It has been obvious over the last seven weeks that the pattern of Twenty20 cricket is getting defined nicely. On flat tracks, 180 has emerged as a reasonably safe score, 160 is a fighting total and 140 is definitely chasable - that's what has been apparent thus far in IPL V, and strategies are gradually falling in place.
There has been some talk about Mahendra Singh Dhoni taking a run-chase to the very end. Personally, I think the chances of victory are more if you take it to the last over. These days, even if 25 runs are required off the last two overs, it is very much gettable. Agreed, with a plan like that, you might end up losing one or two matches, but if you take it to the fag end, you have more chances of winning a match than losing it.
From a bowling perspective, it is all about delivering dot balls. Talking to bowlers across the teams, I get the distinct impression that team strategies revolve around bowing as many dot balls as possible and thus putting pressure on the batsmen.
Glut of boundaries
Conversely, while the bowlers are aiming not to concede runs, the batsmen are lining up boundaries. It's all about how many boundaries you can pick up in an over. Teams generally look for a boundary particularly off the first three deliveries, because if that were to transpire, the opportunity of another boundary in the same over will invariably present itself.
From an Indian perspective, it has been heart-warming to see the emergence of Ajinkya Rahane as a champion batsman, and it's a little disappointing that he won't be seen in action during the play-offs.
He is one talent that has surfaced in telling fashion.
The mountain of runs you score in domestic cricket can sometimes get diluted, but when you perform as well as Rahane has done on a stage like the IPL, recognition is faster, so he should be a shoe-in for the Indian side for the World T20 later this year.
Hawkeye Communications/Chivach Sports
The writer is a former India player