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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Travails of spotting T20 trends

Till Tuesday,the highest total in IPL VI was Rajasthan Royals’ 165/7 against Delhi Daredevils.

Written by Bharat Sundaresan | Published: April 11, 2013 1:23:19 am

Till Tuesday,the highest total in IPL VI was Rajasthan Royals’ 165/7 against Delhi Daredevils. Five out of eight matches had been won by teams defending totals. Eleven bowlers had taken three wickets or more in an innings while only eight half-centuries had been recorded.

And it took only nine matches for the pundits to say that IPL VI was a bowlers’ tournament. Then Virat Kohli walked in and sent the Hyderabad bowlers and the celebs scurrying for cover with a brutal batting display at Bangalore. An hour later,Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma helped Mumbai Indians score the first 200+ total of the season. And all was well again with the T20 world. The wood had established its status quo over the leather. Even team compositions haven’t escaped the wrath of the inexorable trend-seekers. Spin was supposed to Rajasthan Royals’ biggest strength,thanks to their batallion of left-arm tweakers. But as early as their second match,the former champs fielded an all-pace attack,including five fast bowlers.

If the first week has taught us anything it’s that this T20 extravaganza doesn’t work on any set precedent. And that trendspotting at the IPL is equally a risk-laden indulgence as making predictions during exit polls or weather forecasting.

Another routine trend characteristic to the IPL has been glorifying the achievements of the aged,and mocking the long-forgotten moniker of T20 being a young man’s sport. But following Dravid’s 65 in the Royals’ opening match,the oldies were back in vogue.

Unfortunately though Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in particular haven’t quite followed the trend. But it’s still to premature to write them off.

Many have already called Mumbai’s punt on Ponting a failure,claiming that his reflexes have slowed down and he no longer possesses the dominating presence at the crease. They just have to look at his statistics from the recently concluded Sheffield Shield season to know that he’s arrived here in scintillating form. And his acrobatic effort against Delhi is proof enough that his hand-eye-co-ordination still remains supreme. Ponting might still yet find his mettle in the IPL. Don’t go around predicting his downfall yet. After all themes in the IPL change on a day to day basis.

Bharat is a senior correspondent based in Mumbai

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