What a fascinating weekend’s action in the Indian Premier League. While we here in the UK slowed down a little for an extended weekend, there was no sign of much slowing down in India.
While few would have been too surprised to see the Mumbai Indians making the early running with two wins out of three, the appearance of Rajasthan Royals and Pune Warriors alongside them will come as something of a surprise.
Astutely led by Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly respectively, their rise to prominence has given the tournament an added dimension and it could turn out to be the most open yet.
It just needs the Kings XI Punjab to pull out some performances and then all teams might think they are in with a chance of a play-off place. Early days yet though.
Initially I didn’t think the Kings XI should be too concerned after they hit more than 160 in their opening game but lost but they have some issues with their bowling which need to put right, and swiftly, else they’ll find themselves in trouble.
The game of the weekend was probably the Mumbai-Deccan encounter which had a bit of everything. Excellent batting from Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma, outstanding bowling from Dale Steyn and plenty of controversy.
Should Kumar Sangakkara have been given out? Yes. Should players crowd and hararss the umpires when a mistake has been made? No. Therefore, a fine for Munaf Patel and a warning for Harbhajan are a step in the right direction.
It is no good simply to sign a Spirit of Cricket charter prior to the tournament. The players are rightly expected to subsequently uphold the values of the game and can have no complaints when they are pulled up for transgressing the code of conduct.
Kevon Cooper is fast proving to be the bargain buy of the tournament although Chennai will have been delighted to have seen their big buy Ravindra Jadeja produce an excellent all-round performance as they thrashed the Chargers.
The Deccan side can consider themselves unlucky to still be looking for their first point but lacked the quality at the death to close out the match against Mumbai, who even without Sachin Tendulkar, will undoubtedly be there or thereabouts come the business end of the tournament.
As will Bangalore, for whom AB de Villiers looks in prime touch and although Chris Gayle hasn’t scored big runs in today’s game, their new signing Muttiah Muralitharan is looking like a shrewd purchase.
What have been your highlights of the opening week’s action in the IPL?