As the IPL comes to the last bend of the tournament every game assumes significance for not only does a win push a team up the ladder it also shoves the vanquished one down the pecking order. The Kolkata Knight Riders are on a roll after their fine win over the then table toppers Delhi and with Mumbai having lost to the Royal Challengers quite tamely, the pressure will be on the men in blues than on the boys with the purple.
Delhi has, as is their style, stormed back to the top with an incredible win over the Deccan Chargers. Chasing a score at more than 9 runs an over is never easy and especially when they lost the in-form skipper Virender Sehwag in the first over itself. Then David Warner took over to show that Pietersen will not be missed. He got a century which will go down as one of the finest displays of batting in T20 cricket because there was no wild slogging but some outstanding cricket shots.
Yes, in an innings like that there would be the odd swipe with a cross bat but in the main it was great drives and some terrific short arm pulls. He packs so much power that even some shots which looked as if they were not timed well scorched their way to the boundary. He and Naman Ojha added 189 runs without being separated and while it was understandable that Warner dominated the partnership Ojha showed that he deserves a chance at the higher level too.
It is true that batting in T20 and batting in the 50 overs is different and one should not get carried away by the batting in a T20 game but it was again the quality of stroke making from Ojha that was highly impressive. Many wicketkeepers have had opportunities but not Ojha and while Dhoni’s place is not in danger, it would be good to have options available.
That said, it brings into question the selection of the Deccan team. With Shikhar Dhawan and Cameron White in good form and with Sangakarra and Duminy capable of blasting the bowling, how could they leave out a bowler of Dale Steyn’s calibre when he was not injured, is beyond understanding.
Yes, he was taken for a few by AB de Villiers in an earlier encounter, but that will not happen every day. They needed to strengthen their bowling since their batting was looking good but it’s hard to understand the mindset that is guiding them to their doom.
Mumbai Indians will be hoping that Malinga will be able to get Gambhir early because the Kolkata skipper is batting fluently and guiding his team to big totals. A win at the Eden will certainly boost their chances. Kolkata will be hoping that Yusuf Pathan strikes form for he can be a game turner. It should be a great game.
Professional Management Group