IPL 5 has probably been the closest of all IPLs and has as many twists and turns as a mystery novel. One of the reasons for that is suddenly most of the teams have become great chasers.
More matches have been won while chasing rather than putting runs on the board in IPL 5. The highest score of IPL 5 so far has been Chennai Super King’s 208/5, a match-winning last ball affair with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Batting second and posting a 160+ run to win the match has been done about 10 times.
One of the reasons for this has been a high amount of big overs. Chris Gayle’s five sixes for a 31-run over remains the highest, while 27 & 28 runs have also been scored in an over. In fact 25 runs each in consecutive has also been achieved.
One of the most astonishing knocks was RCB chasing a victory target of 182 against the Deccan Chargers. AB de Villiers carted the pick of the bowlers in the form of lethal Dale Steyn for 23 runs in an over. That turned the match on its head. From a close match, RCB ultimately won by 7 balls to spare.
In the 2008 IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders beat RCB by a whopping margin of 140 runs on opposition turf. That remains a record. But if one looks at the top 10 largest margins of victories across all IPLs, the IPL 5 is the only season that does not figure in that list.
The same thing is the case with the top 10 lowest scores. The worst performance of IPL 5, in the form of Mumbai Indians’ 92 all down versus Delhi Daredevils makes it to the joint 10th in that list.
Revenge is sweet
How does an ex-captain react when he faces off with his old franchise team on his ole home ground? Does he take it as a grudge match? If that is the case, then most captains managed to extract their revenge.
First up was Rahul Dravid of the Rajasthan Royals, who came down to Bangalore to square off with his ole team RCB. Thanks to a brilliant century by Ajinkya Rahane, RR posted a formidable 195/2. Dravid was involved in a 62-run opening stand with Rahane. RCB in reply crashed to 136 all down.
Then Gautam Gambhir of KKR came to Delhi to play DD. That also went in Gambhir’s favour. In form DD could only set a victory target of 154. Gambhir was involved in an opening stand of 68 and KKR romped home by 6 wickets to top the table.
IPL Points Table
After that it was the turn of Adam Gilchrist of KXIP. Even though he sat in the sidelines due to an injury, he saw his team get the better of DC in Hyderabad by 25 runs. Revenge is indeed sweet.
The only ex-captain who lost happened to be the most high profile of them all. Sourav Ganguly, leading Pune Warriors India went down to KKR in his home ground of Kolkata.
The tragic part was that KKR could muster up just 150/5 as it batted first. What should have been a walk in the park for a fighting Dada turned out to be a damp squib. PWI could muster up only 143/8 in its allotted quota.
It must be said that Dada has to take his share of the blame. A slow 36 off 35 was one of the reasons for the loss. It has been an indifferent season for the great Ganguly. His average strike rate has been an abysmal 100%, which is pretty low by T20 standards.
Once upon a time in ODIs for India Dada was the king of sixes and today he is just watching from the sidelines as others have taken over this mantle. The fortunes of PWI have also plummeted. It won 3 of its first 4 matches to show great promise. But after losing 6 matches on the trot, it is down and out.
So will Dada finally call it a day from active cricket? He will turn 40 in a couple of months, but one never knows. You can never rule him out. He could well come back with a bang in IPL 6!
Hair today gone tomorrow
What is with seniors of the team and long hairstyles? First it was Zaheer Khan. Then it was Dada and finally Sachin Tendulkar. One wonders whether it is an attempt to look young!
But one person who keeps changing his hairstyle and getting noticed a lot for it is MS Dhoni, captain of CSK. Dhoni has kept re-inventing his career and his hairstyle. With CSK in a precarious position vis a vis qualifying for the last four, maybe it’s time for Dhoni to change his hairstyle yet again!
The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/