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IPL 2014: Early observations from the UAE leg

The UAE leg of the IPL is over. Every team has now played 5 games each and some paaterns are beginning to emerge. Yet its still a long way to go and as it is said in sports - "It ain't over till its over". Here are a few random thoughts & memories ...

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

The UAE leg of the IPL is over. Every team has now played 5 games each and some patterns are beginning to emerge. It is still a long way to go, though, and as it is said in sports – “It ain’t over till its over”. Here are a few random thoughts and memories from the games so far.
  • Catches win matches – The old adage still holds true. If you need proof, just check Chris Lynn’s effort that changed the course of the Kolkata Knight Riders-Royal Challengers Bangalore game. Also, a high number of catches have been dropped that have enabled some batsmen to simply blaze away.
  • Steve Smith’s cool-headedness in calmly tapping away Sunil Narine for two, instead of going for glory in the Super Over [Aside - if you have a system of counting 6s and 4s, why have the Super Over business at all?]
  • Indian fast bowling is suddenly looking in good health with the likes of Zaheer Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Varun Aaron leading the charge. Then we have Sandeep Sharma, Vinay Kumar and Lakshmipathy Balaji also putting in good performances. Either the pitches have all seamed around or the bowling has been exceptionally good.
  • India’s batsmen somehow have not fired with the exception of Ajinkya Rahane and Manish Pandey.
  • The Mumbai Indians advisory board has a better chance of success than their playing XI. Just why have they managed to let so many of their existing players go off to other franchisees is confusing to say the least. The likes of Glenn Maxwell, Dwayne Smith, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Suryakumar Yadav are some of the names who should have been in the Mumbai team
  • Chennai Super Kings seem to have shrugged off their off-field distractions and are back into their sail-into-the-knockouts-form
  • The RCB squad looked a batting powerhouse but is looking more like a powermouse now (to quote the interim BCCI head Sunil Gavaskar). 70 all out against Rajasthan Royals being a a case in point.
  • The decision to auction the uncapped players has actually limited the number of potential backup players.
  • The schedule is a little lopsided. Now some of the franchisees have 5 “home” games, while others have 4 remaining. For all practical purposes, the UAE leg was neutral to all concerned. Although the definition of “home” and “away” is getting quite blurred in some cases; for example, with Dhoni captaining CSK, who will dare to term KKR as the home team in tonight’s encounter at Ranchi?
Till next time…

Published with permission from Nishant Kumar.

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