Mumbai Indians v Rajasthan Royals, final, CLT20, Delhi October 6, 2013

Goliaths beat Davids

Mumbai Indians' twin titles vindicated their strategy of chasing the big players, who proved too much for the less glittering names in Rajasthan Royals
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Mumbai Indians had begun their defense of 202 in the final with Sachin Tendulkar being given a guard of honour by his team-mates and it ended with him being chaired off the field by them. It was the perfect sign-off for the man to whom the entire Mumbai campaign was dedicated (#ThisTimeFor10dulkar) and who was retiring from short-form cricket after the game.

It was also a perfect ending to the second three-year cycle for Mumbai, who added the Champions League title to their IPL trophy. Mumbai were the most expensive IPL franchise when the league came into existence back in 2008, had the biggest name in Indian cricket as their icon, and have relentlessly done all it takes to reinforce their squad - sometimes even causing rule changes, such as the infamous five overseas players decision in 2010 which briefly earned them the nickname Mumbai Foreigners.

When Kieron Pollard became the hottest thing in T20s after the 2009 CLT20, Mumbai opened the cheque book to land him in a secret tiebreaker at the following auction. In 2010, after retaining four marquee names, they also splashed $2m to sign on the biggest star from their home city, and possibly the best batsman over six seasons of the IPL, Rohit Sharma.

When the 2011 campaign spluttered and part-timer Ambati Rayudu wasn't deemed good enough to be the regular wicketkeeper, in came the country's second-best Twenty20 wicketkeeper-batsman, Dinesh Karthik. It was a buy outside the auction and reportedly cost them $2.35m. In that failed 2011 campaign, the little-known Ali Murtuza was the team's second spinner, another department the management thought needed strengthening. Within 10 days of bringing in Karthik, left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha - the leading wicket-taker in the 2010 season - was bought, again outside the auction.

And for the thorny problem of who to open with Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai chased every flavour-of-the-season opener - whether it was Davy Jacobs after his strong show at the 2010 Champions League or Richard Levi after he made his name with the quickest T20 international century in 2012, before settling on Dwayne Smith. In 2013, they spent a million on Glenn Maxwell and used him mainly for carrying drinks in the IPL, giving him just three games.

All of which meant that even without one of the world's premier T20 bowlers, Lasith Malinga, and benching Mitchell Johnson, they could field a side in the CLT20 final with ten internationals. Only the seamer Rishi Dhawan hasn't represented his country yet, and even he might not have got a look-in if Munaf Patel's bowling hadn't deteriorated badly over the last season.

Mumbai's cocktail of talent, temperament and experience proved too much for their opponents, the cash-strapped Rajasthan Royals. Without the finances to secure too many of the format's leading players, Royals have relied instead on clever cut-rate overseas buys, like James Faulkner and Kevon Cooper, and on scouting talented no-namers.

That made them everybody's favourite underdog team in the IPL, and has unearthed some of the most heart-warming narratives in the tournament. Two of their heroes in the final were 41-year-old legspinner Pravin Tambe, whose story is the stuff of screenplays, and 18-year-old Sanju Samson who served notice of his abilities with a series of clean hits that kept Royals alive despite starting the chase needing over 10 an over.

Royals also beat better-resourced opponents by making full use of the home advantage, winning all 13 matches this year on a pacy Jaipur surface, which generally hasn't lent itself to big scores - only one team reached 180 at the Sawai Mansingh stadium during the IPL season.

In every Royals press conference the talk is about the strong team spirit, and how the emphasis is on the team and not on big names. That spirit had to be reforged after the spot-fixing scandal rocked the side in the 2013 season, and left them without four of their players.

Despite overcoming that challenge, and producing exceptional performances from several wild-card picks, and their perfect home record, they couldn't complete the final step of their dream. Even as Tendulkar was carried off the field by jubilant team-mates, he was watched from the sidelines by a morose Rahul Dravid, who was also representing his IPL team for the final time.

This time the Goliaths of the IPL had beaten the Davids.

Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on October 8, 2013, 11:01 GMT

    @mayank papuja ur comment that rohit was mere puppet & sachin was doing allt eh shadow captaincy is a big joke. think u were day dreaming. V all admire sachin but give credit where its due.The sedate start he gave dug a big hole for mumbai to sink, had it not been for rohit, smith & co sachin would have been licking his wounds rather than cherishing the trophy.The fact is sachin is a superb batsman but a very poor & reluctant captain. That's d fact & so b i,nothing to be ashamed of it. So dont just sing 'husanas' without any reason.

  • dummy4fb on October 8, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    Well this goliath beating david phrase is not apt. The bottom line is-' the better team on the park which held its nerve won the title'. Rohit sharma led the side from the front with all guns blazing & kept egging his troops to hang on when the opponents kept hitting at them, while dravid timidly accepted his limitations & held himself back. Stating RR lacked stars would b an insult to players like hodge,rahane, cooper, watson etc. Only thing is mumbai believed more than RR tht they could win, as kumble said post match-' credit should go 2 rohit the way he lead the side with example. give crdit where its due. Having said that, I have tremendous respect for RD as a gentlemen cricketer.

