Image credit: AFP
After the latest double-header in IPL 2019, we have a runaway leader in Chennai Super Kings, a falling giant in Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Delhi Capitals showing it is, in fact, possible to break from tradition – halfway through, they’re actually in the top half of the table!
This has all contributed to the utter confusion among pundits attempting to call how the tournament pans out here on.
Suresh Raina. The 32-year-old became the first batsman to cross 5000 IPL runs in the tournament opener this year, but even then, it’s been hard to escape the feeling he’s no longer as crucial to Chennai as he was during the first half of the decade. Heading into Sunday’s match, he had a high score of 36 in seven matches, aggregating just 136.
But Chennai’s philosophy is clear: they trust experience, especially in their core players. Raina came good against Kolkata, scoring his 36th IPL half-century. There was a good review to have an lbw decision overturned on his second ball, and thereafter, the flicks came out – there were seven fours and a six as he guided Chennai’s chase with an unbeaten 42-ball 58*.
Chennai have already won four in a row and broken away at the top of the table with a clear four-point lead. With Raina hopeful of sparking form after this, things look ominous for the rest of the league.
Sunrisers Hyderabad. Many predictions before the tournament … erm, including our own … said Hyderabad were favourites to win the trophy. It’s important to remember they still can, if only for the sake of our prediction, but admittedly, they do seem less likely to win after the week they’ve had.
Hyderabad have lost three consecutive matches. They are now third from bottom, with six points from seven matches. The days when David Warner and Jonny Bairstow scored centuries and had a cuddle in the middle already seem distant. What’s gone so horribly wrong so suddenly?
Mostly, it’s their middle order: against Delhi on Sunday, they went from 101-2 to 116 all out. Apart from Warner and Bairstow, who scored 51 and 41 respectively, none of the others reached double digits. This despite wholesale changes being made to a floundering middle order: Mohammad Nabi, Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey were shipped out for Kane Williamson, Ricky Bhui and Abhishek Sharma.
What they said
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) April 14, 2019
“I’m no longer part of that process. I don’t know what their thinking was.”
David Warner, while trying to explain middle order changes, subtly hinting that he needs to be back in the Hyderabad leadership.
What they didn’t say
“Gee, that was fun. Can I go again? Pretty please?”
MS Dhoni wants to barge onto the field and have a go at the umpires again.
Can Royal Challengers Bangalore do the unthinkable? Can they win two in a row when they take on Mumbai Indians? Extra, extra, read all about it!