Sunday, May 11, 2008

The IPL just got more Exciting!

Three matches of the 2nd half of the Indian Premier League were played out over the weekend and the results were exactly the same as the 1st half.

Home or away made no difference to the Knight Riders, Royals, and the Super Kings as all three repeated their 1st half performances against the Royal Challengers, Chargers, and the Kings XI respectively.

There were a lot of moments in these games that caught my interest. Ganguly bowling Dravid while he was trying a Misbah, Boucher trying his level best to get the runs, White coming back to form only to be run out by fellow Aussie and Victorian Brad Hodge, Warne bowling to Gilchrist with the former in full flow, Yusuf Pathan smashing the bowling, Dhoni in full flow and then pegged back by Irfan Pathan, Shaun Marsh's continued run of form, Balaji's hatrick, and many others.

But none beat watching Shane Warne at the toss with Adam Gilchrist.

If this trend continues and all the results of H1 are the same during H2 then we all know who the semi finalists are. But we don't want that do we?

Its more or less over for the Chargers and the Royal Challengers. Their IPL campaigns are biting the dust.

Only the Mumbai Indians and the Riders stand a chance of sneaking through to the semis but at whose expense?

The Daredevils look the most vulnerable of the top 4, and a loss today to the Roaring Royals from Rajhastan will give the Indians and the Riders a sniff.

If the Riders beat the Chargers today and the Daredevils lose, positions 4 and 5 will be swapped.

A lots at stake today in both the IPL matches.

Someone somewhere, or rather a lot of people everywhere, keep mentioning that interest in the IPL is dwindling, TV ratings are going down, grounds are not as full as they initially were, viewers are getting bored, and so on.

Not true at all.

The IPL just got more exciting!

6 teams are in the race for the last 4. Anything could happen.

The grounds have remained full, TV ratings have remained high, those who were interested 3 weeks ago are interested today as well, the cricket has been great, matches have been close, crowds and viewers have been entertained, and the IPL has marched on in full flow.

And all this for a cricket tournament in India without Sachin Tendulkar playing a single game.

Off-the-field controversies such as cricketers slapping other cricketers, captains accusing each other for not playing within the spirit of the game, and the sacking of CEOs by franchises has given the IPL the right amount of off-the-field drama associated with cricket tours and tournaments.

And all this without a mention of Shoaib Akhtar.

Sachin is about to make his IPL debut and Akhtar has just arrived - Its bound to get more Exciting!

Plus if Shoaib Akhtar plays today, he ill be up against friend turned foe, Shahid Afridi. That will be some match up following the recent tumultous past between the 2 Pakistans. You surely will not see a more fired up Shoaib apart from the one bowling to Afridi.

Today's other match is a battle between the 2 Aussie legends who despite being on the wrong side of 35 have shown that they are still forces to be reckoned with. Warne goes up against McGrath.

Two cracking matches, 4th place on the line.

The IPL just got more Exciting!

(Above pic courtesy the exclusive supplier of cricket photos to the IPL)

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