I must admit that I’m the one who vowed not to watch the IPL 2, who wore my thoughts on my sleeve about how this season can be nothing short of very boring. I’m now very guilty for I’ve watched more IPL matches this year than the last.
Credit must be given to the pitch masters of South Africa. It isn’t for nothing that the T20 World Cup in 2007 was such a hit. It isn’t just about the Bollywood babes, catchy tunes, and scantily clad cheerleaders. If the cricket’s boring (and the tickets expensive or spectators’ conditions poor), the tournament becomes doomed. By getting the pitches right and the ticket prices right (if the commentators and other tournament-folk are to be believed), cricket South Africa have ensured the success of the tournament.
Perhaps this even balance so produced by quality pitches have ensure that insipid sides like Rajasthan and weekend ones like Punjab don’t seem that great this year. Suddenly the Asnodkars and the Mascarenases don’t seem that valuable. You’ve got to get the cricket right here, which is why the good old folk – Dravid, Tendulkar, Boucher, Kumble – and those among the new who are worth their salt – Badrinath, Duminy, RP Singh – and the like are making merry.
The teams and their fortunes
Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers
The shift away from India has benefited two teams that found themselves at the bottom of the table last year: Bangalore and Deccan.
We all knew Deccan had it, it just wasn’t clicking for them. That RP Singh has had a lot of success in South Africa adds a lot to their attack.
Bangalore’s is the miracle recovery. I think it has more to do with team spirit and Kumble’s captaincy than Ray Jennings’ coaching. Besides they are the side with almost an all South African combination with Indian stars. They lucked out that the tournament moved to their real home. Bangalore doesn’t belong in India! 🙂 On yesturday’s thumping victory over Mumbai that involved chasing a score of over 140, while Uthappa’s innings might be a flash in the pan, Kallis I think has indeed found himself in the T20 version. I cannot end a paragraph about the BRCs without mentioning Dravid. He started the tournament with a sparkling 66 of 40-odd. That he is back in the squad will add the much needed backbone to the Bangalore team. Dillion du Pree, the debutant yesturday seemed like an inspired pick. Four overs might be too early to judge, but he may yet become the star of Bangalore attack, surpassing a certain lackluster Dale Steyn.
Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab
For those who just couldn’t understand how the Royals won the tournament last year, myself included, this year, so far has been a vindication. The team has little value in the young mavericks. Veteran Saffer batsman Smith isn’t exactly setting anything on fire; they are missing Sohail Tanvir the most. Watson might have been another flop here – not a huge fan of him.
Kings XI is kind of neither here nor there. Their bowling department has lucked out with the selection of Abdullah. They are missing Sreesanth, Lee and Shaun Marsh. Jayawardena isn’t in cracking form. For me this is a 50-50 team. Could go either way.
Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils
The two most balanced sides – Mumbai and Delhi – have got fairly good results so far, the latter more than the former. Mumbai’s bowling has expectedly been bolstered by Malinga’s form and Zaheer’s presence. Is it just me or does somebody else also think Zaheer seemed more lethal when he was bowling for Bangalore?
Delhi lost Shikar Dhawan this year, but thankfully for them, he isn’t in form. Viru is yet to blast away that 10+ an over rate for the first 6-8 overs, but it might only be a matter of time.
Chennai Super Kings
Last year’s uber geek team is languishing in the table. Why that is the case is beyond me. Dhoni and Albie aren’t contributing too well. But that apart, you’ve got to believe it’s a matter of a few wins to see them in the top four where they belong.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The most woeful of the teams this year. Given the degree of off-field woe which seems to be propagating on-field, they probably deserve to be where they are. The batting isn’t clicking, McCullum’s batting looks stressed; he’s not the free flowing carefree man from last season. Ganguly is smug, Ishant erratic and unsupported by horrible fielding which reminds of Indian team from the early 90s, Agarkar is well, just plain Agarkar. Buchanan and his army needs to be shown the door and Ganguly or somebody else made sole captain.
And I thought everyone was interested in the IPL… ur a rarity among the bloggers VM :-).. but glad that ur on the bandwagon somewhat..
As for how Rajasthan won the previous tournament – 3 words: Shane Kieth Warne.
He may just do it this year too. Watson will be back as soon as he’s done with the 20-20 in Dubai. That will shore up their batting for the latter half.
Its a very close tournament this year.. 2 points separating the top team and the 7th placed.. can go anyones way.
its nice to see team fighting out each other with such intensity…if only ipl organisers brace themselves up for some tweaking…this can be a league which is hugely successful as well as equally respected at the same time…
Boring! When you had Warne, Ganguly, Buchanan, Harbhajan, Sreesanth….in the mix, it’s actually an explosive concoction! I guess thus you make n-bombs.
@Q, true. It is definitely a much closer contest, so much that other than Kolkata, anybody else could make the top 4.
@SP, what kind of tweaking do you have in mind?
@Som, I got bored halfway thru last years IPL. The flat pitches were making it no-contests for some teams and for any team chasing over 160 scores. This time, not too many times have we seen a 160 plus score. Most targets have been reachable. This time it’s more about the cricket and thanks to the competitive pitches for that.
VM… After the first week, am feeling bored about the IPL. I guess it largely due to the fatigue setting in with all those ads and that horrible extra innings.
How about placing a few odds… BRC wins season 2!
@Scorpy, that’s one heck of a bet! I read your comment, but didn’t get a chance to reply to it. But, your comment definitely came to mind when the BRCs made it to the semis. I knew they would beat Chennai – Chennai had some chinks in the armor and high freak-out factor. 🙂 It’s sad they lost the final – wining the IPL would have been a dream finish. I’m not a huge fan of the Deccans.
You hit the nail on the head – It isn’t just about the Bollywood babes, catchy tunes, and scantily clad cheerleaders. If the cricket’s boring (and the tickets expensive or spectators’ conditions poor), the tournament becomes doomed. By getting the pitches right and the ticket prices right (if the commentators and other tournament-folk are to be believed), cricket South Africa have ensured the success of the tournamen
Not bad I came close VM, they lost at the last stage.
hey VM…where you hv been?
dravid got into CT’s probables…missing ur comments on it…
Yoo hoo! Good to hear from you again.
@SP, check out my article on BCC!.
@SB, thanks man!