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Sunday, May 24, 2009

D-day at IPL2

After 58 matches, the D-day has arrived. 2 players who have retired from international cricket are at the helm of the teams who have qualified for the final. Players who haven't been given the chance to captain their country for a long period (for whatever reasons it might be). In fact, they were not the first-choice captains for their franchisees also!!! Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman captained last year whereas Kevin Pietersen was the first-choice for Bangalore this year.

Teams who were placed at the last 2 positions in IPL1 have proved that they have learnt the lessons and implemented the action-items this year. Nobody would have given them any chance this year after the way both teams flopped last year. Except the team members themselves. There is a right mix of experience and youth in both teams. Both teams have the essential ingredients to succeed:
  • Overseas players who add to the balance of the team - Adam Gilchrist, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds, Ryan Harris for the Deccan Chargers whereas Mark Boucher, Ross Taylor, Kallis, Van Der Merwe provide the charge for the Royal Challengers
  • Indian players who provide the backup strength to the team - Rohit Sharma, RP Singh, Pragyan Ojha for Hyderabad whereas Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey, Anil Kumble give adequate strength to the Bangalore team
The Bangalore team has won 5 games in a row - have they peaked just before the finals? The players might have their off day today - the law of averages might work against them also. Will Bangalore bring back Steyn for the finals?

The Hyderabadis could find themselves against a team that has worked very well as a team. It has depended on the individual brilliance of Gilchrist or Symonds or Rohit. Their failures might expose them in the final. Did Adam Gilchrist's knock come a match early?

The pitch is another aspect that will play a big role. How will the slow bowlers perform, especially the non-regular ones? I would say that there is a 50-50 chance for either team to win the final - no one starts as clear favorites. A good contest is on cards today - let us hope everyone gets their money's worth.

If pushed to a wall, I would choose 'Deccan Chargers' to win the title. Wait and Watch!!!
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