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How Things Change In The Indian Premier League

May 9, 2015

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It takes one session to turn a test match and may be a spell of 5 overs, something like a batting powerplay for that of an ODI. But when it comes to the newest version of the game, one good over is sufficient to turn the game on its head. That’s the reason why the challenge of captaining a team in a T20 match is a whole new different thing altogether. So many times we have seen that someone does everything right until he makes a mistake at the backend of the 2nd innings which costs his team the match. It is something what we saw last night. When MS Dhoni called Negi to bowl the crucial 19th over they had 30 to defend off the last two. But like I said one mistake costs you the match, he has hammered for 4 monstrous sixes and it was all over for the men in yellow.

As the game of T20 is short, the margin of error is minimal too. Hence it is better not to experiment too hard and keep the game as simple as possible. The more you complicate the game, the less are the chances for you to succeed. It is no wonder why the Chennai Super Kings have been the most consistent T20 side for so long. Playing with tested combinations has been their key to success over the past 8 years.

Now if we talk about another big team from the last season, the runners up of IPL 7, Kings XI Punjab have the same set of players. But when the strongest area of a team becomes its weak link, it will certainly need the team management to burn so much of midnight oil for that. Yes, I am talking about Glenn Maxwell. After being such a high from the world cup he was expected to play a big role once again but he is still searching for his first big run of this season. The management has kept shuffling the openers and hence unreliability and lack of stability in the top 3 has let them down. It has affected the overall team batting performance. The team having such a strong batting lineup was almost on the verge of posting the lowest ever IPL score in their last game against RCB. Not sure they were batting with or without the bat there as 7 or 8 out of 10 wickets were bowled.

Now if the aforesaid changes have been seen with respect to the last season, a many things are seen to change during an ongoing season. Sunil Narine, the biggest match winner for the defending champions over the years is no longer a mystery bowler. Even before the tournament took off, the team management was rather worried about their prime weapon in the bowling department. But now as he is not picking up wickets and also going for runs with the other guys performing well, they are not afraid of dropping him; something what they could not even have thought a month before. Besides KKR if we look at Sunrisers Hyderabad, the man who made the most ordinary team look an extraordinary bowling side couple of seasons back, Dale Steyn, is not getting games regularly.

The word consistency is very inconsistent with the Delhi Daredevils. The changes we are talking about have been so frequent for DD. It has been a hot and cold performance from them so far. A win has often followed by a defeat and the confidence has been disturbed. As a result they are losing their way just at the high time.

In my review of the IPL teams I mentioned how important Mitchel Starc is for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Just when the team full of batting stars failed to deliver the goods and started to look shuttered, the world’s best fast bowler came in and turned the things around for his team completely.

The only thing which is certain in IPL is the uncertainty. That’s why no matter where you stand you simply can’t afford to relax. After a dream start to the IPL campaign with 5 wins on trot, Rajasthan Royals are now wondering whether that spell was reality or really a dream. A solo victory from their last 7 matches has put them into an awkward position. They have a couple of really tough matches left, one against KKR and the other against Chennai in Chennai. So the situations are such that if they don’t hit back now, they may well have to give up their playoff hopes.

But moreover everything, the most dramatic change what we have observed in the running IPL is how the Mumbai Indians came back into it. It is almost as if RR have handed over their form to MI! After the first 6 matches many people would have laughed at me seeing my rating of 8.3 towards the Mumbai Indians. But now MI are showing why they are worthy of that. They have won 5 in a row and 6 out of their last 7 fixtures. And who made the turnaround? Mitchel McClenaghen, the man whose introduction lifted their bowling way above. The value he adds to MI is nothing short than what Starc adds to the Bangalore franchise. Now with his inclusion the pressure is off Malinga and he is also getting his Yorkers right more often than not. Batsmen have the belief that the bowlers can defend even the par scores, so they are playing lot more freely. The openers are giving them good starts. And the team that was at the bottom is suddenly looking invincible at the interval of just 10 days. That’s how quickly the things can change in the IPL. But like I said, it’s important to stay focused, not to relax and get the momentum going. Because from here they have to make the opportunities count what they have created. Otherwise it won’t take long as the things may start to re-change again.

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