Wednesday, May 6, 2009

IPL 2009...... Review / Update

Its now midway through in Indian Premier League(IPL) being played at South Africa. The competition has really heated up & with each team having played all the opponents at least once, means we are halfway into the tournament.

At this stage, all the teams, barring KKR are vying & capable for the semifinal berth, which is extremely good for the tournament & the competition. Each of these teams are neck to neck in the race & its quite difficult to choose a particular winner.

Lets quickly evaluate each team :

Delhi Dare Devils : The team looks very solid in its batting line up, inspite of the fact that the dreaded opening pair of Sehwag & Gambhir have not fired as yet. With Sehwag out due to injury, David Warner has lapped up the opportunities that has come his way & he has already made his mark in the team as a big hitter. AB De Villiers, Dilshan & Karthik have been in fine form in the middle order, finishing the game while chasing & the bowling looks quite tight with Ashish Nehra, Nannes, Amit Mishra, Vettori & Pradeep Sangwan, all firing at the appropriate time for the team. The team has won five of the seven matches played till now & heads the table. Looks a very balanced team on paper & certain to make to the semis unless there is a debacle of sorts.

Chennai Super Kings : The last year's finalist started the tounament rather poorly with a loss in the opening game, have clawed their way back. The team is probably the most balanced on paper, with the burly Hayden, wearing the orange cap as the leading scorer till now & carrying the brunt of the scoring upfront with brilliant support from Suresh Raina in the middle, who also is in superb nick. The loss of Flintoff really has not hit them, as Dhoni has now found form after a rather subdued performance till now. Along with Jacob Oram, Parthiv Patel, Albie Morkel & Badrinath, the batting looks unending & gives reason to believe that any target is gettable. The bowling has been ably handled by the spin master Murali & Balaji upfront with some decisive support from Sudeep Tyagi & Shadab Jakati, both excellent finds for CSK in this tournament. The other players have also been contributing, & CSK looks quite sure of reaching the semis.

Rajasthan Royals : Last year's champion started this edition with a huge loss & like many others, I had reasons to believe that this team would not be able to make a mark this time around. The loss of key players like Shane Watson, Sohail Tanvir, both stars of the last year, made the team look rather weak against the other heavy weights. However, the brilliant captaincy of Shane Warne & his magical charm on the young recruits seems to have been casting a web & the team has surprised almost all the critics with their performance. Yusuf Pathan has been brutal in batting, to say the least, & he has seen the team home from most unprobable situations including a Super Over win against KKR. There has been able assistance from utility players like Ravindra Jadeja, Mascarenhas, S Raut & others. With Smith now finding his touch along with Ojha at the top of the order, going beyond 200 runs looked like a cake walk, as they demolished KXIP in their last game. The bowling has been masterfully handled by Warnie, & despite being weak on paper, this team seems to continue their Royal Roller Coaster run, humbling stronger teams in their run to the semis. If they make it to the last four, at least on spirit & enthusiasm, the RR should be able to spring surprises & script winners that dreams are written of.

Deccan Chargers Hyderabad : Last year's laggards have been a headache for most of the teams, & under Gilchrist, the team seems to have found their winning ways. Starting with an emphatic win, the DCH went from strength to strength, only to falter when things looked in their control. The dreaded opening pair of Gilly & Gibbs can tear apart any attack & whenever they have clicked, the game hase been won most comfortably. With Rohit Sharma, Dyawne Smith & V Rao managing the middle order wonderfully, the loss of form of Laxman & Styris has not been a bother till now. In the bowling department, Fidel Edwards has been a revelation along with RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha & Teja. However, the team seems to be losing momentum over the last few matches, & it would be interesting to see how they perform ahead. a couple of losses at this stage may prove costly for them, & the overdependence on the opening pair to take them through may just be the undoing of DCH.

Bangalore Royal Challengers : The BRC started the tournament in whirlwind fashion with a win in their opening game under the new captain Pieterson. But the momentum was not quite in place as the team lost crucial games & points & Peiterson left for national duty. Kumble took over the reigns of the team, & suddenly they are looking hungry for wins. The emphatic win over Mumbai Indians would do the confidence of BRC a world of good, as the batting & bowling worked just as per plan. With Kallis, Goswami & Utthappa finding form with the bat at the top of the order, Jesse Ryder, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli & Merwe, Boucher, all are managing the middle order rather well. In the bowling, Kumble has been economical & is getting good assistance from, De Preez, brilliant in the last match, Appanna, P Kumar & others. The team is capable to beating anyone on their day, & has the potential to make it to the semis. However, its going to be a tough task ahead.

