You could not have asked for a more fitting game for a finale. After playing some excellent cricket for just over a fortnight, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals had booked their place in the finals of the 2013 Champions League at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi.
Apart from this being a finale of a big event, there was one other big reason for the entire country to stay glued to the television. Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid- two players who had been in the same dressing room for 16 years and had scored an innumerable amount of runs as a pair, to the extent they hold the record for the most number of runs as a pair in Test history.
But that day, they were on opposite teams. They both were in different kinds of teams. Tendulkar had a galaxy of stars, any of whom could win a match on their day. Dravid had young, energetic lads, who wanted to make an impression in front of the world. So it was a mismatch in terms of teams, but no one was willing to name either of them as the outright favourite.
Dravid won the toss and perhaps keeping in mind the short boundaries of the Kotla, opted to bowl first. They needed a good start and got that when Watson removed Tendulkar for 15.
Dwayne Smith and Ambati Rayudu looked to build upon that decent start, but the latter was dismissed with the score at 77 and Mumbai now were looking for a big final 10 overs to put keep an imposing total in front of Rajasthan to chase.
That impetus was given by Rohit Sharma first, who made 33 and Glenn Maxwell later, with his 14-ball 37 that pushed Mumbai to 202 fo 7 in their 20 overs. It was the kind of score that won you T20 matches 9 out of 10 times and the magnitude of that is only further enhanced if it is achieved on the night of a final.
Rajasthan needed a good start when they came out, but Kushal Perera, who had just come in to play the game, fell early.
But then began the Sanju Samson-Ajinkya Rahane show. The duo showed tremendous fearlessness and batted with an exceptional amount of flair to put on 109 runs in 11 overs that put their side in the driver's seat.
But Pragyan Ojha then provided his team with the much needed breakthrough, removing Samson for 60 and bringing his side back into the game. Once he fell, Harbhajan Singh began to get on to the act, removing four wickets, including Rahane for 65, to leave the Royals at 159 fo 6, still 44 adrift and three overs left o play.
Dravid, demoting himself to number walked out to bat but found himself castled by Nathan Counter-Nile for 1 and left the ground to a standing ovation.
In the end, the target proved to be too much for the Royals to chase and they fell short of 33 runs.
it was the end of the journey of two old-fashioned cricketers in the new-age format. They had shown that they could play it on the odd occasion, but their mere presence in the team bought a smile on people’s faces.
It was a great game of cricket and a fitting way to bid adieu to two of the greats.