After two days, the IPL moves out of Cape Town. Bangalore and Chennai head for Port Elizabeth, which produced a high-scoring ODI between Australia and South Africa last week. Batsmen with better techniques are better bets.
The ball moved prodigiously in Cape Town, more so in the second game, which could be attributed to evening conditions. Here too, the game is under lights so both teams would hate to bat second. Mahendra Singh Dhoni would be tempted to look at Albie Morkel and Makhaya Ntini, who have the advantage of being locals. Muttiah Muralitharan too wouldn’t be kept under wraps for long.
Batting positions would be reviewed. I thought Andrew Flintoff came in at a slot too high, more so since he has played only three ODIs after his return from injury. He is better at striking deadly blows towards the death rather than reconstructing the innings. Also, Dhoni needs to give himself more overs to bat.
Bangalore would be cock-a-hoop. Rahul Dravid was an absolute delight; and so was Anil Kumble. They still though would be reminding themselves that only Dravid and Kevin Pietersen could manage double figures. Also, 133 was too meagre a score to defend. The truth is, Bangalore relied too much on a few individuals to pull off an upset. Being two down after the first two balls and still pull off a massive 75-run win was astonishing.
I have this sneaking feeling that teams with more all-round talent and experienced batsman with technique to fall back on are going to do well. Batsmen who can bowl and bowlers who can bat would give depth all around. If you could bat well in the first five overs and bowl well in the last five, you would be a tough cookie in this format.
Both Bangalore and Chennai aren’t too good in this area. A team like Mumbai Indians, who have Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar at the top and Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga as the new-ball bowlers, would be the envy of other teams. It could then come down to toss and, and both teams would prefer to bat first. TCM