IPL 2018 Highlights: Five matches into the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League we have had a couple of last-over thrillers, a one-sided game, witnessed the fastest IPL fifty ever, a few unfortunate injuries and at least of couple finds.
IPL 2018 Highlights: Five matches into the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League we have had a couple of last-over thrillers, a one-sided game, witnessed the fastest IPL fifty ever, a few unfortunate injuries and at least of couple finds. While it may still be too early, we have had a nice look at all the teams and what they may have to offer in the coming weeks. The Pandya brothers were as clinical as ever, Dwayne ‘Champion’ Bravo finally hit his tunes right with the bat and Mujeeb ur Zardan showed why he is being rated so highly. After 5 matches, Chennai Super Kings remain on top of IPL points table with four points to its name. However, as history tells, the IPL table at the end of the league round is never the same as it was after week 1. Some of the sides who lost their first match are not as bad as they looked on that day and only need to get their combination right to produce results. So, here are quick highlights of the games that have taken place so far:
1. Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings:
In the first match of IPL 2018, defending champions Mumbai Indians faced Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Asked to bat first, Mumbai got off to a disastrous start losing Evin Lewis for a duck. After Rohit Sharma’s departure, young Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav took charge and got the scoreboard moving. MI lost both these batsmen in quick succession but some late blows from the Pandya brothers helped them post a strong total. In reply, Chennai was trapped by the debutant Mayank Markande with his leg-spin before Dwayne Bravo found his golden touch and helped Chennai to a win.
Positives – Ishan Kishan’s form with the bat and Mayank Markande’s spin were certainly the biggest takeways for Mumbai. The fact that Hardik Pandya did well with the ball would also give Rohit Sharma a lot more confidence. For Chennai, Bravo’s return to from ensures that MS Dhoni gets a longer run at the top with the West Indian taking the role of the finisher.
From small beginnings to making it big!
— Mumbai Indians (@mipaltan) April 11, 2018
Concerns – Mumbai Indians are yet to find a suitable role for Kieron Pollard who didn’t bat in the first game. Also, with an injury to Pat Cummins, Mumbai are short on overseas fast-bowling option. Meanwhile, for Chennai, Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni’s form are the biggest concerns at the moment.
2. Kings XI Punjab vs Delhi Daredevils:
In the second match of IPL 2018, Kings XI Punjab defeated Delhi Daredevils by a comprehensive margin with the help of KL Rahul’s record-breaking fifty. Asked to bat first, Delhi struggled to stich a partnership but was able to put 166 runs on board with the help of Gautam Gambhir’s half-century and Chris Morris’ late blows. In reply, Rahul and Karun score half-centuries before David Miller and Marcus Stoinis finished the game for Punjab. Delhi looked a confused outfit but with Glenn Maxwell’s return and an improved batting order will definitely be a team to watch out for in the coming days.
Positives – The 17-year-old Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman was a treat to watch and picked up two wickets on his debut. Ashwin would be happy to see the form of two of his top Indian batsmen – KL Rahul and Karun Nair. Apart from Gambhir’s form, the only takeaway for Delhi was Rahul Tewatia’s bowling who was economical on an otherwise disastrous day for the team.
Concerns – Yuvraj Singh remains the only concern for Punjab at this moment. With so many bowling options in the team, Punjab want ‘Yuraj the batsman’ to fire. Batting at number 3, Yuvi scored 12 runs from 22 balls, an innings that would have hurt his team badly on any other day. For Delhi, finding the right combination is the task at hand at the moment. Also, Gambhir would hope for an improved performance from his Indian bowlers- Mohammed Shami and Amit Mishra.
3. Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore:
Kolkata Knight Riders defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scoring encounter at Eden Gardens in the third match of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Batting first, RCB put up a strong total of 176 runs without any of its batsmen going past the 50-run mark. In reply, Sunil Narine’s 19-ball fifty followed by a mature knock by captain Dinesh Karthik ensured a win for KKR. However, despite this loss, RCB remains to be one of the strongest sides in the competition and the fans can expect a lot of entertainment from it.
Positives – Dinesh Karthik’s captaincy was at test in this match and he passed it with flying colours. Karthik was calm and composed in tough situations and would be interesting to watch him as the tournament progresses. Royal Challengers Bangalore, on the other hand, would be more than happy to see two of their strike bowlers Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes sharing 5 wickets between them.
Concerns – Lack of depth in KKR’s batting is a major concern for the franchise which can be exposed as the tournament goes on. RCB, meanwhile, somehow needs to include an all-rounder in the playing XI as Virat Kohli had only 5 bowling options in this game which is a major concern.
4. Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Rajasthan Royals:
On a day when nothing went in favour of Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad crushed them by 9 wickets in what has been the most comfortable win of the season so far. Batting first, RR lost Darcy Short in a bizarre runout and its innings never really took off from there. Chasing 126 runs was never going to be tough for SRH and Ajinkya Rahane made the job easier by dropping Shikhar Dhawan in the second over. The southpaw went on to score a half-century, helping his side to a 9-wicket win. Having said that, Rajasthan Royals is a much better side than it looked at the Rajeev Gandhi Cricket Stadium and is still a strong contender for a play-off finish.
Positives – Kane Williamson’s brilliant captaincy ensured that SRH do not miss David Warner. Shakib Al Hassan good display with the new ball and Siddharth Kaul’s exceptional death bowling have added another dimension to SRH’s already outstanding bowling attack. For Rajasthan, Darcy Short’s utility as a spinner was the biggest positive and he can play an important role with the ball as well in the coming matches.
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) April 10, 2018
Concerns – When you look at SRH’s performance against RR, you hardly find any concern and that’s where things can go wrong for the franchise. Shikhar Dhawan’s opening partner remains to be a trouble for SRH and it will be interesting to see if Wriddhiman Saha is being seen as the long-time replacement. Rajasthan, on the other hand, needs to add more quality to its bowling attack, preferably in the spin department.
5. Chennai Super Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders:
Cricket fans in Chennai waited for 1165 days to witness their favourite team play at Chepauk and they were not disappointed! CSK defeated KKR in an absolute blinder, chasing down a mammoth total of 202 runs. Batting first, Andre Russell’s breathtaking knock helped KKR post the first 200-plus total of the season. However, a brilliant team effort by Chennai ensured another two points in the tournament for their side.
Positives – Andre Russell’s form with the bat and Sunil Narine’s beautiful spell were the major takeaways for KKR. For Chennai, Sam Billings match-winning half-century has given them another option in the middle-order.
Concerns – There were a lot, for both the sides! Starting with KKR, Vinay Kumar remains to be a major problem. The Karnataka pacer has bowled only the 1st and last over in both the matches he has played so far, giving away more than 15 runs in an over. It won’t be a surprise if he is replaced with Shivam Mavi or Kamlesh Nagarkoti in the next match.
Chennai, despite its two wins in the tournament, faces much bigger issues going forward. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina’s form top the list. While Raina has failed to get going, Dhoni scored 25 runs from 28 balls against KKR in a 200-plus run chase and if it wasn’t for the brilliance of other batsmen, Chennai would have lost the match for his side. Dhoni’s captaincy too has been puzzling as Harbhajan Singh hasn’t bowled his quota of overs in any of the matches despite being economical while Deepak Chahar who bowled the first over in both the matches, was never given a second spell!