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Adam Gilchrist hailed Andrew Symonds as a “great team man” as their Deccan Chargers celebrated going from last in 2008 to 2009 Indian Premier League champions.
Omitted from Australia’s Ashes squad, controversial all-rounder Symonds made 33 off 21 deliveries and took two wickets in two balls to undermine the Bangalore Royal Chargers’ pursuit of Deccan’s 6-143 in the final at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Deccan skipper Gilchrist praised the contribution of Symonds, who arrived midway through the campaign after playing in the Australia’s ODI series against Pakistan and next plays for his country in the World Twenty20 tournament in England.
“He (Symonds) is a great team man,” said retired Test star Gilchrist, who was named player of the tournament.
“He creates good spirit in the team.
“He’s just a great personality and a wonderful talent on a cricket field.”
Herschelle Gibbs top-scored in the final with an unbeaten 53, with Symonds’ score the next best for Deccan, before left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha took 3-28 to help restrict Bangalore to 9-137.
Bangalore captain Anil Kumble, whose man-of-the-match performance of 4-16 included the wickets of Gilchrist (0) and Symonds, said the successive dismissals of Ross Taylor and Virat Kohli by Symonds had been a big blow.
“We were cruising, but those two wickets in two balls did it,” Kumble said.
Fresh from his match-winning innings of 85 off 35 balls against the Delhi Daredevils in the semi-final on Friday, Gilchrist showed impatience after failing to score off the first two deliveries from Kumble.
He charged down the pitch to the third ball but failed to read a googly which went past his bat into the stumps.
After finishing bottom in the inaugural tournament last year, Deccan exceeded all expectations.
“We were happy to be playing without any big expectation because we were trying to rebuild,” Gilchrist said.
“Given what we did last year it was a phenomenal effort by everyone in the franchise to turn things around.”
Kumble said his team, which finished second last in 2008, did well to even reach the final.
“We worked really hard to get to this,” Kumble said. “But having said that nobody gave us a chance three weeks ago to be in the final.”
Manish Pandey, Bangalore’s hero in the last two matches, could manage only four before edging a turning Ojha ball to wicketkeeper Gilchrist in the seventh over.
Roloef van der Merwe top-scored for Bangalore with 32, but was dismissed in the ninth over after he was beaten by the flight of a ball by Ojha and stumped by Gilchrist.