The Champions of IPL 2, Deccan Chargers, have begun abysmally. They lost their opening game at Hyderabad and then played badly to lose to Kolkata Knight Riders. That was the game where they could have put some serious pressure on the Knight Riders.
The Knight Riders had lost their first game away from the Eden Gardens and did not know what sort of support they would get when they played at the iconic ground because the icon of Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly, was not retained by them. The crowd too wasn't up to its usual number and that in fact proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Knight Riders, as there was thus less pressure on them.
Kohli, de Villiers walk the ramp with aplomb
They won quite comfortably in the end and it was heartwarming to see the smiles on the faces of Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla. These two have entertained millions of Indians over the last decade and half and brought smiles on the faces of many more and they deserved to be smiling too.
They got their wish as the Knight Riders kept their nerve and played bold cricket to win the game from a tentative Deccan Chargers team. Now wouldn't it be great if the icon himself being a Kolkatan appeals to the locals to turn up in huge numbers and support their team.
I can tell you from personal experience that a full Eden Gardens is a scary prospect even for the home team but it is absolutely petrifying for the opposition when the crowd gets totally involved and backs the home team.
Whenever Chandra or Kapil used to run in to bowl and the packed Eden would go'boooowled' you could literally see fear in the eyes of the visiting team's batsmen. There was only the odd batsman who relished that, but take my word for it the majority had knocking knees. So if the Eden is full over the next few days, then the Knight Riders will triumph more than stumble as they have in the past.
Unfortunately for the Deccan Chargers, the home ground advantage just doesn't seem to be working for they have lost every single match that they have played in Hyderabad including the Champions League games but as the old saying goes, there is always a first time and that could well be against the Royal Challengers who are also struggling to find their feet in this edition of the IPL.
Yes, there are still plenty of games left but well begun is half done and the Mumbai Indians have won both their games with ease and look a most confident unit. The Challengers have a terrific new ball attack in Zaheer Khan and Dirk Nannes followed by skipper Daniel Vettori but after that it is easy pickings for the batsmen and if one of the above three has a bad day as Zaheer had against Mumbai, then even a score of 200 plus won't be enough.
That is what the Chargers must try and capitalize on, but first they have to get rid of the losing mentality at Hyderabad and that is going to be the bigger challenge than the opposition.
Professional Management Group