The second IPL season (April-May, 2009) started with a controversy even before the first ball was bowled – the tournament had to be shifted to South Africa as the Indian govt was not able to provide assurances of player safety due to the tournament coinciding with the Indian general elections.
The shifting did not seem to have had any deleterious effect on the players as yet another special tournament took off. But as in the first season, rank underdogs emerged as giant-killers again, this time in the form of Deccan Chargers – they had finished last in the inaugural season. The difference was that both teams in the final were erstwhile underperformers.
The team could boast about having some of the hardest hitters of the cricketing ball like Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma apart from the destructive finesse of VVS Laxman. RP Singh, Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa led the bowling attack.
The final was an explosive one against Royal Challengers, led by a rejuvenated and increasingly aggressive Anil Kumble. Their rise was akin to that of Rajasthan Royals, except for the bucketfuls of money splashed on players (on what many disparagingly referred to as a ‘Test’ team!)- Rahul Dravid, Wasim Jaffer, Jacques Kallis. But they did have some truly sizzling ODI players in the form of Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar and Jesse Ryder and of course Dale Steyn (Kevin Pietersen was there, but featured more as an absentee).
The final turned out to be a humdinger despite being a low-scoring one. Deccan Chargers started batting with a whimper when they lost captain Gilchrist for a duck to some inspired leadership by his counterpart Kumble who opened the bowling. The third ball sent Gilchrist packing.
Some slow but splendid batting by Gibbs, Symonds and Rohit Sharma ensured a competitive total though – Kumble bagged 4 wickets. But the chase proved futile as batsman after batsman played erratic cricket to gift the match away.
While Kumble received the man of the match trophy, Gilchrist walked off as the player of the tournament. Top wicket-taker was RP Singh with 23 and Kumble was second with 21.