an opposition captain. But Gautam Gambhir was given a mandate last year, telling him that he was not only picked as a batsman, but also as someone to take charge of this team and take it to where it needs to go. So what they achieved last year came up to a point and this year they took it to the next level. He would be a very strong contender for me to be player of the tournament.
Player of the Tournament Sunil Narine has been a great find for Kolkata. If you look carefully in the last two years, Kolkata has made some excellent picks; most of them have come out right and Narine is one of them. They picked him early like they picked Ajantha Mendis in previous years and they signed James Pattinson long ago. So they obviously have a mechanism where they are scouting for the right kind of players in advance. You can either pick players at the upward curve, or you can pick them up at the peak; thereafter, they can only go down. The secret is to select players on the upward curve. They got it right with Kallis and Gambhir. Last year, Yusuf Pathan won them the odd game; this year he still won them one or two games. My only complaint was they didn’t play Shakib Al Hasan enough. He is the king of the slow wicket games as I say. He could be better on other wickets too but on the slow wickets he is the king. The Bangladeshi cricketer knows how to bat on them, how to bowl on them and the fact that if they hadn’t played him, then they would have had Tiwary at 4, Pathan at 5 and the tail would have been too long. With Shakib, they have a player with enormous experience going into a situation like that. And on the big day, you want players who have handled pressure before.
Don’t forget Chennai though. They played well on Sunday and have been in the finals four times in five seasons and won it twice. Their team, over the past couple of years, was built around key players - Doug Bollinger and Ravi Ashwin with the ball and Suresh Raina and Mike Hussey, and MS Dhoni occasionally with the bat. The rest – Murali Vijay, Albie Morkel, Dwayne Bravo – performing well is a bonus. These were the key players and they struggled because Bollinger didn’t do well and had to leave after a while, and they didn’t have a good new ball bowler. Ashwin was a bit off colour; his economy rate wasn’t bad but his strike rate wasn’t impressive and Raina wasn’t scoring runs till the big final. So in spite of that, they actually did very well to get 17 points. A lot of people say Chennai got to the finals because of luck, but I disagree violently with that.
All in all, this edition of the Indian T20 League was the best across all the seasons so far and Kolkata were deserving winners in the end.
Posted by Harsha Bhogle on 05/31 at 11:19 PM
Harsha Bhogle is a very popular cricket thinker, commentator and writer from India. In 1991-92, he became the first Indian commentator to be invited by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation during India's cricket series before the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Harsha Bhogle has also been strategic advisor to the Mumbai Indians team of the Indian Premier League. Known for his incisive comments and honest yet kind commentary on cricket and cricketers, Harsha is one of the brightest intellects the game has been blessed with in its long history. Much like its ambassador, Castrol is known to be a trusted teller of truth. Castrol works closely with its consumers and customers and with the help of honest and clear communication, tells the story as it is. Always helping improve performance and always helping its customers win.Less