England’s capitulation to South Africa has once again got the pundits in England worried about the Ashes. When things start to go wrong they look for a scapegoat. The IPL is a favourite target and injuries to the English players during it or subsequently, is blamed on the IPL. That other England players have stayed fit and also done well is conveniently forgotten.
Australia’s ouster could have been due to the lack of match practice but the performance of Sri Lanka, India, New Zealand and South Africa shows how the IPL has helped develop skills. England depend heavily on the openers to get them off to a start and then on Kevin Pietersen to accelerate the scoring. The bowling is also vulnerable unless there is heavy cloud cover, which the bowlers are good at exploiting.
The South Africans were merciless as they marched to another victory. They had the luxury of taking it easy after restricting the English to only 111. Jacques Kallis batted himself into form but Graeme Smith missed out on the chance to do so. Fielding was, as always, out of this world.
Sri Lanka too will be glad to see that Sanath Jayasuriya struck the ball so well against the West Indies and with Dilshan improving and improvising, they too are the team to watch out for.
New Zealand made short work of Ireland once again, emphasising the gap between the minnows and established teams.
India play South Africa in the last of the Super8 games and depending on how they have progressed, both teams can actually decide who they want to play in the semifinals. But then that is getting ahead of the story, which may still have some twists and turns.