By Debaleena Paul
Recovering from the IPL-action-packed weekend that shuffled up many of the team standings across the points table. A brief summary of the results this week –
Rajasthan Royals beat Kings XI Punjab by 6 wickets yesterday and moved to the third position. Kolkata Knight Riders made a comeback finally (after losing two consecutive matches to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals) and bagged a massive win against Sunrisers Hyderabad, moving slightly up to the sixth position. Ambani’s ‘Ala Re’ Mumbai Indians is way ahead, securing the top position after mercilessly defeating Pune Warriors India, Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings. Royal Challengers Bangalore is close behind at Position 2, having lost to only Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad (in what has been so far, the closest game of cricket, stretching to a heart-stopping super over for a decision). Delhi Daredevils has been a disappointment this season, yet to open its score.
In this clash of pride, passion and aggression, what emerges as a stark contrast is the calm demeanor of the skippers Ranchi’s ‘Mahi’ (a.k.a. Mahendra Singh Dhoni from India Cements’ CSK) and the Delhi-boy ‘Gauti’ (a.k.a. Gautam Gambhir from KKR). Believe it or not, the similarities these world-class cricketers share are mind-boggling. Born only 3 months apart, the 31-year-olds made their test, ODI (one day international) and T20 debuts along the same time frame of 2004-5, 2003-4 and 2006-7 respectively. While Mahi’s presence of mind on field and quick reaction behind the wickets have proved CSK champion-worthy multiple times, Gauti’s innovative thinking has skyrocketed KKR’s performance at the IPL ever since he assumed the captain’s role in 2011. A batsman of Gauti’s class (and undeniably the best player of spin in India) is well suited as an opener, who slowly rips apart the confidence of his opponent bowlers, as he did in his match-winning knock of 97 against Sri Lanka at the 2011 World Cup final. On the other hand, Mahi comes across as the charismatic leader who rescues his team at the very end moment, snatching the match away from the opposition with iconic style. Remember his patented helicopter shots and the 91 runs at the same World Cup final match that got us the cup and him, the Man of the Match trophy?
Gauti holds a record 2246 runs in 76 IPL matches, whereas Mahi lags slightly at 1867 runs in 81 matches. With similar averages spreading across their ODI and test careers, the point stands – both are cricketers par excellence. However, looking at Mahi’s steep rise to fame and Gauti’s struggle to pave his own success story in international cricket, and definitely not belittling the moments of honour Mahi has brought to the country, has Gauti been left underrated as just another easily replaceable opening batsman? A mere thought.
Stay tuned for more IPL action this week!
15 Apr 13 – Chennai Super Kings vs Pune Warriors India
16 Apr 13 – Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab
Royal Challengers Bangalore vs Delhi Daredevils