Monday, April 21, 2008

IPL III- A Major Upset

The IPL received a major boost on Monday night, when unfancied Rajasthan Royals upset the fancied Kings XI Punjab. This was exactly the kind of match that was needed to rubbish the critics and nay sayers. At the beginning of the match though Punjab was an overwhelming favorite filled with stroke makers like Yuvraj Singh, Sangakarra, Jayawardene, Hopes and bowlers like Brett Lee and Sreesanth. On the other hand Rajasthan Royals was led by an ex player Shane Warne, and most of the players were has beens like Shane Watson, Darren Lehmann, Mohd Kaif, no one really gave them a ghost of a chance.


And when Karan Goel& Kumar Sangakarra started off in blazing fashion, for Punjab, it appeared to be a rout on the cards for Rajasthan. Munaf Patel however pegged it back, by yorking Goel. Punjab also did not reckon with the Old Fox Warnie. Though he has retired from the game, and been out of action for quite some time, that has had the least effect on good ol Shane Warne. He first dismissed Sangakarra with a return catch, then had Jayawardene stumped by Kamran Akmal, and got Hopes with an lbw to leave Punjab reeling at 4-73. Ah the Good ole days when Warnie ran circles around the batsmen, what a sight it was watching him again.

Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan then repaired the damage with a 63 run partnership, Yuvi hitting the ball fluently and sending it over the ropes quite often. Just when the stand was assuming dangerous proportions, Warnie again gets Yuvi out with a plumb lbw and Pathan also falling in quick succession, Rajasthan Royal is back in the hunt. It is only a quickfire 24 off 11 balls by Piyush Chawla, that takes Punjab to a competitive target of 166. Incidentally Irfan's brother Yusuf played on the opposing side for Rajasthan Royals, making it a rare match in which it was bhai vs bhai.


Rajasthan Royals started off none too comfortably with Kaif, Yusuf Pathan falling. Kamran Akmal hit around for some runs aided by dropped catches, but he ultimately fell to hopes. It was then left to an unlikely pair of Aussies to turn things. Darren Lehmann was a has been, while Shane Watson had been in and out of the Aussie national squad. However Watson played a brilliant innings first anchoring it to safety with Lehmann in a stand of 51. When Lehmann fell with score at 99, it was still a distance for Rajasthan. Watson however found company in Raveendra Jadeja, and the pair put on an unbeaten 69 runs to take Rajasthan Royals to a victory none would have even expected. Jadeja scored a quick fire 36 giving good support to Watson who was just brilliant with some wonderful hitting and placing. So ultimately the Aussie pair of Warne and Watson was responsible for this upset. And now with Younis Khan, Grame Smith likely to join Rajasthan Royals, it aint one of the pushovers any more.


Punjab Kings however must be concerned after their second straight loss. In spite of having a star studded line up in bowling and batting, they have just not been able to hit the right spot. And also luck has not been their way with dropped catches and close appeals being turned down. All in all the match was of good competitive nature, being a touch and go affair for most of the time. There was some good batting and bowling from both teams. The fielding however was awful, with catches being dropped by both sides. And will some one tell Sreesanth, that its high time he starts to speak with his ball rather than the mouth. All in all the IPL is wide open now, and looks like any one's game. And me of course will root for Namma Bengalooru, and Bangalore Royal Challengers.



We have the Thakatthu---- Victory is Namma Hakku.

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