Thursday, 03 May 2012 14:41
Contributed by James Roy
Low scoring games are often quite boring. Unless, of course if the side batting first manages to pick up eight or nine wickets or even ends up winning. Such matches occur very rarely. God forbid, if we provide pitches conducive to bowlers too often, we might spoil them. It would be blasphemy if we let bowlers have a say in a batsman’s game. Some batsmen really do look funny when the ball swings and seams. Facing up to someone like Dale Steyn who thunders in almost as fast as Usain Bolt and hurtles that dynamite of a ball in a trajectory shaped like a twisted water slide, is, well, not quite so easy. Agreed. But, batsmen these days seem to lack the technique to look as poised as they do in front of a camera when they are beaten by a beaut of an out-swinger. Sachin Tendulkar while on his way to a brilliant 146 in the 3rd test of India’s tour of South Africa 2011 was beaten times aplenty. But the posture that he maintained when he was beaten was as elegant as the one when he played a smacking straight drive. Before I veer off track, let me come back to the topic. Low scoring games.
The IPL has thrown up some low scoring matches, quite dull low scoring games. Some of these matches have been due to some poor shot selection from the batsmen and some, due to disastrous running between the wickets. But the bowlers, with the exception of Ashish Nehra, seem to have mastered the art of bowling in T-20. They have found the right line and length and have been consistent in hitting those areas. Of course, becoming too predictable is a drawback of good old-fashioned line and length bowling a la Glen McGrath. In this format, that could prove dangerous. But bowlers have developed slower deliveries, toe-crushing Yorkers, doosras, teesras, bouncers (both fast and slow) and a variety of other deliveries. Far from becoming predictable, bowlers these days seem to be spoilt for choice regarding which delivery to dish out. With fielders diving all around the place, even mediocre bowlers are made to look more potent.
The above mentioned are reasons why low scoring matches happened in the IPL this season which most cricketing pundits would tell you. Let’s try and look at the hidden reasons. I’ve dug up some dirt on the teams and found certain plausible reasons for low-scoring matches. Let’s look at the low scoring matches thus far.
Match 1: Chennai Super Kings 112 (19.5/20 ov); Mumbai Indians 115/2 (16.5/20 ov) at Chennai
Match 11: Chennai Super Kings 110/8 (20/20 ov); Delhi Daredevils 111/2 (13.2/20 ov) at Delhi
Both these matches involved CSK. Maybe Dhoni was in a hurry to go somewhere. With the IIT-Madras rule about girls not allowed in certain places after a certain hour without a boy to accompany them and a whistle around their necks, Mrs Dhoni probably needed him to take her home safely. The new ‘Whistle Podu’ campaign by the IIT-Madras has everyone ‘raising their hands up’ in agitation.
In Delhi, well, it’s Delhi. Even without the whistle podu rule, Mrs Dhoni would need Mr. Dhoni to take her back safely.
Match 3: Pune Warriors 129/9 (20/20 ov); Mumbai Indians 101/9 (20/20 ov) at Mumbai
Match 14: Pune Warriors 115 (19/20 ov); Kings XI Punjab 116/3 (17.4/20 ov) at Mohali
Pune probably were in a hurry to get back to the Subrata Roy Sahara stadium, which frankly is in the middle of nowhere! The stadium wasn’t going to build itself. After all the talk about the tier system in the Ranji trophy, Pune were scurrying around to build a second tier at this stadium. Hopkins Architects of London were the ones responsible for the above mentioned low scoring games. They did not complete construction on time.
Match 19: Mumbai Indians 92 (19.2/20 ov); Delhi Daredevils 93/3 (14.5/20 ov) at Mumbai
This match was held on a Monday. I guess that says it all. After a weekend with the Ambanis, the Mumbai Indians were probably feeling the Monday blues. Under the blue sky, Siddhu in his blue tie and blue turban passing blue(oo)ming comments, Pepsi bleeding blue and a bottle of blue Gatorade were more than enough to get the MI’s in their blue jerseys feeling blue. With Sachin nursing his finger, the Mumbai Indians were all at sea, which was again, blue.
Match 22: Kings XI Punjab 124/7 (20/20 ov); Kolkata Knight Riders 127/2 (16.3/20 ov) at Mohali
On this day Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta exchanged team jerseys. The boys playing out on the field were confused as to where their allegiances lay. As enchanting as she is, the KXIP boys could not disappoint their owner. Under her dimpled spell, KXIP players began to believe that they now played for KKR and hence had to lose the match in order to win. How oxy’MORON’ic!!! In then end, except the audience, everyone walked away satisfied and bewildered.