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Finally, fissures appear in the fortified line-ups

A strong suit for Daredevils and Knight Riders, batting let them down in crucial games. Somshuvra Laha reports. 100s & 50s by top 5 batsmen | Face off

india Updated: May 15, 2012 01:01 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Somshuvra Laha

Delhi-Daredevils-Virender-Sehwag-reacts-after-being-dismissed-by-Deccan-Chargers-bowler-Shikar-Dhawan-during-their-Indian-Premier-League-IPL-cricket-match-in-Hyderabad-AP-Photo-Mahesh-Kumar-A

Saturday's double trouble for the current IPL leaders proves the see-saw nature of the event. Just when it was thought that Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders could be assured of a smooth entry to the playoffs, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians dealt them a body blow.

For perhaps the first time in the last ten rounds, the Knights and the Devils have been attacked where it hurts most. Batting, which pretty much was Daredevils' strongest asset, flopped as they were cut to size by Chennai.

Virender Sehwag's off-stump was sent cart wheeling by Ben Hilfenhaus while David Warner and Mahela Jayawardene also failed. It exposed a not-so-strong batting thereafter and the other teams would be grateful to Chennai for showing them a way to get past Delhi.http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/14_05_pg-15b.jpg

Strengths dented
The same applies for Kolkata. They had built a reputation for being miserly and being penetrative with their bowling. A superbly crafted innings from Rohit Sharma and a six by Herschelle Gibbs off Sunil Narine changed all that. Gibbs, who had never played Narine, later said that closely following Narine's action helped.

Rajat Bhatia and Brett Lee, Gautam Gambhir's most economical bowlers, too went for plenty and KKR almost lost the plot from that point.

“This result answers a lot of questions. You can't take any team lightly,” said Gambhir, who felt that KKR are still not assured of a playoffs berth.

Endless possibilities
After the 13th round, the top three teams are separated by a point while Chennai and Bangalore are on 15. Chennai, however, have played one match more.

Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI have 12 points but again Punjab have played only 12 matches. Hypothetically, Punjab could win their next four matches, two of them against Delhi, and barge into the top four with relative ease.

KKR face CSK on Monday, followed by the return leg against Mumbai FC and then finally, Pune Warriors away. Given the fact that it could be the last time Sourav Ganguly could be seen wielding the bat, Pune Warriors would try their best to be a spoilsport.

The possibilities are endless. And that makes it a lipsmacking last week of IPL to look forward to.

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