So far, in this glitz and glamour tournament, 54 games have been played, two more to go and then the two semi-finals and, then the final. Who do you think will go to the finals? And the 1.2 million dollar question is, who will lift the IPL Cup?
Rajhastan Royals are everyone’s favourite but, favourites always disappoint in big games. The team that rose to the occasion today is, Chennai Super Kings they eliminated Mumbai Indians from the tournament after defeating the Deccan Chargers. They have a very good bowling attack comprising of Ntini, Gony, Morkel, Balaji and Muralitharan. Most people believe that a good bowling attack can restrict the opposition from posting a big total. Chennai’s batting line up is not that formidable, but when they click, they all chip in. In T20 format you don’t have to have world’s best bowlers or world’s biggest hitters. So far in the 54 games played in the IPL tournament has proved that big hitters like Symonds, Gilchrist, Gibbs, Afridi cannot win the matches. In fact Deccan Chargers have hit most sixes and most fours in this tournament than any team, yet they have remained at the bottom of the table. Like some of our bloggers rightly call them as “Dhukkans for the bottom.”
Its also been proved that neither the very cautious and traditional cricket players like, Dravid, Jaffar, Laxman, Tendulkar or, even the most promising T20 expert Misbah ul Haq had done anything significant in helping their teams win. Rajhastan with a sound leader, Shane Warne who turned out to be a great motivator changed a bunch of youngsters and won most matches to remain at the top of the table. If Rajhastan Royals wins the final, no one would be surprised. But, big games are different from the round matches, so you never know. Similarly big names in the bowling department like, Shoaib Akhtar, McGrath, Asif, Umar Gul, Shaun Pollock, Dale Styen, Murali couldn’t win matches for their teams on a consistent basis. Sohail Tanvir not so famous like others made a lasting impression with excellent figures and he is the leading wicket taker in fewer games than others.
The opening partnerships are also very crucial in posting a big total, but that is also not a guarantee to win the match, Gambhir and Sehwag have been pretty consistent but they have not been able to win most matches like Rajhastan Royals. Tendulkar joined the band wagon very late, him and Jayasuriya started off well, but they have not won all the time. If one remembers the T20 WC in SA when Chris Gayle hammered a century and the opening pair added a huge total, but then the whole team collapsed, although WI scored more than 200 runs, but lost the match to SA. So, there is no guarantee that the momentum will continue after a big partnership by the opening players..
In case of Punjab XI they have a very balanced side and their openers and their top and middle order are more consistent than others. With all the probabilities and possibilities, with all the combinations, calculations and permutations, a team with sound players, not necessarily big names can win a big game. I would predict a final between Punjab Kings XI and Chennai Kings XI. And, my two cents are on Punjab XI because of Shaun Marsh, Luke Pomersbatch, Sangakara and Jayawardene and hopefully Yuvraj will rise to the big occasion to add a feather of arrogance in his cap, with Sreesanth and Irfan’s accurate bowling, will Punjab XI emerge as winners? Or, Dhoni’s men will defy them with their bowling attack and Dhoni himself will play a big innings. This is a question that will be answered on June 1st or may be earlier than that. What is your prediction? Who is your favourite team? And why do you rate them above others? Lets start the deliberations and continue it till Sunday.
If Punjab XI and Chennai Super Kings play the final, there will be one commonality between the two captains, they both would be after the cup, like they both were after the “Red Cherry” called Dipika Padukone. No one knows who won that race, but once they are pitched against each other in the cricket arena, the result would be known to the public.