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Highs and Lows

Oldies, Aussies, clowns, rappers

Assaults, verbals, the stat of the week, and the man who dropped the IPL

Anil Kumble sends back Andrew Symonds, Royal Challengers Bangalore v Deccan Chargers, IPL, final, Johannesburg, May 24, 2009
Kumble took four in the final, but it wasn't quite the bowling performance of the week © Associated Press

Why the IPL is a league for old men I
Adam Gilchrist's 35-ball blitz (two balls less than his age in years) against Delhi in the first semi-final was the innings of the week, final proof, after the exploits of Matthew Hayden and Anil Kumble through the tournament, that the older you are, the better the IPL is for you.

Why the IPL is a league for old men II
Another 37 year-old, Muttiah Muralitharan, took it upon himself to erase the dimpled smile from Preity Zinta's face. Defending a paltry 116, Murali came on and did what should really happen much more often than it does in cricket: bowl Simon Katich behind his legs. He later lulled top scorer Luke Pomersbach into driving one he could only edge to slip. All the time, he gave up runs as easily as Lalit Modi does an opportunity to make money. Just beat out Anil Kumble's 4 for 16 in the final for bowling performance of the week.

Why the IPL isn't a league for some old men
Glenn McGrath's best friend this IPL has been the bench. Incensed at not having played a single game through Delhi's semi-final run, he wrote in a column that he wouldn't bet on himself returning next season. Then he denied having written it. The bench was unavailable for comment.

How it could've been better for Kolkata Knight Riders this season
Charl Langeveldt: Having not been picked for the entire tournament, the best bowler of South Africa's domestic Twenty20 tournament was finally chosen for KKR's last game of the season. He took a wicket with his first ball, another in his next over, and ended with 3 for 15. The selection did nothing to dampen the belief in Kolkata that one of Larry, Curly or Moe could do a better job as coach.

How it could've been worse for Kolkata Knight Riders this season
Shoaib Akhtar: three words.

Who dropped the IPL?
Only the man with more Test catches than anyone in history, Rahul Dravid. A sitter at slip he spilled, Andrew Symonds the beneficiary: he was on five at the time, and though he only scored 28 more, it was enough in a match of thin margins.

Least likely recipient of sympathy
Ishant Sharma, who moaned: "The last one month has been very hard. Ever since I started playing cricket, this has been the toughest phase of my life. I have never been part of such a long losing streak, and being in a dressing room where there were so many controversies was very taxing." Poor Ishant? For US$950,000 it's not that taxing is it?

Assault victim of the week
After a splendid tournament, where he seemed an apt representative of the country of his birth, Dirk Nannes was finally made to look like a bowler from the country he will soon be representing. Fittingly, the assault came at the hands of Aussies Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds, who between them blasted him for 32 runs off 11 balls with seven boundaries.

Gambit of the week
Having seen what Gilchrist did to Nannes in the opening over of the semi-final, Anil Kumble's decision to open the bowling in the final was a brave one. It was also a clever one as it denied Gilly the pace he loves. After getting rid of him third ball, it was a successful one.

Aussies will always be Aussies
Perhaps it was the pain of being cut from the Ashes, or the troubles of the last year, but Andrew Symonds' verbal assault on Bangalore's openers in the final was withering. And though TV cameras indicated that Ryan Harris was saying "luck you" to Jacques Kallis repeatedly, informed sources tell Cricinfo he wasn't in actual fact wishing him luck. Later the pair joined forces to do a number on Roelof van der Merwe in between overs. Ah, those Aussies.

MC of the week
Rudi Koertzen, just before the final got underway. Talks are reportedly underway with South African Idol who are looking for a host.

Clown of the week
Danny Morrison, whose commentary interludes have increasingly become as painful to watch as his batting once was. It may look like a circus, Danny, but it is cricket, really.

Stat of the week
Shane Warne was hit for 14 sixes in this tournament, the most off any one bowler. And not a single one came off the bat of Sachin Tendulkar.

Most likely to be seen at the next IPL
The Mongoose: Expect commentators to utilise liberally the phrase, with a snigger, that batsmen are taking the long handle to the bowlers. Ho, ho, ho.

Unlikeliest bedfellows of the week
Akon and cricket. It boggles the mind.

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