By Debaleena Paul
With 51 (out of 72) league matches completed, the fight to qualify for the play-offs seems to have intensified manifold. Is Season 6 turning out to be the “Whistle Podu” Chennai Super Kings’ tournament once again? The team proudly occupies the top position now, having won 9 out of 12 matches this far, and is looking positive to move on to the qualifiers. Royal Challengers Bangalore is up next with 14 points (7 wins) – thanks to the “Gayle-storm” that crashes on every opponent the team faces. Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad are clear favourites as well, requiring only 2 more wins to secure their positions in the play-offs. Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors have pretty much bid adieu to their chances by consistently losing 8 and 10 matches respectively. The team whose performance (and chances) stay as unpredictable as the weather is our favourite (well, at least it is still my choice!) Kolkata Knight Riders. Having lost 7 matches out of 11 played, it needs to claim victory in every single match here onwards to qualify. It takes on Mumbai Indians, Pune Warriors India, Royal Challangers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad over the next couple of weeks. An enthusiastic franchise-owner, Shah Rukh Khan was spotted at the stands in the previous match, with his daughter, to show his continued support for the team. Quite evidently, he has his hopes intact!
Is the heat and pressure of maintaining the brand value catching up with Gautam Gambhir’s composed personality that we have always witnessed with pride? Recently, the KKR skipper has been heavily criticized for his involvement in a heated discussion with the Rajasthan Royals captain Rahul Dravid, a cricketer respected worldwide for his fair play, the Australian bowler Shane Watson (playing for RR in IPL) and the KKR opening batsman Manvinder Bisla. Tempers flared initially between Watson and Bisla, when Watson’s deliveries went for consecutive boundaries. Dravid had intervened to calm down both parties, but Gambhir joined in soon, only to worsen matters. In reaction to the media hype this incident created, the skipper was seen tweeting the following day: “Guess we are always obsessed with some drama or spice. Sorry none existed between me and Rahul. Always respect him.” This was not the first time Gambhir was spotted in an altercation. He was involved in a verbal duel with the RCB skipper Virat Kohli on the field, during the KKR–RCB match. Coupled with the dip in Gambhir’s form of late in ODI cricket, the batsman was axed from the 15-member India squad for Champions Trophy that starts early June. Yuvraj Singh was also dropped; Dinesh Karthik and Murali Vijay have been added.
What would also be particularly interesting to talk about, is CSK’s continuous wins over the past 3 to 4 years at IPL. Is it the team’s unbeaten talent, Dhoni’s brilliant leadership OR… Is there more behind the scenes, more than what meets the eyes, more drama and spice? Stay tuned to find out!
07 May 13 – Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Daredevils
Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders
08 May 13 – Sunrisers Hyderbad vs Chennai Super Kings