They’re off again! On the spot in India, AOC’s IPL correspondent Chetan Narula runs through Sourav Ganguly, Adam Gilchrist, and Katy Perry as he tells us what’s been learnt from the competition’s first week.
Team of the Week
Pune Warriors ended up first in the league table on the first Sunday night of the near two month long extravaganza. With Yuvraj Singh out for the season and the franchise having big trouble dealing with the BCCI, this would not have been in the owners’ wildest dreams. But this, fans will argue, is what you get when an experienced hand such as Sourav Ganguly is leading the side. He has been hands-on with his captaincy in the first two matches, but whether the Warriors can convert this good start into title contention remains to be seen.
Disappointment of the Week
Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab started their campaigns in listless fashion. At last count, both occupy the last two positions in the table, with Kings already having lost two matches. They are looking out of their depth, especially Adam Gilchrist, who has taken on the dual role of captain and coach. Add keeping wicket and opening the batting, and he has too much on his plate already. Meanwhile the Chargers have just played the one game but the manner in which they lost raised eyebrows. There seemed to be zero energy on display and after getting hammered by Chennai Super Kings, bets are already on to see which of these two teams will end up with the wooden spoon.
Winner of the Week
This one goes to the guy who thought up Rahul Dravid’s name as replacement captain for Rajasthan Royals, now that Shane Warne is gone. They are like chalk and cheese, Dravid and Warne, but in one thing they are pretty similar – an intense desire to win. Warne did well leading the Royals to victory in the inaugural season and he was in any case touted as the best captain Australia never had. For Dravid it is different, except that he also has a point to prove. His Indian captaincy stint didn’t really go to plan and his experience at the helm of Royal Challengers Bangalore wasn’t a comfortable time. This is his chance (a last one probably) to shut a few people up.
Loser of the Week
The BCCI takes the cake for this one. The opening ceremony was a complete shambles and none of the many Indian movie stars on show, not even Katy Perry, could save the evening. Somewhere Lalit Modi is laughing his head off in disbelief and he should, because for all his ills, that man sure knew how to throw a party.
Match of the Week
Five days, eight matches and the IPL had only one real good match. That too was half washed out, and contested for 12-overs a side. Kolkata Knight Riders did well to maintain a run-rate of eight per over, despite losing wickets regularly. And Delhi Daredevils made sure they would botch things up, before Irfan Pathan decided he didn’t want to go home a loser.
Value for Money of the Week
Richard Levi could have got this one for his big hitting which helped Mumbai Indians open their account with a win. But Kevon Cooper at just 50,000 USD is the early shout for bargain player. After two games, he has taken seven wickets and showed he can field well to back it all up. He can also hit out well with the bat. Rajasthan Royals have done two things right already, besides winning both their games.
Flop of the Week
This one goes to Kolkata Knight Riders, whose top order of Jacques Kallis, Gautam Gambhir and Brendon McCullum have collectively scored 36 runs in two matches.
Chetan will be reporting weekly from the glitz and glamour of the IPL. Before next week, read The Grubber for why Woody Allen was a cricket expert, Phil Walker’s thoughts on England saving No.1 and the charmingly cloudy start to the County Championship.