Sunday, April 15, 2012

Some thoughts on IPL after the first quarter

Hello friends,

The IPL is going on in full swing and 25% of the matches are now complete. I watched a lot of the games and have been enjoying some good performances. Here are some random thoughts from me at this stage of the IPL -

* Mumbai is looking very good once again. They are the most all-round team with all 3 disciplines - batting, bowling and fielding - being very good. With them, it is all about performing on the day, so let's see how far they go

* Chennai are playing as they do every year, slow starters. They have lost a couple of games they should have won, but won one game that was almost gone for all purposes. Usually their resurgence coincides with the arrival of Michael Hussey, but this year Hussey only arrives late April which may be too late this year. Anyway, this year, Faf du Plessis is more than filling Hussey's position, so they should do better in the early stages as well

* For me, the star of the IPL so far is Ajinkya Rahane. He batted beautifully for his 98 in their first game, and even better in his hundred against Bangalore. It would be great if he can continue his form. This will help his chances to be Rahul Dravid's replacement in the test team. Rahane by nature is a correct batsman with a good technique and the temperament to bat long. All he is doing in this IPL is showing that he can adapt to the shorter format as well without sacrificing his basics

* RCB have been the surprise package so far, in a negative way. They are a better team than what the results show so far. Their problem is clearly in the bowling. They have 3 good reliable bowlers in Zak, Vettori and Murali. Their problem is with the 4th and 5th bowlers. Royals targeted these 2 bowlers very well and scored almost 100 runs of the 8 overs of these 2 bowlers. They should bring in someone like Syed Mohammed who bowled well on occasion in the last IPL

* Pune is playing well this year and so far, have the results to show for that. Ganguly is doing a good job with marshaling his bowlers, but needs to spend more time at the crease. They have a varied bowling attack which is good, because they can do well in all conditions, and whether they bat or bowl first. Rahul Sharma continues to impress and I am enjoying Steve Smith's batting. He should be playing for Australia in all 3 formats pretty soon. Pune's only problem is that they tend to lose wickets at regular intervals, especially at the start of their innings

* The 2 least attractive teams from a viewer perspective this year are Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab. Both teams don't look that strong as well and it would surprise me if either team made it to the knock-outs

* The team that has surprised me this year in a good way is Delhi Daredevils. They are strong on paper, and have translated the strength into performance as well. But while their batting is very strong, with the formidable trio of Sehwag, Mahela and KP forming the core, it is their bowling that looks a little weak. There is a lot of dependence on Morne Morkel and if he strikes regularly, as he has been doing so far, they will do well with the ball, otherwise they could go for a few runs

* KKR is another team that has not achieved the results promised by a strong team. The worry for them is that Yusuf, their star player, has done almost nothing so far. He needs to perform better as he is their game-changer and can turn close games into easy victories

So far, the response by the Indian public has been encouraging. Games at Chennai, Bangalore and the fantastic new stadium at Pune have looked sold out, which is good. Let's hope the public are able to sustain their enthusiasm over the course of this long tournament

I was very happy to see 5 comments for my previous post. It just goes to show that though a lot of u don't seem to care much for the IPL, it is difficult to keep completely away from it :-). Let's keep the comments coming. I will post another update next weekend, please stay tuned.


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