Chennai Super Kings soared to the top of the points table in dramatic fashion, recording their third consecutive win in a comprehensive defeat of Deccan Chargers at Buffalo Park. The game had everything: excellent swing that had Deccan reeling at 1 for 3, left-arm spin from Shadab Jakati that gave him his second consecutive four-wicket haul and ripped the heart out of Deccan’s batting, and two whirlwind innings, one by Dwayne Smith that could only stave off the inevitable and another by MS Dhoni, at the start of the match, to set up the win. Much of that, and a dropped catch and a missed run-out, took place in a frenetic opening ten overs of Deccan’s chase that had more twists, turns and frenetic passages of play than an entire Twenty20 match.
Two changes, one of them a tactical masterstroke, made their impact in the very first over of each innings to hand Rajasthan Royals an imposing 78-run win against Kings XI Punjab, and propel them - in an intensely fluid tournament - to second place on the points table. The match was effectively decided in three overs: the first of Rajasthan’s innings, when Naman Ojha hammered 16 off Ramesh Powar; the penultimate, when Sreesanth went for 23, and the first over of Punjab’s innings when Amit Singh, playing his first Twenty20 game, took two wickets, including one off the first ball.
It’s getting hard to keep track of who’s on top of the IPL table. For the third day in a row, there was a new leader, now with the Delhi Daredevils occupying first place after strolling past a luckless Kolkata Knight Riders in Durban. To make victory even sweeter, one of their key batsmen, Gautam Gambhir, was back among the runs after an indifferent start to the tournament.
After Morne van Wyk made the most of his chance at the top of the order to push Kolkata towards a middling total, they fielded like millionaires, granting the Delhi batsmen innumerable chances to simplify the chase.
Lalit Modi, the IPL commissioner, has said there is a possibility that the tactical time-out in the middle of each team’s innings could be changed from one interval of seven and a half minutes to two breaks of two and a half minutes each for the semi-finals and final of the second season of the IPL.
“It’s not frozen yet but we are looking at two aspects. There will be two two-and-a-half-minutes break per innings, so the break in all during an innings will be of five minutes,” Modi told NDTV. “The first two-and-a-half-minute break will be just after the Powerplay [6 overs] and the second to be taken by the fielding side at any time.
Chris Gayle finally arrived in England two days before the first Test at Lord’s and will face huge pressure to perform with coach John Dyson clearly far from pleased about his captain’s timing.
Gayle’s flight landed at 6.45am and he trained with the squad during the afternoon. However, regardless of the comfort he will have flown in, and the benefit of South Africa’s time difference to the UK being minimal, he has left himself facing huge criticism if he doesn’t lead from the front.
Four dropped catches undid Brad Hodge’s impressive half-century and took Kings XI Punjab back into the top four of the IPL table after they chased down 154 to beat the Kolkata Knight Riders by six wickets.
What a difference a week makes. Last Sunday, Royal Challengers Bangalore were at the bottom of the table, had slumped to their fourth consecutive defeat, and were looking ahead to surviving without two key batsmen, Rahul Dravid and Kevin Pietersen. Now, after a thoroughly dominant performance against Mumbai Indians they are jostling for a share of the top spot. The reversal of fortunes was illustrated by the two men who blunted the powerful Mumbai bowling, Jacques Kallis and Robin Uthappa, who shrugged off their forgettable starts to the tournament with superbly paced half-centuries.
West Indies have reluctantly given Chris Gayle permission to extend his day with Kolkata Knight Riders at the IPL by two days if he wants to play an extra game. It means he could arrive in England just 48 hours before the first Test at Lord’s, which will leave him precious little time to adjust to conditions.
With poor batting and inclement weather robbing West Indies of much-needed momentum ahead of the Test series, the tourists are now bracing for Gayle to remain in South Africa longer than originally agreed.
May 3, 2009
Start time 12.30pm (10.30 GMT)
Kings XI Punjab are the only team in the IPL to hold the dubious distinction of having lost to the bottom-placed Kolkata Knight Riders, and come Sunday, they’ll be keen to set the record straight and win back a place in the top four. Though the setback against Royal Challengers Bangalore dented their three-match winning streak, there were some positives with Yuvraj Singh’s all-round performance, especially his success as opener, and the proven reliability of their bowlers.
Graham Napier is still trying to come to terms with what has been a whirlwind year as he has gone from a bit-part county player to an England international with a stop at the IPL on the way.
Napier was one of two uncapped players named in England’s ICC World Twenty20 as he gained reward for his memorable displays in last year’s Twenty20 Cup where he hit 152 against Sussex. That innings was enough to earn an IPL deal with Mumbai Indians and on the same day he earned his international call he was also told he would make his first appearance for Mumbai.