Cricket World Rewind: #OnThisDay - Gibbs & Symonds take Deccan Chargers to 2009 IPL title win
May 24, 2009 - Entering into the final of the 2009 IPL, the Deccan Chargers had a lot stacked against them. The team had finished with the wooden spoon in the inaugural season of the tournament last year, having managed just two wins.
In 2009 as well, they were the last team to qualify for the semis and finished the league stage at the fourth spot with 7 wins and 7 losses from 14 matches, just sneaking into the knockouts.
One of the main players, Andrew Symonds was shown the door from the Australian side and neglected for the Ashes beginning in July that year.
DC had to lock horns against a star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore outfit which had some of the biggest names in the game at that point with players like Jaques Kallis, Rahul Dravid, Ross Taylor, Virat Kohli, Mark Boucher and Anil Kumble.
Even with the combination of players past their prime and newbies, the Deccan Chargers were able to conjure up something special.
The final started at a horrible note for DC with them losing skipper and star opener Adam Gilchrist in the very first over. It was a two-fingered googly from Anil Kumble which disturbed Gilchrist's woodwork.
His opening partner Herschelle Gibbs then took up the responsibility and batted against his natural style. Instead of swinging his bat, he knocked the ball into gaps for singles and kept the scoreboard ticking. The opener perhaps had gauged by then that the final was not going to be a high scoring one.
It was only on the 33rd delivery that he faced, did you see a glimpse of what Gibbs was known for when the South African crushed one over mid-wicket for a maximum. It was his half-century aided by a quickfire 21-ball 33 from Andrew Symonds, including 1 six and 4 fours at a strike rate of 157.14, that took DC to some respectability.
Figures of 4/16 from Anil Kumble, who also held the record for the best figures of 5/5 in that edition of the IPL, kept Deccan chargers to 143 runs. The total was not even par, despite this being early days in T20 cricket. To add to that, Bangalore had easily chased down 146 in the semi-final.
With the ball, it was Pragyan Ojha who set the match up for them early. Ojha, who represented Deccan Chargers from 2008 to 2011 and Mumbai Indians from 2012 to 2015, finished the 2009 season with 18 wickets. He went on to be the purple cap holder in the next season with 21 scalps.
Ojha dismissed opener Manish Pandey and RE van der Merwe. After providing the Chargers with some crucial runs with the bat, Andrew Symonds came back to to claim figures of 3-18-2, sending back Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli.
Skipper Adam Gilchrist was sensational for the franchise with his leadership and finished the tournament with 29 sixes - the most by any batsman. Despite failing to contribute with the bat in the big final, he was instrumental in Deccan Charger's victory as the skipper made frequent bowling changes apart from inspiring his team-mates and backing youngsters like Harmeet Singh, who repaid his faith when it mattered the most.
"Just trying to create the culture of learning from our mistakes last year and trying to play smarter brand of Twenty20 cricket rather than walking out and trying to literally just fire from ball one. We just got to get smarter about it I think. I guess last year's just a very hollow feeling. It was a great learning experience for me. I knew that at the time, I wanted to just embrace it and work out, why and what and that's what everyone did," the Australian said after DC's title win.
Herschelle Gibbs finished the season among top 5 scorers with 371 runs from 14 matches while Symonds scored 249 from 8 games. The two, along with Pragyan Ojha and RP Singh, were the architects of Deccan Charger's title victory.
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