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Warne's Royals win inaugural IPL

Rajasthan Royals coach and skipper Shane Warne
The Australian players have done well, but the young Indian players are what make me proud to be captain of the Royals

Shane Warne

Shane Warne's Rajasthan Royals beat the Chennai Super Kings by three wickets in a thrilling inaugural Indian Premier League (IPL) final in Mumbai.

Pakistan's Sohail Tanvir hit the winning run from the final ball of the innings to seal the victory.

Eight city-based franchises took part in the Twenty20 series, with the world's top players joining home-grown stars and novice Indian players.

A total of 368m was spent on the teams by Indian investors.

In the final, Chennai batted first and made 163-5 from their 20 overs, with 21-year-old Suresh Raina top-scoring with 43 and Yusuf Pathan taking 3-22 for the Royals.

Pathan then made 56 in the Royals reply and despite the best efforts of Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who took 2-39, Tanvir kept his nerve and pulled Lakshmipathy Balaji's final ball for a single to seal the win.

Jaipur, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Hyderabad all had sides in the 59-match tournament, which began in April.

Players were purchased at two auctions in February, with the Jaipur-based Royals, the cheapest franchise at 34m, reproached by IPL commissioner Lalit Modi for underspending in the first.

If someone considers themselves a serious cricketer, IPL is going to be desirable for them

IPL chief Sundar Raman

India one-day skipper Mahendra Dhoni attracted the highest price, bought for 770,095 by Chennai, while Australia's Andrew Symonds went to Hyderabad for 694,180.

The rich and powerful from Bollywood and some of India's biggest companies dug deep into their pockets to bid for 78 stars.

And the Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) earned more than 800m selling TV rights and team franchises for the tournament.

Despite run-ins with various international cricket boards over player availability and conflict with major media agencies around the world, IPL chief Sundar Raman has declared the first series a success.

"We're happy with the success and we're happy with the cricketing aspect of the tournament," Raman told BBC Sport.

"We've had the best talent playing for their respective cities and it's something the fans can more closely relate to.

"The mix of young and experienced Indian internationals and novice players makes it interesting viewing."

On the subject of having two IPL series in one year, something that would inevitably lead to conflict with international cricket boards, Raman said: "We're exploring all options to make IPL a little more sustained over the calendar year, but we've decided nothing yet.

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"We don't want to overload people and we understand travel has been a little bit strenuous. So we are looking at making the schedule a little easier in terms of travel time. But to host 59 games, that's how long it takes."

And Raman believes England's star players, who were conspicuous by their absence this year because of county and international commitments, would be involved next year.

"Everyone who's watched this wants to be here," said Raman. "If someone considers themselves a serious cricketer, IPL is going to be desirable for them.

"There is no reason why the IPL cannot match the big numbers in the English Premier League.

"Our aim is to create the most entertaining cricket for Indian and international viewers. Any history book on cricket will have to feature the IPL in a prominent manner."

Australian legend Warne, who coached and captained the Royals, has no doubt that the tournament is here to stay and believes it can only be good for Indian cricket as a whole.

Everyone who's been involved and the Indian audiences have absolutely loved it

Chennai Super Kings coach Kepler Wessels

"The best part about the IPL is, as well as having four or five different cultures in your team, unearthing some of the young Indian players," Warne, who is retired from all other forms of cricket, told BBC Sport.

"In Swapnil Asnodkar, you've got a player who can open the batting in any form of the game.

"[All-rounder] Ravindra Jadeja is only 19 years old and to see him hit back-foot sixes over cover at a crucial stage against Mumbai and the way he's fielded and worked has been great.

"Munaf Patel and Siddharth Trivedi could walk into the Indian side and open the bowling. Yes, the Australian players have done well, but the young Indian players are what make me proud to be captain of the Royals."

Meanwhile, Super Kings coach Kepler Wessels does not see the IPL, with its mix of players from around the world, as a threat to traditional international cricket.

"I don't think it's a threat to world cricket, I think it's a very exciting concept and it exceeded expectations," Wessels told BBC Sport.

"It's just a case of finding the right balance and making sure that when the IPL happens on an annual basis, it's at a time when it doesn't affect international commitments.

"It's here to stay. Other countries will try it and in the UK it will certainly be successful, as it will be in Australia and South Africa as well.

"It's going to be interesting to see how the International Cricket Board deals with it and how they control it because the current six weeks that we've had have been very exciting for everyone who's been involved and the Indian audiences have absolutely loved it."




see also
Indian cricket bonanza is massive hit
02 Jun 08 |  South Asia
England bosses soften IPL stance
16 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Counties in India's shadow
15 Apr 08 |  Counties
How will the IPL change cricket?
17 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Indian Premier League team guide
15 Apr 08 |  Cricket
IPL founder warns England stars
15 Apr 08 |  Cricket
Will India's cricket league work?
27 Feb 08 |  South Asia


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