IPL review - Week 1
The first full week of the Indian Premier League (IPL) saw controversy and close finishes while the Mumbai Indians made an early statement of intent as the superstar-laden team took a slight, early lead in the tournament.
The most controversial and dramatic, and arguably most exciting moment in the early stages of the tournament, occurred in the Chennai Super Kings/Royal Challengers Bangalore clash in Chennai on Saturday.
The Super Kings began the last over of the game needing 16 runs to win.
Seamer RP Singh conceded 14 runs off the first five balls and, with Chennai still needing two runs off the last ball, Singh delivered a massive last ball and even though the bowler had Ravi Jadeja caught at third man, Chennai won by virtue of one run for the no-ball and the single the batsmen ran to secure a four-wicket win for Chennai.
Singh’s overstep was so pronounced that social media was immediately abuzz with talk of match-fixing and calls for an investigation but it in no way detracted from the excitement that the last-ball finish produced with both teams celebrating a victory until the unfortunate Bangalore players realised that a no-ball had been called.
DE VILLIERS MAULS MORRIS
The last-ball excitement meant that an astonishing batting assault by AB de Villiers against fellow countryman Chris Morris in the same game was almost forgotten.
De Villiers, during last year’s IPL, smashed 23 runs off an over from Dale Steyn and he almost produced a similar feat as he blasted 20 runs off a Morris over on his way to a 32-ball 64.
Morris, in his first IPL season, was given a succinct reminder of what South Africa’s one-day international captain is capable of as De Villiers helped himself to a six and two fours during the over.
The De Villiers mauling did not detract from a good start for Morris in the IPL with the bizhub Highveld Lions paceman having taken five wickets in his first two matches at an average of 13.40.
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STEYN, KALLIS SHOW CLASS
However, Steyn was the pick of the South African bowlers during the first week of the IPL.
The world’s leading test bowler has led the newly-formed Sunrisers Hyderabad attack with aplomb, snaring six wickets in five games at an average of just 17.33 while conceding a mere 5.24 runs to the over, a tournament best for any one player bowling in more than one match.
De Villiers is the top South African run-scorer although his 101 runs at an average of 50.50 pales next to his teammate Virat Kohli who managed to compile 256 runs at an average of 64, however, Kohli has played in five games to the three of De Villiers.
Jacques Kallis showed that, at the age of 37, he is still a valuable asset in T20 cricket with a wonderful all-round performance for Kolkata against Hyderabad on Sunday.
Kallis struck a quickfire 41 from 27 balls before taking IPL-best figures of 3-13 as Kolkata secured an impressive 48-run win.
No report on a T20 tournament would be complete without Chris Gayle making an appearance and the big-hitting West Indian once again proved his value in the shortest format of the game as he ended the week with 195 runs at a strike-rate of 144.44 for Bangalore.
Gayle struck 85 not out off 50 balls as Bangalore beat Kolkata by eight wickets.
Indian seamer R Vinay Kumar and West Indian all-rounder Kevon Cooper were the early leaders in the wicket-taking stakes with eight apiece.
Mumbai ended the week on six points, the same as Bangalore, Rajasthan and Hyderabad but were in first place courtesy of a superior net run-rate.