The past six weeks:
For the entire duration of IPL-III it seemed like everything was about MI and SRT. The fawning coverage of MI, the applause for their 'feats', the SRT (‘captain that led from the front’) inspiration was excessive and inordinate. Commentators like SMG, RS, and HB went overboard in their praise for MI and as usual for SRT. They talked like it was a foregone conclusion that MI would win the IPL this year.
MI always was behind other teams on # of games played in the league stage, so they had one to catch up on points with if needed. Not only that, MI got a couple extra games at home in addition to the semifinal (shifted in a trice from BLR) and the final. So we had that much more of that irritating siren sound when they played at home. (How was this allowed in the final and semifinal?)
LM seemed to schmooze more with the Ambanis than with anyone else. MI fans were interviewed on the street all the time. Clueless Bombay celebrities, and housewives branded themselves MI fans, and were asked about the club's strategy, and tough game outcome questions ('who do you think will win today?')
The past week:
With so much hype on the MI story, other teams were made into fringe outfits. In the run-up to the final, the weekend talk shows were all about MI's exploits and SRT's greatness. (It almost felt like the final and assured win was timed with his birthday celebration week).The opponent in the final was hardly mentioned in these discussions. Funny how it was SMG, HB, and Manjrekar on IBN's (repeatedly shown) 'Who will win the IPL' show. Very neutral, folks.
And so we had a final where MI were routed, thrashed, hammered like it was payback for all of this.
To summarize, it was a game where:
• MI were hit around the park for 100 runs in the last 8 overs.
• they just could not handle it - literally - by dropping major catches.
• they were 1-1 after a maiden over start, and where the MI captain did not walk when he was clearly caught behind. Different rules? The opposition actually smiled as if they knew.(SMG, RS, and co kept verrry silent, just like they did when RD was 'caught' in the semis by the same captain)
• an (overrated and arrogant) offspinner was sent in to bat ahead of MI's proven big hitter. For what?
• an MI batsman who was actually scoring runs was made to sacrifice his wicket by the (newly arrogant)big hitter mentioned above (who got out right after)
• the stadium went silent and near empty by the last over. So much for a sporting attitude - you'd think MI was playing Pak. For a local audience that could not imagine or handle any other result than an MI win - this was just too much.
• the rest of us rejoiced; it was good to see this team eat pie.
--Note: consistent with the coverage, no other team's name is mentioned here--