Sunday, May 24, 2009

It's Party Time for Deccan Chargers

Adam Gilchrist wins the day as Indian Premier League sends a signal to the world.Such has been the impact of the Indian Premier League in South Africa that you half expected Nelson Mandela to turn up and hand over the trophy over wearing a Deccan Chargers shirt after their six-run victory over Bangalore Royal Challengers in the final.


Plenty to shout about: Adam Gilchrist (left) starts the Deccan celebrations

Instead Jacob Zuma, the new president, provided the seal of stately approval. His speech was booed to the rafters by the crowd, who probably enjoyed that as much as the cricket.

The IPL heads home with a swell of pride in its achievement of persuading the South African public to support a very Indian event. The IPL continues to grow and its message throughout this tournament, "Can You Feel the Heat?" could be a signal to the rest of the game.

Next up on the Twenty20 stage is its World Cup, hosted by an England and Wales Cricket Board that has to hope the fact its tournament actually does matter will be enough to overcome the truth that they can never compete financially with the IPL billionaires.

On Sunday night one of them, Vijay Mallya, had opened his wallet once more to print thousands of Bangalore Royal Challenger flags, T-shirts and clapperboards. All were given away free. They made their impression, but evidence that the IPL is really about a good time rather than partisan support was provided by the sight of fans cheering loudly for both sides. Nobody really cared who won.

On the field it was a different of course. Adam Gilchrist is a campaigner. A winner. He was bowled for a duck as Anil Kumble's four wickets inspired Bangalore. But Deccan, who finished bottom last year, rallied with a Herschelle Gibbs half-century. A target of 144 was tricky on a slow pitch and Gilchrist's stumping of South African power hitter Roelof van der Merwe was crucial as Bangalore made 137 for nine.

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