Having won their first games of the DLF IPL 2012, both the Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors will be looking to keep the momentum going when they play their matches today. On a pitch that was full of runs and where the ball came nicely on to the bat, the Rajasthan boys played some terrific shots and with a quick outfield to boot, the crowd thoroughly enjoyed itself.
What was amusing to see was the usually correct Rahul Dravid take his front foot out of the way and play some slog sweeps and connect sweetly too. At the other end Ajinkya Rahane showed the improvement he has made in his batting by playing straight batted shots and getting runs with ease.
In this respect he is like Kumar Sangakkara who also plays the lofted shot straight over the bowlers head where there is less chance of it being caught than when hit across the line. What Rahane also does very well is that he does not attempt to power the ball instead looking to chip it just over the fielders in the circle. He therefore does not lose out on the timing that most batsmen unused to the big shots do when going for the sixes.
Rahane missed out on a well deserved hundred when he backed away to the leg side and was bowled. He had not played that shot throughout his innings and when he tried that he perished and it is a lesson he will learn. He was also in that classic dilemma of a batsman nearing an individual landmark and wanting to show that it did not matter to him.
What he will also learn is that landmarks like a century and that too in the T20 format don't happen every day and only those who have never got there will be the ones who will point a finger at him for looking to get there and not looking for the big shots. He was already scoring at a great rate so a couple of singles would not have hurt the team. In any case the team ended up winning by a comfortable margin, thanks to the clever change of pace that Cooper used.
Gautam Gambhir's Kolkata Knight Riders have some explosive batsmen in their ranks and they need to be given as many overs as possible to bat especially now that they have started on a losing note. At the fag end of the Indian season the pitches will be tired and dry and so the spinner is going to be more useful than the quicker bowlers who will only go even quicker off the bat. The Knight Riders have the advantage of having most of their batsmen being able to turn their arm over and that gives Gambhir plenty of options.
Pune have begun impressively with a fine win over Mumbai Indians. Skipper Ganguly quickly realised that spin was the way to go to defend the smallish total and Murali Kartik bowled superbly to show that if some bias against him is removed, he is still the best left hand spinner in the country.
He has not played another Test for India after bagging the man of the match award in his last appearance for India and that tells you the bias against him. Be that as it may, he will be just the competitor that Ganguly would want in his team, a player who will never give up and one who will use all his experience to give hundred percent with both ball and bat.
Professional Management Group