IPL 10 started on a Saturday Sports Special and gained momentum on Sunday. The three matches played so far saw teams from Tamil Nadu based captains, came to the fore in the first round matches. Pipe opener saw Chennai Super Kings (CSK) got better off than Mumbai Indians in a closely contested match at the Wankhede Stadium. Again, the teams led by Tamil Nadu’s Ravichandran Ashwin and Dinesh Karhtik led their side- Kings XI Punjab and Kolkota Knight Riders respectively to victory in a very calculated way.
Mumbai Indians played into the hands of CSK as they could not score a healthy score of 180 plus despite batting first. Both the openers including skipper Rohit Sharma fell early and that momentum was lost after winning the toss. Despite scores of 40 by Ishan Kishan, S. Yadav, and Krunal Pandya failed to boost the side’s total. Both foreign recruits, Shane Watson and Bravo bowled for CSK, whereas other foreign bowler Wood was hit all over the park in the 4 overs quota. Mumbai Indians failed to move the score well enough in the middle overs and score of 165 was not enough for the hit and run game of cricket.
Chennai Super Kings started sedately but lost wickets at regular intervals and only Kedar Jadhav stood firm till the end. But the bright aspect of CSK batting was that of Bravo who knocked 68 of 30 balls with 3 fours and 7 sixes and turned the tables in the favour of Tamil Nadu outfit. He added 41 vital runs with Jadhav and saw that the target could be achieved with a ball to spare. Tahir gave company to Jadhav to see the heave latter by crossing the fence at an appropriate time to pave way for victory. Mumbai Indians thought it was all over when 8th wicket fell at 118. But Bravo had other ideas and made a match of it. The Chennai team after a two year ban proved that the match can be won or lost till the last ball of a T-20 game.
Blitzkrieg batting on Sunday saw the Kings XI Punjab won against Delhi Daredevils at Mohali. Ashwin led the Punjab side in a most astute manner and restricted the opposition for 166 in the allotted 20 overs. But for Gambhir’s slow 55, no one could cross the 50’s run mark. Youngster Mujeeb Ur Rehman took 2 wickets for 28 to put breaks to dismiss to hard hitting batsmen in a quick time. Morris made 27 unbeaten runs to prop up the score but could not get a good partnership in the end. KL Rahul took the fight to enemy’s camp straightaway and made a 50 of 14 balls, the fastest fifty in 10 seasons of IPL. Both the foreign batsmen, Miller and Stoinis saw to it that the target is achieved with 7 balls to spare.
In the night game, Kolkota Knight Riders made Royal Challengers Bangalore toil hard for runs, as both De Villiers and Virat Kohli fell in quick succession to the wiles and guiles of Rana in his only over. He clean bowled Kohli and that was the turning point. A score of less than 180 is not good enough while defending the total. Sunil Narine known for his economical spell of bowling made a resounding start by scoring 50 of 19 balls and set the ball rolling for an early finish. He got out second, but Rana, Karthik and Russel managed to achieve the target is with 4 wickets in hand. So far, the team batting second has won all the three matches and set the tone for more teams to put the opposition to bat first after winning the toss. The slam bang T-20 cricket saw an extravaganza beginning thanks to Bravo, Rahul and Narine.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)