The Deccan Chargers seem to have lost their way again. Having broken the jinx at their home ground, it appeared that they were on the upswing but despite possessing a well balanced attack they have not been able to stick to the winning route. The problem seems to be in the batting where there has been little consistency and no one player has put his hand up and decided to bat for most of the 20 overs.
They are getting good openings but are not capitalizing on them and there is an air of tiredness about the team. What this IPL has shown is that batsmen who are getting terrific starts with proper cricketing strokes then try what can only be described as tired thinking shots and lose their wickets.
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In the match against the Chennai Super Kings, Sunny Sohal batted splendidly using the full face of the bat and hitting the ball either square or front of the wicket when the seam bowlers were on. Suddenly when the spinner comes on he tries the reverse sweep, misses it, then hits a full face of the bat six and then tries the reverse sweep again, misses it and gets bowled.
Hadn't he just got the maximum with the full face of the bat playing a proper cricketing shot? Then why go for a reverse where the chances of getting a connection are uncertain? Robin Uthappa is another who does not seem to think beyond the reverse sweep. Last year he hit some of the biggest sixes seen in the IPL where he used his feet and smashed the ball with the full face of the bat.
Whatever the format of the game, a batsman will always have a better chance playing proper cricketing strokes than those which may evoke a bit of cheer but percentage wise are much less than fifty fifty. Wouldn't it be better to be caught in the deep on the boundary than being bowled and that too actually seeing oneself being bowled? Most batsmen only see their stumps spread seconds later but in a reverse sweep the batsman actually sees the ball crashing on to his stumps. How bad is that?
The Kolkata Knight Riders on the other hand have learnt their lessons quickly. Their skipper Gautam Gambhir is one who is like a sponge, always eager to know how to improve and get better and so he absorbs quickly the lessons from previous games.
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Moreover he knows that in this format the game can change in an over so he ensures that he is there to guide the team even if there is plenty of batting to come. He has been not just the inspiration but also the perspiration that has taken the KKR to the top.
Wasim Akram's return after a short break also has had a positive influence as the bowlers are now using variety and are bowling cannily in the slog overs like he used to. Manoj Tiwary is another who has understood that it is not enough just to play a few good looking shots and then throw it away and is now staying the distance.
A batsman's ability in limited overs cricket is seen when his team is chasing and the asking rate is high and not when he is batting first and the opposition is on the defensive and there is no pressure of the scoring rate. If the Chargers don't turn it around now, it may well be too late.
Professional Management Group