Stephen Fleming in the IPL money once again
Stephen Fleming won the battle of the former New Zealand skippers, coaching Chennai Super Kings to consecutive Indian Premier League cricket titles.
Chennai beat the Daniel Vettori-captained Royal Challengers Bangalore by 58 runs in the final, ending an expanded tournament which stretched over nearly two months but struggled to capture the imagination in the wake of India's World Cup victory.
It hardly grabbed New Zealanders either, mainly because it wasn't televised live due to Sky TV's bid not being accepted by the IPL rights vendor. Television audiences in India were reportedly down 25 percent on a similar stage last year, which was largely put down by experts to `cricket fatigue'.
Still, it continued a strong start to Fleming's coaching career and ensured another big injection of US dollars into his bank account, one year into a new three-year deal with the Super Kings.
Two New Zealanders had bit-part roles at Chennai, with Tim Southee playing five matches after replacing Australian Ben Hilfenhaus, and Scott Styris playing just twice.
Indian captain MS Dhoni led the celebrations for Chennai after he won the toss, chose to bat and watched Mike Hussey (63) and Murali Vijay (95) plunder 159 for the first wicket.
Chasing an unlikely 206 to win, Bangalore reached 147-8. West Indies star Chris Gayle, who had smacked 608 tournament runs at an average of 76 and a strike rate of 183, was removed in the first over.
Vettori took 0-34 in the final but had a solid tournament, averaging 26 with the ball at an impressive economy rate of 6.01.
He missed three matches earlier this month to return home for expert opinion on his painful right knee injury, but was cleared to return by sports physician Tony Edwards and told he wouldn't require surgery.
All-rounder James Franklin was the other New Zealander to reach the IPL playoffs, for Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians. They lost to Bangalore by 43 runs in Saturday's preliminary final.
Franklin finished strongly, averaging 53.50 from five innings with the bat to help guide Mumbai to the final three.
How the New Zealanders fared at the IPL (including auction price and team's finishing position):
Brendon McCullum (US$475,000, Kochi Tuskers, 8th): 13 matches, 13 innings, 357 runs at 27.46, strike rate 130, highest score 81
Daniel Vettori (US$550,000, Royal Challengers Bangalore, runners-up): 13 matches, 4 innings, 23 runs at 23.00, SR 82, HS 18no; 51.4 overs, 12 wickets at 25.91, economy rate 6.01, best bowling 3-19
Ross Taylor (US$1 million, Rajasthan Royals, 6th): 12 matches, 11 innings, 181 runs at 36.20, SR 119, HS 47no Jesse Ryder (US$150,000, Pune Warriors, 9th): 13 matches, 13 innings, 292 runs at 22.46, SR 148, HS 60
James Franklin (US$100,000, Mumbai Indians, 3rd): 8 matches, 5 innings, 107 runs at 53.50, SR 137, HS 45no; 10.1 overs, 3 wickets at 33.00, ER 9.73, BB 2-35
Tim Southee (US$100,000 as injury replacement for Ben Hilfenhaus, Chennai Super Kings, champions): 5 matches, 19 overs, 4 wickets at 41.50, ER 8.73, BB 1-30
Jacob Oram (US$250,000 as injury replacement for Paul Collingwood, Rajasthan Royals): 2 matches, 1 innings, 0 runs; 4 overs, 1 wicket at 45.00, economy rate 11.25
Nathan McCullum (US$100,000, Pune Warriors): 2 matches, 2 innings, 26 runs at 26.00, SR 118, HS 15; 5 overs, 0 wickets, economy rate 6.80
Scott Styris (US$200,000, Chennai Super Kings): 2 matches, 1 innings, 5 no; 1 over for 13 runs
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