The IPL began with a bang with a first ball dismissal that was spectacular too. Young Unmukt Chand’s first big game at the Eden Gardens was a disaster as he found his off stump sent into orbit by an express delivery from Brett Lee. From there on it was the Kolkata Knight Riders all the way, as in the absence of Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen, the Delhi team found the going tough against the defending champions.
It was wonderful to see a packed Eden Gardens after such a long time and hopefully all the other games will also have the same backing from the crowd. Sunil Narine worked his magic once again and even though he has been around for a season now, he is still a mystery to most batsmen who cannot read which way the ball is going to turn.
Normally with video analysts around, bowlers with such actions are deciphered sooner than later as happened in the case of Ajantha Mendis, but Narine continues to baffle most, and the pitches in India where the ball turns appreciably are just perfect for him.
Gautam Gambhir also showed that being out of the Indian team has made him even more determined to win his place back, and though he got out when looking set for a big score, he has done enough to give himself the confidence for the rest of the tournament.
The next match was a last ball affair, with the home team the Royal Challengers just pipping the Mumbai team. This was due to a fine last over from Vinay Kumar who bowled the wicket taking dot balls and then a very good yorker to the big hitting Pollard who was once again wasted down the order.
Chris Gayle, as he does quite regularly now played himself in and then unleashed a barrage of shots that made up for the slightly slow start. He is not fussed about the field restrictions in the first six overs, for that is the time the ball is moving a bit, so he bides his time and then goes bang bang and the bowlers can do very little about it as even the mishits go far away.
Dinesh Karthik tried to swing the game his team’s way and like last year, Dan Christian was the bowler who suffered, but thanks to Vinay Kumar, the game was brought under control and the Bangalore team began with a win on its home turf.
It was terrific to see Ponting and Tendulkar open the batting and Mumbai do have plenty of riches as far as the batting is concerned, but unless they make proper use of Pollard they will continue to disappoint at crucial stages.
This is just the first week of the IPL, but Chris Gayle has made an immediate impact and for his cracking unbeaten innings of 92, he is the Ceat International Cricketer of the Week.
Professional Management Group