  • ChanderM on October 8, 2013, 1:43 GMT

    I interpret the article headline as SACHIN TENDULKAR, the Goliath beats RAHUL DRAVID (david with r added), the David. I believe the final T20 match for these two great Indian cricketers should not be celebrated as victory of one player over the other. India's performance in Olympic Games and other international sporting events has been dismal. It was performance of Tendulkar and Dravid that brought cheers to this fan of Indian sports. Performance in the Olympics by USA teams is easily that of a Goliath, while India would be regarded as David. However, in a 1932 Olympic Games hockey match India, the David beat USA, the Goliath by a score of 24 to 1. I doubt if this 23 goal margin will ever be broken in the Olympics where performance is measured in goals. I believe if victory of David over Goliath has to be celebrated, then India should take pride in this India-USA match. Ironically the Google search for blowout sports victories does not include this match.

  • Silverbails on October 7, 2013, 23:39 GMT

    Rahul Vs. SRT - Both legends, but for me there's only EVER been one true great here: Mr. Dravid. Although he came out second best on this occasion, he'll always be my champion player in the purest form of the game, which is Test Match cricket, where he CLEARLY is a giant compared with Tendulkar, in terms of match-winning performances for his TEAM. Sadly, SRT (especially overseas) hasn't performed anywhere near to the legendary Rahul Dravid. Here's to you, Rahul - we salute you and RR, on your final match, despite it being the MI night...

  • espncricinfomobile on October 7, 2013, 20:58 GMT

    I cannot think of many other men, perhaps Graeme Smith or Kumar Sangakkara, that could transform this broken RR team and turn them in to a solid team. With a distinct lack of star players, Rahul Dravid, along with Paddy Upton and the staff, did an incredible job turning this team around. Rahul Dravid, you are my cricketing hero and perhaps India's greatest ever batsmen. I don't even care that he lost, just to watch him on the field one last time was a privilege. We will sorely miss you! Maybe I'll indulge in the highlights from the 2001 Eden Gardens Test to bring back the glory days!

  • espncricinfomobile on October 7, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    I feel really sad for Dravid because he didn't get an IPL trophy and didn't get to hold the World Cup. Even though he wasn't part if the team he said the World Cup was his proudest moment as an Indian cricketer. I doubt the lack of limited overs trophies should bother him seeing as he was the best Test batsman of the past decade (yes, better than Tendulkar) but it is about time he got his due from the Indian public who have always preferred Tendulkar. We wish you the best of luck, Rahul, and we hope to see you soon as a coach for the Indian Test side.

  • BRUTALANALYST on October 7, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    I hope Mumbai retain Dwayne SMith especially with Sachin leaving they don't want to go throw hassle fo finding another 2 openers like previous years and Smith has looked better than ever this year first in IPL and now in CLT20 amazes me he doesn't get in the W.I 11 !

  • Nampally on October 7, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    Rahane's quite dignity & humility outshone Sachin's chairing & celebrations! I think he deserved the MVP honour for carrying RR into the final & fighting all the way. Yet his gallant knock was a forgotten whilst Harbhajan became an instant hero! Harbhajan was being hammered all over the ground by Rahane & Samson for 3 Overs. The first ball of his 4th Over was smashed hard by Rahane but caught at the fence on its way to 6! Right guy at the right place. RR batsmen became suicidal thereafter- giving 2 more wkts. to Harbhajan's club level bowling. Not only that, Dravid joined the suicidal lot, as 8 wkts. fell for 32 runs. RR threw away an easily winnable match- from 137 for 2 in 14 overs to 169 all out. MI were 104 for 3 after 14 overs. RR were unlucky in last 6 overs twice-while bowling & while batting. It was dame luck that ran twice in MI's way that won the game for them. MI would not even have qualified, had RR let Otago win the match against them. Rightly, Luck beats Dravid Twice!

  • royals1986 on October 7, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Rahul Dravid is an inspiration, even his presence in the team can make a huge difference. A team with 10 international players posting a total of 200+ but still winning by 33 runs is itself a shame to the much hyped players in the team. I am a Mumbaikar and woulld have loved to see them on top with some spirited performance. On the contrary RR played like Spartans who knew it was difficult to face a team with big names, but fought till their last blood and all this because of one man RAHUL DRAVID. A win for RR would have been a fitting tribute to this man who have given selfless performance time and again and served this game as loyal as anyone.

  • dummy4fb on October 7, 2013, 16:23 GMT

    as usual poor Dravid fans can't digest the success of others and start bad mouthing. its only sheer frustration on their part