IPL weekly review - V May 13, 2011

The Gayle and Ganguly shows

Chris Gayle continues to enthrall, Sourav Ganguly continues to come back, and Shane Warne continues to court controversy. All this and more in a review of the action from the fifth week of the IPL

The Gayle show continues
Runs, wickets, mile-wide smiles, 'tuk-tuk train' celebrations. Christopher Gayle's party with the Royal Challengers Bangalore moves from one match-winning performance to another. Numbers don't tell the story. They scream it out. In six matches, Gayle has muscled almost 400 runs, at an average of almost 100, and a strike-rate close to 200. Almost unreal, but there's more. He's also deadpanned his way to six wickets, firing it in off a two-step walk. It doesn't stop there. He celebrates each dismissal, sometimes like a plane taking off, sometimes like a locomotive chugging away, and sometimes with a bit of sparring. The Bangalore crowd can't have enough of him. Ross Taylor who?

The Ganguly show reruns, again
"Mera naam Sourav Ganguly hai. Bhooley toh nahin?" (My name is Sourav Ganguly. You haven't forgotten, have you?) Remember that commercial from about five years ago? Ganguly was making a comeback then. He has made another comeback now.

The crowd at Hyderabad, the venue of Ganguly's latest return, was buzzing with anticipation as he walked out at No. 3 for Pune Warriors. A largely competitive - if somewhat streaky - unbeaten 32 later, the phoenix had risen, again.

Towards the end of that commercial, Ganguly asks, "Apne dada ki baat sunengey na?" (You'll listen to your dada, won't you?) Listen? One fan at Hyderabad was moved so much that he charged on to the field to touch his hero's feet. It was supposed to be an away game for Pune. Ganguly couldn't have been made to feel more at home. Pune have a home tie coming up against Kolkata Knight Riders. Guess whom the crowd will be listening to.

The Aravind show begins
Bangalore seamer S Aravind is used to playing second fiddle. Normally, he plays third fiddle behind Vinay Kumar and Abhimanyu Mithun for Karnataka. This season, he has been opening the Bangalore bowling along with Zaheer Khan, and has nipped it around on his way to 13 wickets from seven games. Daniel Vettori has called him the find of the season for Bangalore. Aravind justified the faith with a Man-of-the-Match performance against Rajasthan Royals that included the wickets of Shane Watson and Rahul Dravid in three deliveries. The easy-going person he is, he will seamlessly slot in behind Vinay and Mithun when the domestic season arrives.

The dashers' revenge
Fast bowlers hunt in pairs. If the first one doesn't get you, the other will. The dictum applies to the dashing batting duo of the IPL as well. Prasanth Parameswaran, the Kochi Tuskers Kerala seamer, found out the hard way. His first IPL wicket was that of the first dasher, Virender Sehwag, and instantly catapulted him to overnight fame. Parameswaran who? The man who got Sehwag. Gayle, Sehwag's fellow destroyer of bowlers, didn't like it one bit. And he decided to give it back for the sake of the dasher brotherhood. Parameswaran's first over against Bangalore went for 6, 6 (no ball), 4, 4, 6, 6, 4. Parameswaran who? The man whom Gayle tonked for 36 in an over.

Warne and the Rajasthan chronicles
During his international career, Shane Warne didn't bother about the playing surface as he foxed batsmen by the strength of his mind and the guile of his wrists. But leading an average Rajasthan side for four seasons has led to him becoming increasingly reliant on the slow-and-low Sawai Mansingh Stadium pitch that suited his slow-and-medium attack.

Against Chennai Super Kings, Warne complained that Rajasthan were forced to play on a side track with good bounce that reduced the ground to having "kiddies" boundaries. The BCCI issued a clarification saying that no team had the choice to choose the wicket and that it was the decision of the curator and its pitches committee.

There was more controversy coming Warne's way in his last IPL game in Jaipur. Rajasthan crashed to another defeat against Bangalore on the same side wicket, and this time the tremors were felt at home. The Rajasthan Cricket Association complained to the BCCI that Warne had abused its secretary Sanjay Dixit after the latter had allegedly ignored Warne's demand that the surface for the Bangalore game be shifted to one that suited the home team.

