Ok ... what just happened?
We all have come to terms with the fact that the 2009 edition of the Indian Premier League is NOT actually being in India. But how many of us were ready for the rest of the topsy-turvy ouctomes in just 2 days of IPL?
All 8 teams have played at least one match each and here's what's happened:
- Last year's finalists both lost their first matches.
- Last year's champions, in fact, ended up with the lowest total in "IPL history".
- Last year's worst 2 teams won their first matches and that too with huge margins.
- Last year's champions, in fact, lost to last year's worst team.
As far as individual performances go, the so-called old-timers, the ones who are supposedly "not suited for the shorter game", the "slow movers", the ones who are not considered good enough to be part of their national team, were indeed the stars of the first round:
- Rahul Dravid ended up with a 120+ rated 66 to give his team's bowlers a something to defend
- Anil Kumble, one of those bowlers, ended up with figures of 3.5 overs 5 wickets for 5 runs!
- Sachin Tendulkar held his team's batting order in order and did what Rahul Dravid did for the Royal Challengers.
Batsmen were supposed to take everything the away bowlers and into the stands:
- Anil Kumble has already been mentioned above
- Ojha and Vettori did exceptionally well for the Chargers
You heard it ... this IS South Africa we are talking about and it is spinning like a top and the top spinners are out to hunt.
Captains were swapped around:
- Gilly for VVS
- KP for the Wall
- Paaji for Bhajji (even though Bhajji did it since Sachin was out due to injury the last time around)
- McCullum for Dada
One thing that stayed in line with expectations was the importance of an all rounder. This was illustrated in the match up between Kolkata and Deccan which staged quite a first in that it had or captains 2 players who were truly all rounders. McCullum and Gilchrist are each wicket-keeping batsmen, openers at that, AND captains of their respective star-studded teams.
It was quite intereting to note that South Africans refer to their kids who attend school as learners and not students. So even as Lalit Modi hands over a cheque for ZAR100,000 to a South African school and thier learners jump up in joy, one can't but wonder what the older but equally keen and astute learners of cricket will be learning from the benefit of their hindsight from the first IPL season. Those IPL "leader caps" might exchange very strange hands this time around.
The T20 format might not have too much of a history, but has enough for cliches to have come out already. "All it takes is one over for the match to turn completely" anyone?
Well, looks like all it takes is one season for some seasoned cricketers to turn their limited overs career around.