10 talking points from the IPL final

Blog Opinion

Glenn Maxwell peaked too soon, Lakshmipathy Balaji should not have been selected, Gautam Gambhir had the last laugh – and more.

<b>1. Balaji Bust</b><br>The Kings XI Punjab's decision to name Lakshmipathy Balaji in the XI ahead of Sandeep Sharma will perplex fans and pundits alike. Balaji was clearly rusty amid a stop-start campaign, while the in-form Sharma watched from the dug-out in dismay.

<b>2. Breaking Bailey</b><br>Another peculiar piece of the gameplan saw George Bailey promoted to three in the batting order. The change, coupled with the failure of Virender Sehwag, hurt momentum – and didn't afford David Miller in particular the chance to truly punish the closing throes.

<b>3. Premature Maxwell</b><br>Maxwell will walk away from the tournament with three much-lauded 90-plus scores – and countless new fans. But the reality is he peaked too soon. The Australian managed a mere 35 runs in six innings, including Sunday's first-ball duck, during the business end of the competition.

<b>4. More Morkel</b><br>Gautam Gambhir's decision to afford Morne Morkel three consecutive overs at the start of the innings was a masterstroke. The bulk of those 18 deliveries were telling – and afforded the rest of the attack an ultimately victorious defence across the remainder of the innings.

<b>5. Saha Sadness</b><br>Spare a thought for Wriddhiman Saha, whose swashbuckling century went in vain. Upstaging big-money signings Miller and Maxwell, the diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman clouted all of eight sixes, and at least has a recall to the ODI and Test team as consolation.

<b>6. Gambhir Guts</b><br>In a scenario not dissimilar to what Darren Sammy endured with the West Indies, captain Gambhir struggled to justify a berth in the first-choice XI as a batsman – but ultimately had the last laugh by securing the 2014 IPL crown regardless.

<b>7. Fielding Importance</b><br>A lot will be said about Miller and Maxwell's collective lack of contribution with the bat in the final, but there is no denying their importance in the field. Deployed as boundary riders throughout the campaign, the athletic duo's contribution at long-on, midwicket and surrounds ensured plenty of success.

<b>8. Narine Vindicated</b><br>Having rejected berth in the West Indies' Test squad to fulfill his commitment to the Kolkata Knight Riders, Narine will still be heavily questioned despite Sunday's triumph. While he proved expensive and dropped an easy catch, he was at least on the other end of the pitch for the winning runs – and the dressing room for the jubilant celebrations.

<b>9. Kallis Exclusion</b><br>Ryan ten Doeschate gained selection ahead of Jacques Kallis time and time again throughout the round-robin, but opportunity knocked for the South African veteran's return on Sunday. The Dutch international, however, was retained – leaving Kolkata's Kallis-less victory all the more outstanding.

<b>10. Brave Singh</b><br>Karanveer Singh, too, ended on the losing side – but must be commended for his bravery. Eager to give the ball flight rather than churn out safe low, flat darts in the face of Manish Pandey's onslaught, the leg-spinner won't enjoy immediate reward – but has certainly gained future value.

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