The first leg of IPL has finished and was undoubtedly a huge success. Before the tournament started, there were lot of questions raised over UAE as the venue. With UAE considered as the heart of crcket betting, it was more likely for the tournament to be under the spot light for the bookies, and considering what the tournament had undergone last season , it was a decision worth being questioned.
But to everyone’s surprise ,the tournament has been a huge success , both on and off the field. It may well have helped the expansion of IPL and a venue that will always be a first choice during every elections. Full house in every IPL matches and some exciting cricket has helped both the organisers and the franchises.
Coming to on field action, this IPL has produced some crunch games and the best among the whole lot was between Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knightriders, which needed a Kanna Keep Calm moment from Steve Smith to take Royals home.
Talking of the teams, who better than Mumbai Indians to realise the uncertainity of the game . Defending champions are yet to open their account in this year’s IPL , partly because of some poor decisions in the auction and some poor display on the field. Not buying back Maxwell was understandable , considering the fact that he was never in their plans and he firing the way he is was unexpected at the time of auction. But buying Hussey in place of him do raise a question over the management, after they had suffered at the hands of Symonds for the same reason. One cannot be expected to excel in IPL , after being away from the game for so long. Pollard has come into some sort of form and that’s the biggest positive for them. Aditya Tare has looked good in patches but is yet to score a big one. It will be interesting to see if Mumbai inserts Santokie or Merchant de Lange to strengthen their bowling attack.
Well this IPL7 and KingsX11 Punjab seems to have fallen into love. A new looking Kings X11 could not have had a better start to the IPL, winning all the games in the first leg. Maxwell has made all the bowlers look like ordinary ones and clearing the boundaries has been a child’s play for him. Miller too has made use of the oppurtunities he got, but what will please Indian fans is the shadow of Sehwag in full flow. He might not have played to his best but a 70 or 80 percent Sehwag is better than all the options India have in their banks presently. His two bundaries against Dinda were a treat to the eyes. Also, the performance of Indian bowlers cannot be over looked and has to be the biggest positive for Indian cricket in the IPL so far. The team also needs to rethink about Pujara in their lineup, after he has failed to strike it at a decent rate.It’s better to give Manan Vohra or Mandeep Singh a go.
Teams like Sunrisers and Royal Challengers have found it difficult and it doesn’t come as a surprise. They have banked on their performance in their home ground to reach the knock out stage of the tournament. They will be a completely different outfit playing at their home ground . Chris Gayle has been a treat to watch at Bangalore and somehow has not managed to replicate the same outside Bangalore. Perhaps his weakness against off spinners has been exposed and teams are opting to open with off spinners against him. RCB, with the batting power they have are yet to click as a unit and the role of Albie Morkel is still not understandable . He cannot be expected to bowl 4 overs and is not clicking with the bat which raises questions over his place in the 11.
The top heavy batting of SRH will bank on the top 3 to fire and leave very for the inexperienced middle order. Lokesh Rahul has shown the signs of maturity and well may get a chance in Test cricket in some point of time in future. The form of Amit Mishra has so far been the difference in their bowling attack , compared to last year where he was the trump card in the middle overs.
CSK stands second in the table and the only loss came when they were outplayed by Maxwell’s masterpiece. But they were just helped by the tracks which suited their bowlers. The bowlers will have some hard time on some flat Indian tracks like in Mumbai. Their batting has been their strength. It has both the fire power and depth , with all in the top 5 capable of hitting big sixes.
KKR has not yet rose to the occasion. Personally, I feel that Kallis still doesn’t fit in the line up and especially when Gambhir has got into some sort of form. He ends up chewing up deliveries and more often than not cannot make up for it at the end, just leaving few balls for Uthappa and Tiwari. It’s better to have an specialist bowler or batsman in his place.
Rajasthan Royals, stands 3rd on the table after the UAE leg . they might have to suffer considering that there will be no matches will be played at Jaipur and they were certainly lions in their own den. The biggest question in front of the management is the position of Shane Watson, which I feel is correct presently. The team management has no one else when it comes to taking the attack to the opposition in the middle overs with some lusty blows. Binny is yet to contribute with the bat and Watson may well control the innings batting at 4 . Faulkner has shown some form after a forgettable World Cup and few initial IPL matches.
Daredevils lies 2nd from the bottom after this leg of IPL, and has a lot to think over the their strategy. Batting positions of Duminy and Karthik along with some changes in the 11. The team has a good collection of local players but is not getting the right combination. Peterson is also coming to the tournament without any serious cricket in 4 -5 months. Their situation don’t seem to get any better after Coulter – Nile got injured . Tough days seems to be waiting for them. Dropping Sehwag has just not worked for them. It will be interesting to see the response of Delhi crowd.
All in all, UAE proved to be a great venue for the IPL and we can just hope that we don’t get any bad news after the end of the IPL