A lot has changed since last year. Lalit Modi is gone. Two new teams have come in. The off-field excesses have been reduced. The on-field excesses have increased. One thing, however, hasn't changed. A virtually unchanged Chennai Super Kings side retains the IPL. MS Dhoni walks on water. Backwards. Blind-folded. On a tight-rope. And oh yeah, Tiwary launches the last ball over extra cover for a six. Too little. Far too late. No one even noticed. The fireworks erupt in Chepauk. Whistle podu!
That's that then from us. It's been exhausting and more often very rewarding to bring you 74 games of this IPL. It doesn't end here - watch out for our IPL 2011 review package which will be up on the site in the coming days. On behalf of the rest of the crew, this is Nitin Sundar signing off. So long, and thanks for all the comments!
Ah, for an IPL trophy that doesn't look embarrassing. MS and the boys get their hands on the big prize. The confetti fizzes away, the celebrations begin.. And they may have to go to the nearest TASMAC outlet if they want to revel in high spirits.
Now for the moment of biggest irony. N Srinivasan hands over the winner medals to the team he owns. Chennai fans might remember the scene in the Rajni starrer Sivaji where he garlands his own statue.
Dhoni: "Well you can say we saved the best for the last. Vijay and Hussey gave us a great start and stayed till the 15-16th over. Hence we could maintain the momentum and score 200 runs. You want to show intent in a final, and show you want to win it, and that's what the batsmen did. Ashwin bowled really well, he has real heart to toss the ball really well up even with just two fielders outside. Very contributive performance. Last year we struggled a bit to make the semis, this time it was more comfortable. I am happy to have also won the fairplay award, people say you need to play hard .. we showed you can play fair and still win it. Have been in India for the last 4 months, but never visited home. I am heading straight to Ranchi from here!" Well deserved rest coming up ..!
The Bangalore players walk on stage now to pick up their medals. Vettori: "Would have been a much better game if we could have put up a bowling performance like yesterday, but it was not to be. I think 160-170 would have been chasable."
Ok, this is beyond ridiculous. Punjab Cricket Association wins an award for the best pitch and outfield. What next? Most accessible ground award? Best looking jersey award? Most utterances of sponsor names award? L Siva would of course win that ... Meanwhile @thecricketcouch tweets: "Presentation ceremony longer than RCB innings." Haha! Rags send this in: "No Chennai players got individual awards of the tournament,that shows how they worked as team!"
Rohit: "Next year's IPL is going to be the most exciting one... because every team will be looking to get a player out from their team due to injury or something as early as possible to get GAYLE in their team... haha"
Gayle also gets what I think is the equivalent of the Man-of-the-Series award. No one else came close to deserving this. "Disappointed that we had to lose tonight. Congrats to CSK, they played better and deserved to win. The situation at home before I came was different. I wasn't even watching the IPL and suddenly at 3 AM I got a call, Chris can you come? And I said Yes. Some things just happen and change your life, this was one of those. I must thank the whole team."
Chennai get the fairplay award. Second time in a row and third time in four years.
Chris Gayle gets the Orange Cap Award, which is the funniest name for an award, ever. No wait, Lasith Malinga gets the Purple Cap Award. It is a plastic version on the cap, shiny and stuff. Pollard takes it on Malinga's behalf.
Kieron Pollard gets an award for taking most catches in the tournament. Just as well. He did precious little with bat and ball. Paul Valthaty gets an award for the best individual performance in the IPL. That unforgettable ton against the eventual champions. "I prepared well this year.. All credit to my coach and captain for supporting me." Valthaty gets a car for his efforts, and can heave a sigh of relief. Several balls went close to smashing the windscreen on that car today.
Iqbal Abdulla is adjudged rising star of the year. Well deserved. He thanks god and his father for helping him through to this stage.
M Vijay is the Man of the Match. Batsman's game, I would have thought R Ashwin deserved it just as much. "I was concentrating on just converting my start today, it hasn't always happened this season. This is a special unit to be part of. I love my mother, and I love this crowd, I love them all."
After much ado, Ravi Shastri bellows out the final presentation details. They have set up an odd-shaped stage for the event, but full credit to the organisers for steering clear of the tasteless excesses that were the closing ceremony in the past seasons.
On account of having winning again, CSK have ensured that next year's final will also be in Chennai. This could go on for a while ....
