Chennai and Mumbai were the two venues picked to host the first leg of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League. 'Grit, grind, sweat it out' as opposed to 'belter, batting paradise, out of the ground' - this is how the two diametrically opposite characteristics of the first two IPL venues this season have been described.
As the Chennai and Mumbai leg of this year’s IPL came to an end on Sunday, it is safe to say that it will always be a topic of discussion for the cricket aficionados. Given how each venue has tested the skill and game sense of batters and bowlers in different ways at various junctures of a match, IPL 2021 has gotten off to a brilliant start.
We saw how teams floundered at times in their chase in Chennai, where batting out 20 overs in pursuit of an achievable target was nothing short of climbing a lofty mountain.
The conditions were tough because of the humidity and the slow nature of the tracks. What was interesting to note was that the set batsmen, for the most part, were simply unable to put their heads down and guide the team right until the end.
It has been oddly unsettling to see established players huff and puff in pursuit of setting or chasing a target in a rather batsmen-dominated era in cricket. The Chennai track will be remembered for bringing out the thrill of low-scoring encounters in the IPL.
Wankhede has not been an easy place for the bowlers in Mumbai. The ball tended to fly over short boundaries and even scores around the 200 run mark were no longer safe.
It would have been great to see man-of-the-match adjudicators consistently reward bowlers who do well on batsmen-friendly pitches and batsmen who come out top on bowler-friendly ones.
Were the Chennai and Mumbai pitches good for cricket?
While critics might argue that neither of the tracks are perfect for the game considering the lack of parity between bat and ball, it is indeed a great learning opportunity for some of the youngsters.
They can hone their skills and develop a strong game that would hold them in good stead no matter how favorable or harsh the conditions on offer might be in the future.
With the first leg of the tournament now over, we have bid adieu to Mumbai and Chennai. The second leg is being hosted by Delhi and Ahmedabad. Let's see what is in store for us in Northern India.