By Dhananjay Devasper
A Super Sunday it was, and one which was a treat for all cricket lovers. Double-headers played on superb batting wickets, which went down to the wire, runs were aplenty and emotions at a high. It could have been a script written in Hollywood, except that it was all happening right here in the Indian Premier League (IPL). If one thought that the performance of both the teams was enough to whet the cricketing appetites of many, a close look will only underline the fact that both the matches were eerily similar.
Openers follow a pattern
The openers for all the teams seemed to follow an uncanny pattern. In the first match between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, the overseas openers of the two sides - James Franklin and Francois du Plessis - got out cheaply.
In the second match between Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers, Dan Harris played an important part in laying the foundation for Deccan while Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chris Gayle – provided a fitting riposte for RCB in the run chase.
Maidens bowl them over
In the T20 format, dot balls become the statistic to look out for, so a maiden over is a rarity. But both the matches had maiden overs, bowled by the side bowling second. Ben Hilfenhaus for Chennai and Dale Steyn for Deccan. Funnily enough, both the teams ended up on the losing side.
Middle order makes the difference
The middle order in both the games contributed significantly to the momentum of the run scoring. In the Mumbai-Chennai game, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni and Dwayne Bravo made timely contributions to get their side to a respectable total, while Cameron White made a significant contribution for Deccan Chargers in the second match.
Similarly Rohit Sharma and Mumbai’s new hero Dwayne Smith played decisive innings for Mumbai’s victory. For the Royal Challengers, it was all AB de Villiers and a cameo by Mayank Agarwal which provided enough impetus to ensure a thrilling finish and a monumental victory for their team.
Near defeat from the jaws of victory
In both the games, the winning teams held the upper hand for most part of the match till a crazy period of play nearly threatened to hand over the advantage to their opponents. Mumbai Indians were going pretty well till Sachin Tendulkar, Dinesh Karthik and Rohit fell in quick time. It was a procession of wickets, till Dwayne Smith decided to throw the kitchen sink at the last three balls to get an improbable victory.
A similar pattern unfolded in the other game of the day. Dilshan seemed to be on song, but when wickets started falling all around him and he got out as well, it seemed all over for the Royal Challengers. However, de Villiers then decided to muscle his team to victory and taking his compatriot Dale Steyn to the cleaners on the way.
Cricket – The great leveler
One has often heard the adage, “Cricket is a great leveler”. It was there for all to see on Sunday when both the bowlers who bowled maiden overs ended up bowling the overs that would change the course of the match and hand it to the opponents. Both Hilfenhaus and Steyn who looked unplayable earlier in the innings bowled the game-changing overs and got hammered for 16 and 23 runs respectively to effectively hand over the match to their respective opponents.
This IPL season has already provided for some thrilling cricket and there’s definitely more in store as the race for the play-offs heats up.
(Dhananjay Devasper is an "IT guy" by profession and a sports fanatic at heart. He has an unbridled passion for sports and Indian achievements in sport. Extremely opinionated, he attempts offering perspectives around sports which are simple to understand and easy to relate with)