Gautam Gambhir has endured a miserable run in IPL 2014 so far © IANS
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 has finished its United Arab Emirates (UAE)-leg and now returns to India. The response from the fans in the Middle East has been warming for the IPL. There were even some fantastic individual and team performances. But there were a lot of flops in the UAE-leg of IPL 2014 and Shrikant Shankar looks at some of them.
Let us begin with the biggest flops of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 — Mumbai Indians. The defending champions have lost all their five matches at UAE. The first four were by thumping margins. Mumbai’s fifth match was against Sunrisers Hyderabad and they produced their best performances so far, but still lost by 15 runs. Even before the IPL 2014 came back to India, Mumbai are out of the reckoning for a Play-Off spot. Rohit Sharma’s team have looked down on confidence and form. Their next match is at the Wankhede Stadium against in-form Kings XI Punjab. Maybe a setting at their historic home ground is what they need for a turnaround in fortunes.
Yusuf Pathan was dropped by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the first time since they bought him in 2011. He played all their 52 IPL matches till the match against Rajasthan Royals at Abu Dhabi on April 29. Yusuf’s poor form has seen him score only 18 runs in four IPL 7 matches. He has not bowled as well. He is not a good fielder either, so, batting becomes very important for him. Hi removal did not change KKR’s luck, but that was down to other reasons.
The Kolkata captain has probably been the biggest flop in IPL 7, but his innings of 45 against Rajasthan shifted some of the focus and tension from him. Prior to that innings, Gautam Gambhir had scores of 0 0, 0, and 1. One really does not need to explain any further.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Shikhar Dhawan has also had a forgettable UAE-leg of the IPL 2014. He has scores of 38 and 33 in his five innings. Granted the second was a quick one, but the first was a drag. His other scores include 1, 7, and 6. Dhawan has been in poor form for a while even before the IPL began. Captaincy also is not helping him as he seems like a fish out of the water. Sunrisers are sixth in the IPL Points table, despite having some very good players. But Dhawan has to start scoring the runs at the top as a captain’s form is very crucial for any team.
Amit Mishra started the IPL 7 campaign with two two-wicket hauls. The first one was a good spell against Rajasthan, but in the second one he was carted for a lot of runs against Punjab — 56 to be precise. His next three matches have yielded zero wickets and he has conceded a lot of runs as well. For someone, who is the second-highest wicket-taker in IPL history, that is no good.
There aren’t many such articles that do not include Ishant Sharma. The Hyderabad team management playing only two matches in IPL 7 is a proof that his form has not been good. Ishant did reasonably well in his first match against Rajasthan and took one wicket for 29 runs. But it was a low-scoring match and more was needed from him. In his second match against Chennai Super Kings, Ishant took two wickets, but had an economy-rate of 9.25. This was not a high-scoring match as Chennai chased down a moderate target of 146 with ease.
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(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)