Many Indian cricket fans would consider the title of this article a blasphemous one. Especially as Mumbai Indians led by cricket ‘god’ Sachin Tendulkar were in the final against Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings.
Especially as Mumbai Indians narrowly mised out on the semi-finals in the first two editions of the tournament, and having entered the finals, you would not expect them to throw it away.
Much after the curtains went down on the latest IPL circus, the doubts about the final result of the match persist.
Instead of getting emotionally upset about the whole idea, I would advise Indian cricket fans to consider the facts, dispassionately, and arrive at a rational conclusion.
Fact 1: Mumbai Indians were without doubt the most accomplished team in IPL 3, going into the final. Barring their first match against Rajasthan Royals that was almost won single-handedly by Yusuf Pathan for the Jaipur team led by Shane Warne, all the other victories were convincing ones, with Sachin leading his team by example. He got able support from Dhawan, Rayudu, Tiwari, Bravo and Pollard in batting, while Malinga and Zaheer led the bowling, with assistance from Harbhajan.
Fact 2: Till the last over of their last round-robin match, Chennai Super Kings looked unlikely to make it to the semi-final. In fact, throughout the tournament, they did not look as convincing as they did in IPL 2 and 3.
Fact 3: CSK’s pathetic batting display in the semi-final could not prevent their entry into the final, as a complicit DC team did even worse.
Fact 4: Pursuing a chaseable target in the final, MI delayed Pollard’s arrival at the batting crease, sufficiently so as to insure a CSK win.
Some are likely to dispute my argument by pointing out that Sachin’s integrity is beyond question. Also, fixing a match played by 11-member teams is easier said than done. What is to prevent a ‘bought’ player from squealing, once he is out of favour with the establishment?
Let’s take a look at some more facts.
Fact 5: In the final, Man of the M atch Suresh Raina was dropped twice.
Fact 6: Bookies stood to lose crores, with MI the overwhelming favourites among punters.
If you are still not convinced, rewind to the second league match between CSK and MI. Could CSK have reached the semi-final, had they lost that one? And could they have won that match, if Sachin hadn’t retired ‘hurt’?