The last few days have seen unexpected results with the supposed favourites going down to the so-called lesser teams.
There has been a lot of movement on the points table, and with the high-flying Kochi Tuskers too being felled by the Rajasthan Royals, the movement has been even.
The Mumbai Indians have established themselves as the early favourites with five wins from six matches, but it has been a topsy-turvy ride for the rest.
The Delhi Daredevils’ batting, the other day, suggests they have the wherewithal to power their way into the top-five. We are still in the sparring phase and over the next 10 days, the scramble for the top-four berths and a place in the elimination stage will become even more intense.
One of the strangest developments has been the presence of grass on the Delhi track. Contrary to expectations, the grass hasn’t helped seam movement but is a belter of a batting surface because of the dryness of the pitch. Having said that, there was plenty of carry for the faster bowlers with the ball thudding into the wicketkeeper’s gloves.
Batting on upswing
Watching some of the shots, I couldn’t help but think that batting standards in India have improved. Not many of our batsmen are used to such bounce and to see somebody like Venugopal Rao play those pull strokes impressed me. The bounce was definitive and consistent, and the track was as good as any of the Aussie tracks as far as bounce was concerned.
It is at the Kotla that the Royal Challengers will play the Daredevils on Tuesday. Chris Gayle made a huge difference against the Knight Riders, and this is exactly the kind of statement the team needed. Gayle’s knock will rub off not just on the other batsmen but also the bowlers, who will use the success of the batsmen to enhance their confidence.
Zak must fire
It is very important for Zaheer Khan to fire in the initial stages and live up to the high standards he has set for himself. He is taking time to warm up and I think that’s where he needs to put in some work.
His body needs a kick-start and he is finding it difficult to fall into a rhythm. It won’t be a bad idea for him to bowl a couple of overs on the pitch adjacent to the match pitch so that he is ready to go when it’s play-time.
It must be very tough on him to front up after the physical and mental exertion of the World Cup, and he must be disappointed at how things have turned out in the IPL so far.
The bowlers will have a big say at the Kotla on Tuesday. The RCB need another win to back up their exploits in Kolkata and move up the points table, and I am sure that will be their strong focus. HAWKEYE