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Foreign conditions stymie IPL teams

The fact that three of the four glamour IPL teams have been knocked out of the Champions League already is a major blow to the tournament.

The much-fancied Chennai Super Kings have bitten the dust, as have previous winners Mumbai who never got out of the blocks. This year’s IPL winners the Kolkata Knight Riders have also had a nightmare tournament. The only remaining IPL team for the moment is the strong Delhi Daredevils combination.

This tournament has at times struggled to grab the imagination and interest of the cricketing public as an entity. Much of the viewing audience for the event is based in India. IPL teams have a strong following on the subcontinent so it is natural that interest will wane in this area when the glamour teams of the IPL are sent packing so early in the tournament. India is the major shareholder in the event so it is important that the IPL teams give a good account of themselves during the tournament.

The Indian teams battled to come to terms with conditions in the event. Chennai won the tournament when it was last held in South Africa (2010) but this time they looked a shadow of the powerful team that they normally are.

I was a part of setting up the Chennai playing structure and they have been the most successful franchise in the IPL by some margin. They have always been well structured and very professional. It is starting to look however as if they need some new players and some different ideas. They are looking like a team which is approaching its sell-by date. An injection of enthusiasm, passion and tactical acumen is needed in the group.

The Mumbai Indians won the event last year in India. It is fair to say though that considering their star quality and abundance of talent, they have been an under-achieving team since the inception of the IPL.

The team cost a fortune to assemble and I am sure the team owners are wondering what they have to do to achieve consistency. Unfortunately the much fancied Mumbai Indians struggle to play to the best of their ability consistently throughout these events. If they lived up to their potential, there would have been a lot more silverware in the cupboard by now. There is a problem somewhere and they will have to rethink their approach before the IPL tournament next year to avoid further disappointment.

After a long struggle and some poor results in the IPL, the Kolkata Knight Riders finally won the trophy this year. Unfortunately things went badly wrong over the past two weeks for them. They found the demands of performing away from home under foreign conditions too big a hurdle to overcome.

I am just wondering how much motivation these IPL teams really had to perform in this event.

Seeing that the tournament is played in South Africa, it has been a saving grace that the Lions and Titans have acquitted themselves so well.

The Lions were rank outsiders and have been excellent. The Titans have been pretty good as well. The performance of both these sides proves that South African teams can play this format well when they have a good structure, clever tactical planning and the talent as well.

After the recent disappointment of the World Twenty20, it was important for the South African teams to make a strong statement on home soil in this event. So far they have done just that. Maybe, just maybe, one of them can go all the way. That will be a great effort and a real surprise.

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