It was CricketCountry¢’s writer Nishad Pai Vaidya (inset) who noticed that the television broadcasters of the IPL4 used a wrong footage which cost Sachin Tendulkar his wicket in Mumbai Indian¢s game against Deccan Chargers on April 24.
It was CricketCountry¢’s writer Nishad Pai Vaidya (inset) who noticed that the television broadcasters of the IPL4 used a wrong footage which cost Sachin Tendulkar his wicket in Mumbai Indian¢s game against Deccan Chargers on April 24.

 

By Suneer Chowdhary

 

As the third week of the fourth edition of the Indian Premier League draws to a close, here is a lowdown of what happened this week.

 

Chasing becomes difficult

 

The first couple of weeks had seen the teams preferring to bat second, thanks mainly to the thought process that promised greater rewards for chasing down targets. Eight of the 11 games in the first week were won by the teams chasing, while the second week saw the teams batting second win seven of 11. In the third week, of the ten games that were played, the teams batting first had won six of them – an indication that electing to bat first after winning the toss could be back in vogue in the fourth week.

 

And, yes, a part of this problem can be attributed to the slowing down of the pitches, which can again be pointed out statistically. In the first two weeks of the IPL, the average runs per over was 7.9, which has fallen down to 7.66 in the third week, despite the presence of that game in which Delhi amassed 231 and Punjab replied with 202.

 

The Delhi-Punjab game at Kotla

 

Speaking of which, that game was a strange throwback to the times when Kotla was a slow and low and dry track which helped no bowler and yet made life difficult for the batsmen. And after Punjab went down in a high-scoring thriller that yielded more than 430 runs, Adam Gilchrist whinged about the track being an unhealthy one for the bowlers. In those heady days, it was the batsmen who did all the complaining – Gautam Gambhir was one of the proponents of the Kotla criticism brigade. And for once it was good to see the shoe being on the other foot.

 

A bitter-sweet birthday

 

Sachin Tendulkar was in no mood to celebrate his birthday after his spiritual guru passed away on the same morning. His woes did not end there. Dismissed off the bowling of Amit Mishra, the on-field umpire decided to check the bowler’s frontfoot at the point of delivery. The third umpire used the second replay to give Tendulkar out. A day later, it took an astute cricket writer of cricketcountry.com, Nishad Pai Vaidya, to point out that the second replay show was an incorrect footage where it had Tendulkar at the non-striker’s end!

 

The Indians have shied away from the use of DRS in the past on the grounds of it not being fool-proof. After the above incident, will it be the turn of the third umpire to bite the dust?

 

Pune’s repetition

 

At the start of the IPL, Pune seemed to have one of the better batting sides in the tournament. In the last three games, they have fluctuated from the poor to the abysmal, traversing the pathetic, shoddy and dismal on their way. After winning the first two and losing a high-scoring third, the Warriors have lost their first four wickets in the next three games for 17, 40 and 41 runs respectively.

 

Ishant’s return to Waterloo

 

In another game, Ishant Sharma made a telling comeback in the tournament. As a precocious, but more importantly a quick, bouncy 19-year bowler, Ishant had been the toast of the nation, he had pushed one the greatest contemporary batsmen in the world, Ricky Ponting in a corner and punched the living daylights out of him in his own backyard in a Test. Then, the 2008 edition of the IPL happened, Ishant was selected for the Kolkata Knight Riders and after a poor performance there, it all went downhill for the lanky pacer.

 

So, when he finally made the ball speak the language that he has been tutoring it to do in the last couple of seasons, it would have been a pleasant feeling. In a spell of two overs, Ishant had scalped five wickets and broken the Kochi resistance in a chase of only 130 runs. There was assistance from the track, undoubtedly, but to be able to exploit it the way he did was a throwback to the time when the hopes of the Indian fans’ soared and hearts skipped a beat on having a quick bowler of the stature of Ishant.

 

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)