As the first week of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) draws to a close, Sudatta Mukherjee looks back at the top five hits and misses of this week.
While most Indians are busy with the general elections 2014, the much-awaited Indian Premier League (IPL) 7 kicked off in the United Arab Emirates on April 16. After Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone made cricketers shake their legs at the IPL gala dinner on April 15, the battle for the IPL 2014 title commenced at Abu Dhabi.
Here are the heroes and zeroes of Week One of IPL 7:
1. Glenn Maxwell’s mega innings against Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
Glenn Maxwell has been in pristine form for the Kings XI Punjab© IANS
Kings XI Punjab, needing 206 from their 20 overs, lost Cheteshwar Pujara and Virender Sehwag early. But Glenn Maxwell and David Miller pulped the CSK attack, with Maxwell scoring a 43-ball 95, (15 fours and two sixes). His strike-rate was an incredible 220.93. After his failure to justify the $1 million price tag at which he was purchased by Mumbai Indians last year, this innings exemplified his destructive prowess.
2. JP Duminy’s back-to-back performances for Delhi Daredevils
JP Duminy has been the most consistent batsman for Delhi © IANS
Sent in to bat by Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Delhi Daredevils (DD) lost their top four batsmen inside eight overs. JP Duminy came to his team’s rescue with an innings of 67 to steer Delhi to 145. Sadly, the bowlers couldn’t defend the target and Delhi registered their first loss. But in the next match against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on Saturday night, Duminy’s timely half-century tilted the scales as Delhi successful chase down a target of 166. When Dinesh Karthik and Duminy were batting, Delhi was inching closer to victory at a nominal pace. However, Delhi faced a blow in the 15th over, when Narine removed Karthik. Manoj Tiwary was soon sent back as well. In a matter of few overs, the situation of the match had changed and KKR were in the driver’s seat. But then, Duminy was still at the crease. In the 18th over of the innings, Duminy hit two sixes and one four off Morne Morkel to decrease the gap between runs required and balls left. Delhi were back in the match. With six required off the last four balls, Duminy smashed a six off the third ball of the last over and Delhi reached the target safely. Eventually, Duminy was named the man of the match.
3. Sunil Narine continues to be a mystery
Sunil Narine has been as unreadable as ever © IANS
In the first match of IPL 7, Sunil Narine registered his fourth four-wicket haul in the IPL and helped KKR beat defending champions Mumbai Indians by 41 runs. In the next match against Delhi Daredevils, after Morkel gave away 21 runs, Narine managed to keep things tight for Delhi. Against Mumbai, he removed crucial players like Michael Hussey, Corey Anderson and Ambati Rayudu, who was batting very well. Narine’s bowling average in the two outings thus far in IPL7 is 7.60. He also has an amazing economy rate of 4.75. Narine is currently the Purple Cap holder with five wickets from two matches.
4. Yuvraj Singh hits back
Yuvraj roared back into form with a brutal half-century © IANS
After a poor show in the ICC World Twenty20 (T20) final, Yuvraj Singh hit back at critics by scoring 29-ball 52 — studded with five sixes and three fours — against Delhi Daredevils. He was involved in an unbeaten 84 runs partnership in just 7.5 overs with skipper Virat Kohli. Royal Challengers Bangalore chased down the target of 146 well within 17 overs.
5. Manish Pandey and Yuzvendra Chahal make it big in different colours
Manish Pandey has come good for the Kolkata franchise © IANS
Manish Pandey, the first Indian to score a century in the IPL, failed to live up to the high expectations he generated after finishing the 2009 edition with an amazing average of 84. But from two matches this season, he has scored 112 runs at an average of 56. He hit 64 in the first match and 48 in the second. He has also been exceptional in the field. Yuzvendra Chahal, who donned the Mumbai Indians cap till last season, has made it big for RCB. After a match-winning performance in the first match against RCB, he picked gave away only 17 runs against his former team and removed the dangerous Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard.
1. Gautam Gambhir’s consecutive ducks
Gautam Gambhir is yet to score a run in IPL 7 © IANS
The Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) title-winnings skipper Gautam Gambhir is yet to open his account in IPL 2014. It’s a disastrous first week for a batsman who scored more than 400 runs in IPL 2013 and 590 runs in IPL 2012.
2. Corey Anderson fails to justify high price tag
After a tremendous home series against India early this year, Anderson has failed to make an impact in this edition of the IPL © Getty Images
After Glenn Maxwell, Mumbai Indians went ahead and made another expensive buy when they bought New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson for Rs 4.5 crores. However, the all-rounder, who made life difficult for India when they toured New Zealand in January, is yet to play a big role in IPL 2014. In two matches, he has scored just 20 runs and hasn’t picked up a single wicket yet. Moreover, he has an economy rate of 11.
3. Defending champions Mumbai Indians suffer twin losses
Defending champions Mumbai are yet to win a game in IPL 7 © IANS
After winning the IPL and Champions Twenty20 (T20) league trophy last year, Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians look clueless. In the first match against Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians lost by 41 runs and in the second match, they lost by seven wickets. Apart from Lasith Malinga’s four wickets and Rayudu’s 48 in the first match, none of the Mumbai players have been impressive.
4. Piyush Chawla’s last over in KKR vs DD match
After a couple of good balls, Chawla conceded a six to lose the match © IANS (File Photo)
Gambhir needed his bowlers to defend a total of 166 against Delhi Daredevils. But Morne Morkel gave away 21 runs in the 18th over to dramatically alter the equations. Gambhir opted for Narine to bowl the 19th over. The West Indian gave away only six runs. Delhi now needed six from the last overs. Gambhir turned to Piyush Chawla, who had conceded 21 runs from his two. The first ball of the last over, Chawla tricked Neesham and the New Zealander missed it. The second ball, Neesham lofted it straight in to the hands of the Yusuf Pathan at deep midwicket. Delhi needed six off three balls. But Duminy had crossed and was on strike. Chawla bowled a quicker and Duminy slammed a six towards deep backward square leg.
5. James Neesham yet to live up to his popularity
James Neesham has failed to live up to his billing as a potential match-winner © Getty Images
Another very impressive New Zealand all-rounder, James Neesham hasn’t really lived up to his popularity yet. The all-rounder scored only eight runs and couldn’t pick up a single wicket from the two matches Delhi played. Moreover, in the match against Kolkata, he was the only bowler whose economy rate was above 10. He bowled two overs and gave away 26 runs. It will be interesting to see whether he is able to break free and play a vital role in Delhi’s matches.
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(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog and produces weekly posts on new food joints at Whopping Weekends. She played Table Tennis for University of Calcutta. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English serial on her laptop. Her Twitter id is @blackrosegal)