Old is gold
Heading into match number 38 of the Indian Premiere League; this edition of the tournament has been the most unpredictable one so far. Indian being India, even before the tournament began there were pandits and astrologers across different media houses rendering their services in providing and predicting key information about the tournament.
Some of the key predictions made by the so called pandits included rumours around the star studded Royal Challengers Bangalore making it to the cup. Well, in all honesty that was the most obvious prediction with the likes of Gayle, Kohli and DeVelliers amongst many more. For that prediction at least a million people in the country should've gottnen paid; oh well but acche din zaroor aaenge. Some of the other predictions were of course M S Dhoni making it to the top all over again like he does in every other tournament no matter what jersey he wears, that was definitely a difficult predictions. For the negatives, many pandits also predicted that Zaheer is obviously too old to carry on playing; to add captaincy to that will bring the Delhi Daredevils down.
Had this been a comment on Facebook, the first comment would've been a LOL. Considering the way Zaheer has captained through the tournament and the way the Delhi franchise has performed over their eight games, the re-update on Facebook could be, 'Zaheer, the captain of India never had'. The way Zaheer has lead the team after their poor form in the previous two seasons of the IPL, it is almost like a Shane Warne déjà captaining the Rajasthan Royals to victory in season 1 of this pseudo cricket league.
Keeping the list of negatives short, none of the highly paid predictions have really worked out this year. M S Dhoni's rising pune supergiants or Virat Kohli's Royal Challengers Bangalore appear to be far away from the trophy in fact for either teams at this stage to make it to the play offs would also require a large leap. In fact, M S Dhoni's luck is so out of form that he hasn't only been losing back to back matches but also losing players one after the other beginning from the inform Kevin Peterson to many who followed in line, the recent replacements being Usman Khawaja and George Bailey. On the other hand, Royal Challengers Bangalore too are having their worst run as the batsmen seem to be doing their job but the team somehow fails to perform when they are on field.
Amongst the batsmen too, Chris Gayle has failed to perform regularly to an extent that an explosive batsman of that calibre too was asked to rest. As far as the bowling department is concerned, no big names and the lack of experience has caused misery to their bowling attack making any score almost defendable. The lack of consistency in bowling too has had the proliphic star captain attending post match presentations representing the losing side; something he generally isn't used to doing over the past few years.
The greatest example of this lack of consistency was match number 30 last week where RCB did a great deal of piling up a formidable total against the inform KKR with a score of 185 at the loss of seven wickets in their 20 overs as they were batting first. In response, KKR too had a weak start as they lost Uthappa followed by a couple of other wickets in quick succession. The only man appearing to be in some sort of control was their skipper Gautam Gambhir. However, some disciplined bowling on RCB's end witnessed the captain also take the long walk back to the dugout.
The match was almost sealed at that moment. However, RCB had to live up to the reputation they've built for themselves through the tournament. The man who was never in form for the longest period of his life Yusuf Pathan suddenly discovered form. It was almost like RCB conducted a therapy to get the big man back into form for the rest of the tournament. Well the Kolkata fans were definitely not complaining. What's surprising though is that RCB still doesn't seem to be frustrated. They rank first on the fair play awards list, at least something they are ahead at.
As for the retired man Zaheer, he has lead the team in seven matches apart from the recent one and has won five out of them. Zaheer's Delhi Daredevils has been a contender to the top of the table and has also managed to reach there on a couple of occasions. Zaheer himself too has found form has his bowling has been disciplined with an economy rate of just above seven. To add to that India's ex ace spearhead has managed to swing the new ball an reverse the old ball just like he used to for most of his career.
His team looks more than composed and even thought it misses a lot of star names like most other teams it is definitely a contender to winning this edition of the Indian Premier League. Gautam Gambhir on the other hand is another dark ageing horse who has shown potential of his style of game play time and again ever since he took up the responsibility of the Knight Riders. Gambhir who was initially purchased for a whooping sum of 9 crore. INR. has made sure that he justifies his place in the side not only as a player but also as a skipper.
This edition too, Gambhir has utilised his troops to full potential. In spite of not having the very big International icons in his side, the big boys of Indian domestic cricket have made sure they live up to Gambhir's expectation as far as the batting is concerned. As for bowling, the team does boast of a number of huge names in Narine, Russell, Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav. The tournament so far is well posed as the teams from Delhi, Gujarat and Kolkata look to occupy the first spot on the league table.