Emerging as champions in the Maiden 20-20 World Cup, has developed an affinity between the Indians and the 20-20 Form of cricket. Both players and the fans seem to love this so-simplified version of the game.
Indian Premier League (IPL), IMHO is by far the costliest Cricket tournament to happen anywhere in the world. As a fan of the Cricket game, I would like to share my views on some of the teams taking part in this tournament. It might be very-too-early to comment on a team’s strength & weakness, as there is a long way to go in the tournament; this post is meant to be a first look at the teams that constitute the IPL.
Kings XI Punjab
Backed by bubbly Preity Zinta, KXP appears to be a strong team with many top quality batsmen and all rounders. But except for Brett Lee and Sreesanth, they seem to be a little weaker on their bowling line up. Though 20-20 is a batsmen centric form of game, the last few games have shown that bowlers can play a crucial part if they can pick some early wickets. Sreesanth, as we know, is at times prone to onslaught. That leaves a huge responsibility on the shoulders of Brett Lee. Except for Ramesh Powar, I could not see any specialist spinners in their line up. Having lost both their games against ‘Chennai Super Kings’ and ‘Rajasthan Royals’, KXP is under huge pressure. Let’s wait and see how they fare in the future games.
Chennai Super Kings XI
Led by the Indian captain, this team is beaming with energy and enthusiasm. Hayden, Hussey, Raina and Dhoni are the batsmen to look for. This is not to undermine Fleming and Oram. They have a strong bowling team too, with Muralitharan, Ntini and Balaji. With a comprehensive win over Kings XI Punjab, Chennai team is full of confidence. Mike Hussey was fantastic in the previous game, but Dhoni’s performance was conspicuous by its absence. But I consider this team to be little behind Kolkata and Hyderabad, when it comes to the overall team strength. Having said this, it is a team’s performance on any given day that matters.
Despite losing their initial controversial game with Kolkata Knight Riders, I consider DC as one of the strong contenders for the title. They are a balanced side, with solid contributors with bat and the ball. Gilchrist and Gibbs are capable of giving the deadliest of starts, that any opposition can expect. Not to mention the contribution, Andrew Symonds can make in the middle overs. Chamara Silva is a promising Sri Lankan and I am looking forward to his performance. With RP Singh, Vaas, Zoysa and Styris to back their batsmen, Hyderabad Deccan Chargers are one of my favorites in this tournament.
I consider them as one of the weakest links in the tournament. Their performance against Kings XI Punjab was commendable. But their success can be attributed only to the Shanes (Warne and Watson). With Graeme Smith and Younis Khan not joining the team yet, their batting appears feeble. There are some promising names on the bowling front. It is better to adjudge their composition, once the key players join the playing eleven.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Woo… These guys rock. One of my favorite three (other two being - Chennai and Hyderabad) teams, KKR is a solid team. Led by Ganguly, the team has the advantage of Ponting’s guidance too. McCullum stunned everyone at Bangalore, in the opening game. Ishant Sharma is promising - continuing from where he left in Australia. With 2 wins already in their bag, they must be beaming with confidence. I am really looking forward to their other games.
A good team with some strong players, but I really doubt them being the ‘daredevils’. I see some loophole in their batting line up. Except for Sehwag and Gambhir, this team lacks any super starters. In a 20-20 match, a good start is something, that might decide the outcome of the game. They have a very strong bowling lineup, with Glenn Mcgrath leading the pace pack. But I really doubt their competence with a few other teams, who have a very strong batting line up.
Bangalore Royal Challengers
Led by former Indian Captain Rahul Dravid, this team appears to be a balanced one. They have good talent, both on batting and bowling fronts. Vinay Kumar, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Sunil Joshi - everyone seems to be bowling well. Virat Kohli is extraordinary in the field. They have some batsmen like - Dravid, Chanderpaul, Kallis, Boucher, Ross Taylor - who can lift themselves to the occasion. This is some team, which others have to look out for. They can bounce back any moment.
Last but not the least, Mumbai Indians are an attractive lot. With the Little Master on their side, the team can feel a lot confident. Jayasuriya can give dreamy starts, when required. Pace attack spearheaded by Pollock seems to be a strong one. I see a little deficiency there on the spin front. Provided the other bowlers perform well, this should not be a cause of concern.
All teams are power packed, with energy and enthusiasm. I am sure we have a wonderful month ahead, with some crucial clashes around the corner. Happy IPL!!