As a parting shot, Warne claimed in an interview that he had threatened to walk out of the Rajasthan side during the IPL's inaugural season over "certain people" interfering in team selection.

The IPL shows its depth
It was billed as a no-contest. Mumbai Indians against Kings XI Punjab, top against bottom. And a no-contest it turned out to be. Only, the sides decided to switch places. In the biggest upset of this IPL, Punjab thrashed high-flying Mumbai by 76 runs, the second-largest victory margin of the season. Only the first four Punjab batsmen managed to get into double figures as Munaf Patel became the third Mumbai bowler to take a five-wicket haul this year. Surprisingly, Mumbai's much-vaunted batting line-up never turned up, folding for 87 inside 13 overs. No.1 lost to No. 10, showcasing the famous depth of the IPL.

Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Karthikeyan on May 15, 2011, 9:03 GMT

    This week's Gayle and Ganguly show is one of the startling tales of unsold players at the DLF IPL auction. What does that say about the 2011 DLF IPL auction ? Should it be re-named as "Cash for Clunkers." (I refer to Obama's kick-start program for the economy by trading in emission-busting and gas-guzzling old cars for new ones) As that one is taken, it would be better to call it the "Rupees for Rubbish" auction. I mean, seriously, except for a few, the rest are being over-paid and are under-achieving. The contrast between the best unsold player and the best sold player is so stark, and the chasm is so deep & wide, that they might as well have held a "Dutch Auction" for the sold players. (It means that they bid the price of players down instead of up, and the lowest bidder colludes with the others to unanimously not buy the item, and share the spoils once it is discarded as a non-saleable item) For Sourav, it is deja vu all over again as this kid's done it before between 1991 and 1996.

  • Chetan on May 14, 2011, 13:05 GMT

    It would be far better if youngsters will learn from the legends like Sachin, Sourav, Rahul, Warne and others and implement those to improve their career stats. None of the Indian players this seasons shown their class. All were just hitting the balls and trying to find the boundaries. None of them seems to stroke the ball and its way to boundary through class. This will hamper Indian batting in future. Though this season has find some good ballers. Hope they will perform well for the Indian team. Dada has shown how gentleman is always a gentleman. He was a class player. Piking the bat after five months and scoring runs is not too easy for any player that too going from a tough phase. He is really a legend.

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2011, 12:24 GMT

    @Vivian-Richard: 36, yes. but 'sanjeev', no! It was bibhaw.!

  • shameem on May 14, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    DADA is DADA. How people are still fussy about him. How did they forget within such a short period of time that Dada scored 91 runs in his last appearance for KKR. Hope to see Dada's sharp batting this time against his former team KKR -- wish you all the best; -- "the Prince of Calcutta".

  • Vivian on May 14, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    @Sanjeev- Gayle scored 36. 1 run for the no ball.

  • sid on May 14, 2011, 9:13 GMT

    Cannot help believing that IPL has turned out to be the cricketing equivalent of a tennis match tie -breaker. Very few players have the ability to provide any aesthetic grace and finesse in the manner they score runs. The bowlers are constantly under threat and take many more evasive routes to bowl an over.

    The exceptions to the above description are players who are a class apart, like Sachin, Saurav, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Rahul and yes, Paul Valthaty.

    So, what are you left in the end with this brand of IPL ?

    An accountant's score sheet, I am afraid !

  • Dummy4 on May 14, 2011, 6:09 GMT

    Dada is like an Item Song in a BollyWood Masala Movie (IPL)

  • Bibhaw on May 14, 2011, 4:45 GMT

    Actually it should read Parameswaran who? The man whom Gayle tonked for 37 in an over. not 36!!!

  • Rezaul on May 14, 2011, 4:04 GMT

    Dada is such a wonderful player to watch that he can make difference both on and off the field any time. I think Pune is lucky to have him on the side just in time. It will be interesting to watch Dada playing against KKR in Kalkata and surely huge public will support Pune in that case not home team!! KKR will regret.

  • Dummy4 on May 13, 2011, 22:15 GMT

    Dada was the first indian captain who had his own rules. Cant forget dada.

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