As the fever gets more frenzied back home in India, in a land away from home, I shall hope to keyboard my thoughts here. This is Cricket"s format that appeals to me the least, but it"s Cricketainment and anything to with the game, has space in my universe. So here we go, as I aspire to be the IPL Thinker from this land of sheeshas and sheikhs – Dubai.
On Opening Day, I was in Delhi and got caught in the maze of Old Delhi, and missed the much awaited Opening Ceremony. Ofcourse, thanks to my facebook world I soon realized that I did not miss anything, as it was apparently a disaster! Okay, maybe not totally hopeless, but nothing to write home about. Got back to a Television set just in time for game one, memories of the first IPL (of which I was an active member as a producer on the live feed) flooded back. The stadia that one visited, the chaotic schedules, the India darshan that one was exposed to and ofcourse the hoopla that is the IPL!
In my mind I had chosen my top 3 as it were for edition 3 of the IPL. The Chennai Super Kings, The Delhi Daredevils and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. These are the teams that I think will do well this time around (woman"s intuition married with gut feeling). On the emotional front am connected with Kolkata Knight Riders – as I was born in Calcutta, now Kolkata though very few can say KOL (coal) kata (the T.. not hard) baffles me as to why this is the case. My emotional second, the team from Bangalore as I spent my wonder years there ( 0-18). Number 3 on the emotional front, the Delhi Daredevils as I did university there and spent the rest of my life there. And the fourth Kings XI Punjab, as I am married to a man from Punjab! This is just to give all of you who care to read this piece perspective of where I am coming from.
Game 1 – The Holders vs the Wooden Spooners
The Deccan Chargers winners of edition 2 of the IPL were up against that team that ended at the bottom of the table, the Kolkata Knight Riders. This year thanks to all the political unrest in Andhra Pradesh, all of the Chargers games are away from Hyderabad so the opening game was held in Mumbai, the Chargers adopted home away from home (one of). The match began with a bang literally as the first ball earned Vaas his victim in the form of Manoj Tiwary. The Knight Riders soon lost captain Sourav in the same over, and later at 4/31 things were looking far from good. But a spectacular unbeaten 130 run partnership for the 5th wicket between Angelo Mathews and Owais Shah, saw KKR reach 161. A fighting total as one would say.
The Chargers seemed to have the game plan right, a 61 run opening partnership was just the start that they would have liked. But thereafter Sourav Ganguly"s clever bowling changes and overall captaincy shone through like a beacon that had a long battery life. The bowlers delivered, the Chargers lost charge in their batting machine and KKR recorded their first win of the tournament by beating the holders by 11 runs!
Just the start IPL 3 could do with, an upset.
IPL 2010: Fixture - Teams - Points - Orange-Purple
The Games thereafter
Now, I will refrain from writing match reports, as there is so much being written about the IPL in any case. The next day saw the two teams that I thought would do well, perish to their opposition, the Kings and the Challengers, but these are early days. The Delhi team started with a stutter but it"s the sheer attitude of the team that is so endearing. They fight and never really give up. The openers are characters and they set the tone, even when they fail. As captain, Gambhir will play a new role and so far ( one game) he seems to have gathered the boys alright and given the side their first win. This is one team alongwith Chennai Super Kings that I shall be tracking relentlessly. I see the eventual winner amongst them.
The problem with the IPL is …
a)Being Indian it"s hard to be totally in favour of one single team but if I had to choose, it would be the Delhi Daredevils
b)It is the most diluted form of cricket and does not go down too well with someone like me who likes things strong and concentrated
c)Cheer leaders are eye candy for the men. So of no interest to me
d)And lastly the advertising between balls only goes to show that cricket is just incidental there"s so much more in the circus.
But my After Work Time Gone"
Living in Sheikhland – Dubai, the times are 1.5 hours behind the mahaan desh (India) and therefore one gets home after work to an IPL match which is gratifying. 3 hours or thereabouts goes in IPL action and then there"s not much time to do little else. But still one would not like to miss the action for anything. It"s cricket after all and in the end that is all that matters. So here"s to the 50 odd matches left to go and all the drama that surrounds them.