It has been an exciting Champions League. The quality of matches has been top-class and the striking point is that the low profile teams - or rather the low-cost teams - have done better.
This goes to show that this format requires fearless cricket, and low-profile teams are under less pressure from the top management. On the other hand, high-budget teams have had less success, with the case in point being the Warriors who got the better of RCB and the half-strength Somerset who beat KKR twice in a row.
Is there a lesson here for everyone? The first point is whether continuity is the key to success in this format. Continuity provides stability to the players to play freely. A lot of franchises, except CSK, have been radical in their changes after one ordinary season.
Or, the solution lies in keeping a close-knit unit, which would allow them to play freely? I am sure that even after losing the first game, Dhoni and his boys will not feel the heat and will stage a comeback.
MI need to be Better
The Mumbai Indians have managed to scrape through in the two games without the services of key players, but they need to play a lot better to get to the last-four. They have been given the advantage of five overseas players, which has surprised everyone including me. Is changing the rules of competition because of injuries the right thing? It'll be important to see what answers the governing council has for future requests from other teams.
For Mumbai Indians, Harbhajan has led from the front. With responsibility, his game has gone a notch higher, and if MI do well, he will push his case for becoming a leader.
A lot of Indian teams might end up playing on the same ground all the time, as KKR will do in Hyderabad or the MI in Bengaluru. Repeated use will make the wickets dry and spinners will come into play, which will make batting difficult for overseas player. The crowds have stayed away despite good cricket. This could probably be because most of the franchises are playing away from home.
Amidst all this, I pay my tributes to Tiger Pataudi. I have never seen him play but did meet him a number of times. He was very classy. He would have loved to see India retain the Pataudi Trophy. I still remember the joyous expression on his face four years back and the gloom when he was there to give away the trophy this time. May his soul rest in peace.
360 Corporate Relations