Saturday, 25 April 2009

Rain Falls on the Pitch

The second IPL tournament has begin in South Africa amid much fanfare but thus far the cricket hasn’t delivered. A major issue has been the weather. Many of the matches have been affected by weather which has contributed to a stop-start feel. Much of the impact of the IPL and its attractiveness is going to be reduced if rain continues to interfere to the degree which it has to date.

Each side plays 14 games so it is still early days. It appears as though some teams are suffering from the lack of key personnel. Last year the Kings XI Punjab made it all the way to the semi-finals largely on the bat of Shaun Marsh. Currently Marsh is with the Australian team and the Kings have dropped their first two games.

On the other hand, the Mumbai Indians have started brightly with win in their opening two matches.

Matthew Hayden is playing for Chennai and has also started well. He has scored 109 runs in his first two innings. Will the Australians regret turning their back on him when it comes to the Ashes 2009. When it comes to Ashes cricket you need big-time performers and there is no bigger performer than Hayden.

The South African conditions don’t appear to be conducive to batting and the scores are lower than what was witnessed last year in India. There are significantly less boundaries and sixes being scored. This is a good thing for bowlers who have been rendered to be nothing more than bowling machines in the Twenty20 game. Then again it could be that bowlers have adapted and worked out how to bowl more tightly in Twenty20 cricket. Captains have worked out better field settings for their bowlers and this is making it a far more even contest between bat and ball.

Spin has been doing well with Daniel Vettori and Muttiah Muralitharan winning man of the match award for outstanding bowling performances.

As was the case last year, it will be interesting to see how the teams fare as players exit and enter the tournament due to their international commitments happening or coming to an end.

David Wiseman is a sports journalist, who writes about cricket and tennis for Betfair Australia. He is particularly looking forward to the Ashes, and is keeping himself occupied with horse racing form until it begins.

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