Kings XI Punjab : KXIP under the mercurial leadership of Yuvraj keeps raising hopes & then dashing them again. This team has had rains playing spoilsports to them at the beginning of the tournament, but just when they looked good to gain ground they have lost crucial matches. Couple of nail biting finishes have left them gasping for breath, & the team is yet to play to its full potential. With reliable Ravi Bopara gone for National service to England, the top order looks a little brittle. Return of Simon Katich should lend some solidity now & the middle order is extremely strong with Yuvi, Sangakkara, Mahela & Pathan. Bowling is being marshalled by Pathan, Piyush Chawla & Powar mainly with some fringe support. Yuvi needs to be in top gear to take the team to the last four. As of now the KXIP has faltered to decieve.

Mumbai Indians : Mumbai Indians on paper looks to be one of the most formidable team in the tournament. However, uptill now, they have been brilliant one one day & completely out of sync the other, which is most difficult to understand. The team under Sachin, seems to be a very happy unit, hungry for success. Players seem to compliment & support each other. With Sachin & Sanath at the top of the order, & Duminy, Bravo, Nayyar & Dhawan covering the middle order, batting looks wonderfully balanced. Each of these batsman capable to decimating any bowling on their day. Bowling has been magnificient by Lasith Malinga, with able support form Zaheer, Bhajji and others. However, the team is yet to fire as a real winning combination, & is at present languising just above the KKR in the points table. They have ofcourse played one match less than others & can be right on top if they win the next match against the Deccan Chargers. This team has all the right ingredients to take home the coveted trophy, & I would be rather surprised if they dont make it to the last four at least.

Kolkata Knight Riders : KKR is classic case of "too many cooks spoil the broth". The team started the tournament amidst a whole lot of unnecessary controversies. First of these, the multiple captain theory, the coach John Buchanan, which created an immediate rift within the core of the team. To add to this, Brendon McCullam was made the captain just a day before the tournament started, & he got no chance what so ever to settle with the team. The pressures of the job has had such an effect on him that Brendon, the free scoring batsman that we all know of, has suddenly forgotten to even put up a decent score.....a complete flop for this season. On top of that, with no captaincy experience behind him, he is all at sea to take the crucial decisions on the field. Chris Gayle, could not fire the way he was expected to & has now left for the Windies tour of England. Saurav, rubbed the wrong way by the coach & the Owner, Shahrukh Khan, looks a pale shadow of his past, & is hardly contributing, but for a few flashes here & there. Mortaja, bought in this year for such a huge sum is yet to bowl in the tournament & is wasted in the wings. There seems to be no planning interms of the combination & matrix of the team & the coach is still apparantly experimenting. In fact he has made a request to the organizers to allow more than four foreign players in the playing eleven!!!! It cant get more amusing & funnier than this, I guess. The support staff seems to be larger than the players....there is a & an assistant coach for almost every aspect of the game, & yet players, in the field dont seem to know the basics of the game. There is no plan, no combination, no zeal, no pride, & players are sleep walking on the ground. What could have been one of the explosive sides, is today reduced to a bunch of non sense. Barring Brad Hodge, & to some extent Van Wyke, Gayle & Ganguly, no one else has shown any character in any of the games. Till date they have won only one game & have lost seven. The whole world is simply laughing at the performance & the coach continues to experiment. Kolkata Knight Riders are currently going through their worst Nightmare.

Individually, the orange cap is with Hayden of CSK as the leading run getter till now with Raina, Hodge, Gilchrist, Dilshan & Kallis running very close. Some more players like Sachin, De Villiers, Yuvi, Pathan might quickly get into the race as well.
In bowling, Yusuf Abdulla of KXIP keeps the purple cap as the leading wicket taker till date with RP Singh, Malinga, Balaji & P Ojha hot in the heels. Bowlers like Jakati, Tyagi, Kumble, Vettori, etc are not far behind.

Yusuf Pathan, Suresh Raina, Gilchrist, Hayden, & Dilshan are the probably the front runners for the "Most Valuable Player" of the tournament as of now.

Lets hope to see some cracking matches ahead.


sharada said...

No hopes on Mumbai Indians n Kolkatta Knight Riders...........