IPL5 – At the end of league stage – Part I
The league stage concluded today with number of CSK fans doubled up as DC’s fans and prayed for DC’s victory which eventually happened. The 4 teams in the fray for play-offs are Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.
The trend of this IPL is, one player carrying their team. Gautam Gambhir almost carried whole of KKR’s batting, Sehwag put up performances which put Delhi in a command from the start, Cameron White saving the Deccan Chargers from mediocrity and Gayle who stands tall among this list with his consistent monstrous hitting for RCB. Hitting sixes were as normal as defending the ball for him. For hitting sixes, NO ONE HAS DONE IT LIKE GAYLE. It’s a pity we won’t see him in the play offs.
At the start of the league it seemed like Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors have shrugged off their
indifferent form of last year and found the winning touch. But they didn’t, with Pune Warriors hitting the lowest end of the table with some of the most insipid performances where they didn’t even put up a fight. Their batting never took off with no player showed form and they couldn’t find right bowling combination even though had some of good T20 bowlers. If 2 bowlers were containing, the other 3 were generous enough to leak runs and never they able to put in collective performance. Even their best player Steven Smith who put in some great performances at the start of the season looked disinterested towards the end which sums up their campaign. Much of this blame can be put on their captain Sourav Ganguly who couldn’t find a way to put up their best XI.
Rajasthan Royals after a high flying start floundered at the end. Even the arrival of Shane Watson, their star player, couldn’t change their fortunes though he played some good innings. Shaun Tait was kept fresh for the fag end of the tournament which was a good idea but at times he went wayward and RR paid the price. Rahane couldn’t continue with his form and other batsmen couldn’t step up which proved decisive in the RR’s failed campaign.
Deccan chargers almost had a perfect failed tournament. They batting never clicked collectively, their bowling, save Steyn, at best pedestrian and their fielding which defined ‘how not to field’ rounds up their campaign. After a very quiet start to the tournament, Cameron White suddenly unleashed himself and played some blinders which won matches for his team. Steyn except for a match against RCB was consistent and looked like only bowler threatening the opposition from DC camp. Duminy and Shikhar Dhawan stepped in with few good performances but unless they find a good crop of Indian players and few foreign players they can’t be top 4 anytime soon.
Kings XI Punjab looked like the most depleted squad in IPL but yet they were in the contention for play offs till the end of their last match which speaks volume about the way they punched above their weight. Gilchrist’s injury was blessing in disguise as it allowed them to field an international player who can perform consistently. The promotion of Mandeep Singh proved fruitful and it compensated for the lack of form of Shaun Marsh who struggled throughout the tournament to get going. Azhar Mahmood’s contribution to their stunning return to life can’t be undermined as he was economical for most of the matched and played good cameos with bat. David Hussey ably led the side and also chipped in with batting performances which kept them alive in the tournament. This is a successful tournament for them considering the quality of the players they had and no harm will be done if they sign some better players for next season.
No team is as much depend upon on one man as RCB depend on Gayle. If not for him they might be finding themselves at the bottom of the table. Gayle along with AB De Villiers and Muralitharan kept the hopes of top four alive for RCB till their last match. With a batting line-up that was brittle due to the loss of form of Kohli they couldn’t effectively use AB De Villiers as he found himself mostly at No.5 or No.6 with very less number of balls to play. Dilshan shown glimpses of his batting but he is not the force he once was and Kohli never touched the half heights of heroics he has shown in Indian colours. In bowling Zaheer and Muralidharan have done a half decent job with none of the other bowlers done anything of note. Vettori was said to be injured but it seemed like a plan to accommodate Muralidharan in the line-up who looked more incisive than Vettori but they could have been more effective with both of them on the field leaving Dilshan out. But Kohli and Saurabh tiwary’s patchy form never allowed them to have that luxury and they could get only 5th position in the league.
– To be Continued…