When Royal Challengers stunned Mumbai Indians the other night, two things stood out. One, the consistency of Jacques Kallis and the exuberance of the young Manish Pandey, which gave them a start of 85 runs in less than 10 overs. It went with 92 and 74 runs the two had produced in the two previous games.
Royal Challengers didn’t open with the two in the first game but quickly brought them together. The opening pair is now riding a wave of success. In a way, it has encapsulated the theme of this IPL — solid performers to go with good young domestic talent.
Kallis is at the top of the heap among run-makers and is yet to be dismissed. Astonishing! Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist and Chaminda Vaas too have conveyed how class is able to stamp itself in all formats of the game.
Young guns like Saurabh Tiwary, Ambati Rayudu and Manish Pandey too have made the cut. Why, in the Rajasthan Royals’ first win of this IPL the other night, it was the young talent that stood out.
I am particularly happy with the youngsters who are forcing the hands of their skippers into giving them bigger roles. Mumbai Indians clearly have embraced it whole-heartedly with the Tiwarys, Rayudus and Tares manning the middle order. Manish Pandey is a source of strength for the Royal Challengers, so much so that the team is almost unrecognisable without this young prodigy. The fitness levels of these lads are good too and it would help the teams as this tournament wears on.
There are lessons for teams like the Delhi Daredevils in the success of these young domestic talents. It wouldn't help them if they were to rely too much on Virender Sehwag, Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers. The younger guns will have to come to the fore.
There is only as much a Sehwag can do. The Delhi daredevil is doing his best, yet the Daredevils have mess at their doorsteps. Younger guys would have to step up to the plate.
The same is true for the Kolkata Knightriders. Sourav Ganguly's team is losing a bit of steam and needs to get back to winning ways. Angelo Matthews is doing just right for them, but it's the young domestic talent that needs to produce the runs. The earlier this lesson is absorbed by competing teams, the better their chances in this IPL.