Chirayu Amin, IPL commissioner, currently in office says he is "Happy and relieved with the way the season went."
A doff of the hat for RCB. Easily the 2nd best side in the fray. And three big cheers for Chris Gayle. Pity that neither he nor his team turned up tonight. Meanwhile, the Chennai side does a lap of honour around the ground where they have won 8 in 8 games this year.
The commentators are interviewing the CSK players one after the other. Morkel now. Being a part of a winning team, for more than just a period of 2 months, as is the case with every other team, seems to matter a lot to these guys. Why are we not surprised? Chennai seem to have won IPL 2011 at the auctions, by retaining their best players and repurchasing everyone else. Even Joginder Sharma. It says something about the team's ethos.
Ashwin: "I am really enjoying bowling with the new Kookaburra. The ball the other day just skidded off my head, thankfully. That is a new phenomenon, and I was lucky! Always confident to go up against Gayle and take him on. I just took advantage of the mind game. I have told a few people that we'd like to be the Man United of the IPL, and we are getting there."
Bravo: "Great feeling in the side, to be able to retain the title from last year."
Bollinger: "Long summer, and some of us are tired at the end, but this has been great fun."
A comment from Balaji: "To cut the long IPL calendar short, rest of the 9 teams should take turns to lose to Chennai directly in the finals, the 73 other matches has no bearing on the result!"
Ramprashad: 'This is the last and final call for all passengers / RCB players traveling non-stop to Bangalore on Kingfisher Airlines!"
Vivek: "And just like in the world cup, a man from Jharkhand hits a last ball six, and a man from Jharkhand lifts the cup!" Good one!
Aakarsh: "A 58 run victory will help the CSK in their Net Run.. Oops forgot this was the Final. Dint seem like one though!"
Syed works a single off the penultimate ball, pushing the length ball into the midwicket region.
played with the spin into the off side, and a single for Tiwary.
short of a length and straightening, he plays it off the back foot into the off side.
tossed up outside off, Tiwary gets under this one and slugs it over long-off.
short ball, played away into the off side for a single.
Last over! The IPL is about to end! Raina bowls.
Srivatsan: "Sorry Deepika and Siddharth Mallya - no hugs this time..." Hmm.
another short ball, another mistimed pull. Single to deep midwicket.
again cramping him as it comes in, Syed nudges to midwicket and gets a single.
bounces hustles Syed as it goes down the leg side.
Siva: "You can say another Chennai local lad L Balaji contributed immensely to CSK's win." Not sure how, but well .. CSK have beaten the second best team in the tournament. Twice on the trot. Irrespective of what Balaji did against Mumbai.
finally someone holds on, it is Mr. Cricket sweeping in the deep cover region. Short ball outside off, he goes for the cut and carves it into Hussey's lap. Start the autorickshaw!
nasty. Bollinger gives him a vicious bouncer, Zaheer goes for the pull and ends up working it onto his helmet grill. Clunking clatter.
another drop in the deep. CSK are finally dropping their guard. Zaheer looks to hoist Bollinger over long off, and Mukund, subbing for Vijay, was running in. He should have held on low, but he spilt it.
full ball outside off, Tiwary thumps it hard but straight to long off
Arvind: "They could have promoted Zaheer up instead of Tiwary." They tried that once earlier in the tournament ...
Ishan: "Is the final as long as the IPL itself?" I know! We are well over time here!
as comical as they come. Tiwary looks to slug over the leg side, mis-hits the ball, loses his grip on the bat and the willow nearly travels further than the leather. Always a poor sign that, for a batsman.
Zaheer advances, takes it on the full and whips to deep midwicket
short ball, breaks away as Zaheer looks to cut and he mistimes to cover.
and he gets him down the ground again, jabbing a short ball over the bowler's head and Ashwin reacts slowly to allow four more.
Zaheer can't connect with the big hit this time.
fair to say I put the commentator jinx on Ashwin, he's produced the first Chennai blemish today. Fair to say it has come 3 hours too late for Bangalore. Zaheer lofts a length ball straight down the ground, Ashwin moves across from long-off and drops it as he lunges and skids sideways
Ashwin has completed his impersonation of Stone Cold Steve Austin. His figures read 3-16. Take a bow. #win
this time he looks to slog him with the turn, but the ball turns too much and he mistimes.