IPL5 – from April 4 to April 15
Note: I will be writing my views on ongoing IPL as one article/week. Mostly it will come on Monday.
Out of all the IPLs happened before, this one, IPL5, doesn’t seems to throw any surprise to us. In the first IPL it was the stunning performance of the Rajasthan Royals which also thrown up many Indian players striking ability. Second IPL was a sort of redemption with the previous IPL’s bottom 2 teams Royal Challengers Bangalore and Deccan Chargers meeting in the final which was eventually won by DC. Chennai Super Kings were the success story of IPL3 who at one point of time looked to go out in the league stage itself. Mumbai Indians atlast matched their ability with the performance on the field only to loss the momentum at the final stages of the tournament. IPL4 was remembered for CSK, a team for the first time defending its crown and the big hitting Chris Gayle who pulled single handedly RCB to finals.
Most disappointing thing for me in this IPL is, no new Indian players are showing their ability. There were lot of Indian players who has shown such a promise during earlier IPLs not even doing half of what they have shown. Ambati Rayudu and Saurabh Tiwary who were the stalwarts of the Mumbai Indians 2 seasons ago looking lost now. Yusuf Pathan seems like he forget the art of how to swing the bat. Iqbal Abdulla is not the bowler we have seen last time. Paul Valthaty is failing big time.
Only Rahane has shown what he is capable of but he is already an international player. It is such lovely sight to see this young man scoring without fuss. His shots were proper and he reduces the risk of getting dismissed by the kind of shots he plays. Hope the selectors noticing this and gives a chance to this guy instead of other pathetic Indian batsmen.
One thing I like about this IPL is, Dada and Dravid captaining very well. I am such an ardent fan of Dada and it was so nice to see him on the field making those field changes which works all the time. Being away from the attention and glamour of KKR, he seems to be relaxed and more confident in managing this team. He handpicked Samuels, Dinda, Steven Smith and some more players by himself which makes the core of the team. You know he is the same man who picked Sehwag, Kaif and Yuvraj. Surely Pune Warriors starting to look like the team to beat with some great bowling resources and decent batting strength.
Dravid isn’t far behind. He is slowly building a legacy of his own at Rajasthan Royals after the miracle work done by Warne. This season RR looking like a team of first season which posts big totals and testing the opposition with tricky medium pacers. They have now found new Yusuf Pathan in Owais Shah who seems to hit six at will. Where you have been all this time Shah???? Better late than never!!! Both PW and RR looking like going to semis.
Mumbai Indians as much strong as they can be, they have shown they need the calm presence of Sachin at the top of the order. Without him at the top, all the batsmen doesn’t know what exactly they need to do and eventually losing their heads. If Sachin doesn’t return soon we can write off MI this season.
Chennai Super Kings looking like the best team on paper but on the field their bowling is pretty much poor with the star performers Ashwin and Bollinger going for runs every other day. Batting looks good but with the firepower available in the team they can easily put 20+ runs to what they are scoring now. The line-up needs tweak according to the state of the match. The top order looks brittle with M Vijay awfullt out of form. But Hussey will join the team soon and I wish Badri is promoted up the order to partner du Plessis who is doing well at the moment. CSK for sure will pick their form soon and I expect them to be in semis.
Delhi Daredevils after a period of lull starting to look like a good team with various pace bowling options and big hitters. They are very weak in slow bowling options which could hurt them during later stages of the tournament. With the batsman like Sehwag, Pietersen and Jayawardane no score will be out of their reach. They are the dark horses for semis.
Kolkata Knight Riders have the problem of plenty with lot of international players. Their Indian players are also good enough but they are not able to find the best combination. One thing that works in their favor is their home ground pitch turning square and they have high quality bowlers to exploit it. They also have a top heavy batting line-up and unless Yusuf Pathan comes back to form it will be really difficult for them to get going in the tournament. But sadly, Yusuf hasn’t shown any signs of form till now.
Royal Challengers Bangalore has been poor during when last IPL started and they are again finding it rough this term. Last time its all depended on one man Gayle and this time there is no change in it only that Gayle is struggling for his fitness. Kohli is yet to show his heroics in RCB colours and AB de Villiers is yet to show his class. They don’t have a strong bowling attack except for Vettori and Muralidharan and the team balance is bad. Mayank Agarwal showing some promises with the bat but if Gayle and Kohli doesn’t play at their best this will be a forgetful tournament for RCB.
This year the wooden spoon contenders will be Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab. Both have a very weak squad with pretty much half the players in the XI are of mediocre quality. They can win one or two matches here and there and both teams have the enough quality to finish last. It will be an interesting battle!!!
Certain Semi-finalists: PW, RR
2 out of 3 candidates for Semis: MI, CSK and DD