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Monday, April 11, 2016

IPL 2016 has begun ~ Champion dance - Pune supergiants win and more !!

IPL T20, the premier league season 2016 is on – a total of 60 matches, of which 2 already gone…  how much of ‘club loyalty’ people had, and how easily the yellow whistlers will shift to others and will it be Pune giants is one Q !  Way back in 1985 WCC – Tony Greig spelled out ‘ Siva, Rama, Krishna – the Hindu God – destroyer’ – now we heard Navjot Sidhu explaining out difficultly – Karthikeyan et al .. for Murugan Ashwin, who ?

We have seen Dwayne Bravo perform on the field, be it for his Nation or for club – there was his  ‘Champion dance’ as the fellow cricketers and crowd cheered him. Bravo also danced to another number ‘Chalo Chalo’ and was joined on the stage by Bollywood playback singer Ankit Tewari who sang an Indian version of ‘Champion’ — ‘Hindustan Mein Bade Bade Champion... was that impressive ?

A few years ago,  the inauguration of IPL 5 ~ it was not at Chepauk, far away from the Cricket stadium at Nandanam there were more crowds – mad people spending so much – not for seeing cricketers in action………….. they opened the stage with bollywood diva Kareena Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Prabhudeva, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Colonial Cousins and Katy Perry.  Yes, an  American Singer, songwriter and actress - Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson better known by her stage name Katy Perry performed for IPL at  YMCA College of Physical Education ~ an innovative move to promote and popularize and patronize cricket !!! – I don’t think that was hit as was this 2016 opener.  There was a costly set, use of fluorescent lights, and even the performances of Katrina Kaif, Ranveer Singh and Jacqueline Fernandez – still it appeared  plain boring, with people at venue seen on their phones, looking sleepy or were completely blank-faced as they had no clue what was being performed before them.

Away from the flutter, in the first match - Rising Pune Supergiants made a sweet start to their life in the IPL, their seamers waylaying Mumbai Indians' top order to set up a breezy nine-wicket win over the defending champions. Chasing 122, they got there with 32 balls to spare, Ajinkya Rahane steering them home with a fluent unbeaten 66 off 42 balls. Mumbai made life easier for Supergiants, with Jos Buttler fluffing a chance to run du Plessis out after a dreadful mix-up between the openers, and Shreyas Gopal missing a caught-and-bowled off Rahane.

During the World T20, MS Dhoni gave R Ashwin his full quota of overs only twice in five matches. He bowled three overs against Pakistan and only two overs each against Australia and West Indies. Dhoni has captained R Ashwin right through his IPL career - at Chennai Super Kings for the tournament's first eight seasons, and now at Rising Pune Supergiants. The new franchise was making its debut on a Wankhede pitch that was helping the seamers, and it wasn't really a surprise that spin only entered the scene in the 11th over of Mumbai's innings.  But the Ashwin who took the ball at that point was the debutant legspinner M Ashwin rather than the world-renowned offspinner R Ashwin. M Ashwin had bowled three overs before R Ashwin finally came on for the first time, in the 16th over. It was the only over he bowled, despite the fact that he took a wicket off his first ball. The situation was so good to make a debut for the youngster who initially bowled long-hops and half-volleys and got away – did turn the ball well a couple of times, the odd googly flowed – there was the big loop in hands – has Dhoni found another star ?

In yesterday’s match, there should be more Q on  the big money  spent on little-known players - and Delhi Daredevils will have to find some answers quickly. Ninety-eight all out in a Twenty20 match is just not enough. The slide started very early. Quinton de Kock hit two handsome boundaries against Umesh Yadav to get himself underway, but in repeating the shot against the quicker Andre Russell.  Rahul Dravid, the mentor must be feeling the tension as there were no plans either in sending out players or the way they played.  Pawan Negi, who was bought by Daredevils for INR 8.5 crore, the highest sum paid for an uncapped player in the IPL, was rushed in as a pinch hitter in the sixth over with the score on 35 for 4. Negi has been part of the Indian team in two tournaments - the Asia Cup and the World T20 - but he made the XI in only one match - against the UAE.  For him and Sanju Samson the existence in middle was struggle. 

Carlos Brathwaite certainly had a lot of company when he walked out to bat and he continued from where he left in WC T20 finals, the 1st ball of Piyush Chawla sent for another six.   Four balls into his innings, a Piyush Chawla legbreak trapped him plumb in front.  Robin Uthappa, Gambhir and Manish Pandey – ensured an easy win for KKR.

In case, you do not know, Sony is airing commentary in Tamil & Telegu – Sadagopan Ramesh, Hemang Badani on mike and N Venugopala Rao, Venkatapathy Raju, MSK Prasad in Telegu.  There is not the familiar voice of  Harsha Bhogle. The 54-year-old, whose association with Indian cricket goes back to the mid-80s and who has been describing IPL action since the 2008 opening season, was informed about the termination of his IPL contract just a week back.

With regards – S.Sampathkumar
11th Apr 2016


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