Wednesday, April 23, 2008

IPL IV- Discharged by the Devils

One is a master of the line and length, renowned for choking the batsmen and getting them out. Another is a young tyro whose action is modelled on the former, and who takes pride in being called the next of that ilk. Glenn Mc Grath and Md.Asif, two bowlers, with a similar kind of action, both of whom have a reputation of being Uncle Scrooge when it comes to giving runs. And when both of them are on the same side, one can just imagine the plight of the opposing batsmen. Add to that Fervez Maharoof, who manages to choke batsmen with his straight line and length.

When the 3 came together for Veeru's Delhi Daredevils, the Deccan Chargers, filled with stroke players like Afridi, Symonds, Gilchrist, found themselves in a total choke. VVS found himself castled by one that came in, Gilchrist played on to the stumps, Venu Gopal looked like a deer caught in the headlights as he played and missed, before Maharoof put and end to his misery. Symonds threatened, and fell, Afridi fell before even threatening, and Deccan Chargers found itself totally discharged. The recovery was led by a youngster who played no fancy or flashy shots, just simple intelligent cricket. Rohit Sharma, take a bow, we knew he had the talent, we saw that in T20 and in the CB Series. And today he revealed that he had a mature cricketing brain, as he built up the innings intelligently and then exploded in the last 3 overs, including a 26 run over off the otherwise impressive Maharoof.

Actually it was only in those last 3 overs that Deccan Chargers seemed to be playing a game. Two teams were playing, but Deccan Chargers was certainly not one of them. Its array of stroke players and glam boys found themselves totally stiffled and choked by McGrath, Asif and Maharoof, and even the other two bowlers, YoMahesh and Bhatia. The fielding of Delhi was spot on, with balls rarely reaching the boundary. And had it not been for Rohit Sharma's brilliant knock, they would not even have reached that stage. The strategy seemed to make no sense at all.On what grounds was Venu Gopal Rao sent as an opener? He totally looked like a fish out of water in T20, and makes me wonder how he was even selected.

And their defence of the total was as listless. While Vaas did put in an effort to choke the runs, the others were not as impressive for sure. The only success they had was when R.P.Singh got Gambhir out to a nothing shot. And of course the biggest blunder was dropping Sehwag. It is simple, you drop Veeru, you are asking to get massacred. And a massacre it was, as Sehwag played a blinder of an innings. And no it was not just about big hitting, it was an intelligent knock with excellent placings and good running between the wickets. And of course the icing on the cake, when Veeru hammered Symonds for 30 runs, talk of getting a taste of one's medicine.

After Punjab, Deccan is the next hyped up team to disappoint in IPL. Maybe they could take a leaf out of Delhi's book. Veeru's team does not have any glam boys or stars apart from Veeru himself. What they do have is the ability to get the basics right. Bowl the right lines, stop the runs, place the innings intelligently, run well between wickets and build partnerships. When you win two matches consecutively by a margin on 9 wickets, that means you are getting the basics right. In the first match it was Gambhir and Dhawan, and here it was Veeru and Dhawan. Shikhar Dhawan certainly seems to be the next best bet for India along with Rohit Sharma. And their bowling attack is something any captain would die for. And Sehwag has been doing a good job as a captain too. One thing the IPL has proved ruthlessley, it is not glamor or marketing hype that wins matches, it is simple good old fashioned cricket.

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