Thursday, 12 April 2012



The Indian Premier League (IPL) is called a lot of things. From a circus to carnival, a Bollywood movie, an entertainment package and sometimes even a culprit for all untoward happenings. But under all the hype, hoopla, frenzy, glamour and packaging, the IPL is about cricket. Although not exclusively, but it’s still cricket being played and it is still the game most of us love, even though it’s played in colors we don’t like and in ways we don’t appreciate. But IPL, in an odd, random way, is just like itself; you don’t really have what you want or expected, but you learn to live it by ignoring the unpleasant and focusing on the bright side. Gyan apart, the fifth edition of the IPL began last week and it is time we prepared ourselves for almost two months of the trumpet sound, Citi Moments of Success, DLF Maximums and Karbonn Kamaal Katches!

A Mumbaikar at heart and a proud Indian (clichéd I know), I am supporting the Mumbai Indians and throughout these two months, you can read all about the MI Paltan and their Duniya Hila Denge actions right here!In 2008, Mumbai barely made it, in 2009 they just about scampered though, but in 2010 fortunes changed and they ended up runners up and in 2011 they won the bronze in IPL but struck gold in the Champions League T20. Now it’s 2012 and time for a fresh start under new captain Harbhajan Singh. We already three matches into the season and MI have won two and lost one, but it’s still inconclusive evidence when it comes to predicting what’s in store for them.

In the inaugural match against Chennai Super Kings at Chepuak, Mumbai did well to defeat the defending champions comprehensively. New recruits Richard Levi and Pragyan Ojha proved their worth and trusted men Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga and James Franklin showed yet again why they are considered more Mumbai Indian than their own nationalities!
Unfortunately in the second match vs. Pune Warriors India at their home ground Wankhede, MI fell short by 29 runs chasing only 129 runs. Credit to Ashok Dinda and Steven Smith, but the way Mumbai lost, I thought it had a teeny bit of complacency somewhere. There was more of the same in the third match but a brilliant innings from Rohit Sharma saved the day and earned Mumbai some vital points.Of course I can be wrong and it certainly is too early to tell.

Coming to the team, at first glance the thought that comes to my mind is there is no reason why they can’t make it to semis and further. The squad is strong, well balanced and has a good quota of proven match winners. It does look like there is a glut of foreign players and with only four spots available, MI has a problem of plenty which is always a good problem to have.Unlike back in the day, the team is more than just the name of Sachin Tendulkar and has a strong batting order around him. Levi and his fellow Protean opener Herschelle Gibbs, Aiden Blizzard and Davy Jacobs are all good opener options. Among the home grown players, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik are certainties and form the core of the middle-order. Suryakumar Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have a lot of untapped potential and batting with international players will only help.The all-rounder department is loaded, with the superman Pollard, Harbhajan (yes, in T20, we can consider him as one), Franlkin. Clint Mckay, Thisara Perera and Robin Peterson add more strength to the order. The bowling unit is spearheaded by the indomitable Malinga and the ever-improving Munaf Patel, well supported by Dhawal Kulkarni and Abu Nechim and is made stronger by the addition of R P Singh, Pragyan Ojha and Mitchell Johnson.
In conclusion, MI Paltan is a team with great potential and could go all the way if they manage to play consistent cricket. The men are there, the means are there and the motivation is surely there (as skipper Bhajji says that he wants to win it for Sachin) What remains to be seen is that can Mumbai Indians replicate their CLT20 success in the IPLT20 where they will face tougher competition and stiffer opposition. For now, all I am going to say is, Duniya Hila Denge Indians!

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