IPL Addiction

Posted: May 6, 2012 by binisajan in Cricket, IPL
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Bini Sathyan

Contrary to popular perception of the media that the fifth edition of the IPLT20 will not draw enough eyeballs and the concern of the cricketing authorities about the dwindling numbers of fans at the venues, the 5th season of the IPLT20 is a runaway hit. Though it began with a few low scoring matches, it gained momentum with the century scored by Ajinkya Rahane. The thrills started coming with the chases led by Rohit Sharma and then Morkel. From there it just took off with a lot of big hitting high scoring and nail-biting finishes. Now the stadiums are full and the television ratings are picking up.

For me it was goodbye to boring TV shows. Great entertainment in the evenings. And sleeping past midnight. I am addicted to the IPL and have my own reasons for being so. My love for this two month entertainment carnival started in the first match of the first season when Brendom McCullum went berserk and hit anything hurled at him out of the park. He scored a staggering 158 runs which could be more than the average total of most of the teams. He was nuts and I got stuck.

It is not often that you get to watch Sehwag bat along with Kevin Pietersen. Now that is aggression from both ends. You get to watch this only in the IPL. The forthcoming showdowns are even better. For the Delhi Daredevils, it will be Sehwag opening the innings with his double: Warner! That combination will be a death warrant for the bowlers. Another destructive combination is the Gayle force that will blow away the best and the explosive batting of Dilshan in tandem to open the entertainment. And a de Villiers coming down the order to sow devastation all around for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

For those who are missing the smashing opening style of the retired Gilchrist who ran away with a world cup final in the blink of an eye, the IPL has brought him alive from retirement and he is captaining, keeping and opening for a Punjab side. The Wall is rebuilt by the IPL in a different avatar. He is the captain, the opener and a fast one at that for the Rajasthan Royals an exciting side which showcased India’s hidden gems more often. The world’s boldest and most result oriented captain, Michael Clarke playing under Saurav Ganguly for Pune Warriors owned by the Sahara Pariwar, the sponsors of the Indian Cricket team. The world,s best fast bowler Dayle Steyn bowling his heart out for a South Indian team of Hyderabad. A big hitting Pollard playing alongside Sachin for Mumbai Indians under Harbhajan Singh. Muthiah Muralidharan and Daniel Vettori bowling in tandem for Royal Challengers. Fancy a showdown between two of the greatest captains of Indian cricket – Ganguly and Dhoni, and you have it.

A combination of different nationalities joining forces brought together by the business power houses of India and the Kings and Queens of Bollywood entertaining a cricket crazy nation whose thirst for cricket is unsatiable. These scenes would have simply been in the realms of fantasy had it not been for IPL T20.

An Ajinkya Rahane who could be India’s future opener getting to facing Dale steyn or an Awane who is yet to debut on the international stage would not have got an opportunity like this to test their mettle against the best of the best.

The IPL has thrown in many amazing moments like the immaculate power hitting of Dhoni where he sends the ball floating out of the stadium. The switch hits of Pietersen. The Dilscoops. The Upar cuts of Sehwag. Gayle scoring 31 runs in an over and also launching a few into orbit. Albie Morkel smashing 28 runs in an over for a famous victory when all seemed lost. Rahane’s deft touches bringing him 24 runs off an over. Awana fearlessly sending down bouncer after bouncer when Pollard was in his elements and tying him down to the crease. An amazing fiery spell of fast bowling by Steyn against MI. And then the most amazing of them all – Steve Smith flying like superman and pulling back a ball from the air which was sure to land out of the boundary. The way in which he was flying in the air in a blue dress with one arm outstretched looked like watching superman in action sans the cloak. These are a few of my favourite and amazing moments of IPL-V.

A Ganguly of the yesteryears running across the ground in excitement on getting a wicket was hair raising and took me back to the memories of the Natwest trophy final. A 41 year old Brad Hogg diving around and celebrating like a kid at the fall of each wicket. And most interesting of all was the paradox of Ganguly fans. The same crowd that was rooting for Dada with all those placards and banners across the stadium celebrated at his fall! Well that was because he was felled by the Kolkata team. Welcome to the great cricketainment carnival of India!

This year’s tournament has also seen the rise of new players specially a couple of good spinners and the fall of some mighty ones. Yousuf Pathan has been one of the most explosive batsmen in the first few editions. But has turned out to be the biggest flop till now. The greats like Jacque Kallis  who seemed to have cracked the T20 format look to have forgotten how to bat in the shortest version. But Sachin has shown his class against CSK after a few forgettable outings. Kohli is another star whose firepower is yet to be seen. The match winners like Husseys, Shaun Marsh, Ross Taylor too have not performed. Dada at times showed the glimpses of his old self when he was considered the God of the off side but seems to be too slow for the format.

The tournament is getting more and more exciting with 17 matches that went down to the wire. Lot more tight finishes and big hits are expected with the Australians too coming in full force and a few more big guns yet to boom.

The IPL is a power packed treat condensed into just 3.5 hrs where you need not wait for the explosion till the end of the innings if you have missed the opening treat. It is action packed throughout. In such a short span of time you can see many wicket taking deliveries and a lot of wickets tumble. The boring centuries are no more. If there is one, it will certainly be explosive. The thrills are guaranteed. A last over finish if not a last ball finish has become the norm. Now this is value for money. Keep chewing your finger nails and be glued to the entertainment.

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