With curtains set to fall on an eventful IPL 2013,Rajasthan and Mumbai will battle it out to extend their stay in the city of joy.
After kicking off the Indian Premier League in the most surprising fashion,Rajasthan Royals haven’t had much to cheer about in the editions leading up to IPL 2013. The only moment of glory came way back in the inaugural edition,and since then the team has failed to make an impression.
They have had their share of troubles and controversies,and never enjoyed the star power like the remaining teams. But,what they did have was a never ending hunt for a win,and the self-belief to achieve the same.
The ongoing edition witnessed a different Rajasthan unit. A unit out to make a statement. A unit happy to wear the underdogs tag. And,a unit leaving the spot-fixing saga behind.
Many believed that Rajasthan’s campaign will suffer a severe blow after the arrest of the tainted trio. The blow was very much there,but the team regrouped well in time to stay in hunt for their second IPL final.
Mumbai,on the other hand,have had a very mixed tournament. After staging some convincing performances at home,they have been outplayed in some of their away fixtures.
The way they played in their previous qualifying fixture against Chennai Super Kings was not what the doctor ordered for the Rohit Sharma-led unit. They will now have to sort their act,and sort it in time. A slip up here and there might well cost them their second final of the IPL.
The team’s run in the 2010 edition — where they ended runners up — was anchored by Sachin Tendulkar,who was in brilliant touch in the tournament. The little master went on to bag the ‘Orange’ cap for the season,and won the ‘Best Batsman’ and ‘Best Captain’ awards at the IPL Awards 2010.
However,the master blaster is not at his best in the ongoing edition. And,a question mark hangs on his fitness for today’s fixture. The right-hander sprained his left wrist earlier in the tournament,and was not in the team for the first Qualifier.
Rahul Dravid the skipper
Rahul Dravid has in fact gone a step ahead of Shane Warne in taking Rajasthan where they are right now. Warne marshaled his troops to perfection,but the way Dravid has held the team together in troubled times is commendable. The way he was addressing the media or speaking during the post-match conference spoke volumes about how hard the incident hit the ‘good boy of cricket’. Whether his team wins or not,’The Wall’ has taken the art of captaincy and leadership to a new level this year.
Leading from the bench
If Dravid’s stint as captain is worth mentioning,so is Ricky Ponting’s six-match outing as Mumbai skipper. The runs were not flowing off his blade,and the Aussie decided opted to bench.
Ponting’s absence and presence has done wonders to the team. Absence allowed Mitchell Johnson to play,and presence delivered a message loud and clear – no one should take their place for granted. If the original skipper can sit,so can you. Punter was in good form before the IPL,but just couldn’t deliver.
Road to Kolkata
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