Posted by: nestaquin | April 19, 2008

An Embarrassing Beginning

The inaugural match of the Indian Premier League between Bangalore and Kolkata was so horribly one-sided that even the extensive propaganda machine at the IPL will be hard pressed to hide the imbalance.

From the moment Brendan McCullum pulled his first boundary over mid-wicket till he took the final catch on the same fence, Kolkata gave Bangalore a cricketing lesson of embarrassing proportions.

McCullum’s innings was special and is the highest individual score recorded in a domestic T20 to date. His 158 not out was scored from 73 balls and included 10 fours and 13 towering sixes. It was truly a stunning effort on a pitch that had its fair share of movement and carry. When you consider that Ponting’s 20 was the next highest score you may begin to understand the sheer majesty of the Kiwi’s dominance.

No bowler was spared the ruthless assault. International recruits Kallis, Noffke and White fared no better than locals Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Kahan and spinner Joshi. All were treated with disdain by McCullum and his innings was directly from the Adam Gilchrist textbook on opening a limited over innings. If it is full, hit hard through the line and if it is short, smash it over the legside boundary.

Rahul Dravid’s captaincy was bereft of motivation and idea. He changed his bowlers often but it seemed that there was no plans for the batsman. The bowlers appeared to just fling it down and hope for the best and the obvious result was Kolkata reaching 222/3 after their allotted 20.

With a top four that included plodders like Dravid, Jaffer and Kallis as well as the inexperienced under 19 skipper Kohli, Bangalore were never going to chase down a run-rate in excess of eleven an over.

All too predictably they collapsed and at the five over mark were 24/5 after Ishant Sharma and Ashok Dinda bowled a tight and lively opening spell. Disappointingly, after the fielding restrictions were lifted, the match was already in the bag. It lost impetus and the players went through the motions until Bangalore limply succumbed for 82 with still a quarter of an innings remaining.

Curiously, the home crowd didn’t seem to care. If there was passion within the terraces it was for drinking and partying with friends and not for supporting, or should I say, lamenting their team’s performance.

Gangaly’s Kolkata team will be happy with the win but they weren’t tested at any stage. It was a complete rout from start to finish. They played with energy and verve and Sourav showed again that he has natural ability as a cricketing skipper.

On the other hand, Dravid’s Bangalore look out of their depth and if this was a serious competition and not a marketing exercise questions would already be surfacing about the wisdom of having a defensive top-order and out of touch bowlers like Zaheer Khan and Cam White.

To be fair it is only early days in the tournament but from a neutral’s perspectective last night’s match as a contest failed to live up to its promise. Fortunately, both McCullum and Ishant Sharma showed their class and their performances made the sacrifice of precious sleep somewhat worthwhile.

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Responses

  1. In every match, at least one batsman will have his day and get 70 or so off 40 balls (McCullum had a “double day”) so the means to deal with that become critical. It could be that the smartest captains and bowlers (even two bowling spells like 4-0-23-2) could be the deciding factors in matches, for all the batting pyrotechnics.

  2. If there was passion within the terraces it was for drinking and partying with friends and not for supporting, or should I say, lamenting their team’s performance.

    A small correction:

    Indian grounds don’t permit drinking. ( even beer is a strict no no.)

  3. A strange smiley thing appeared there, but it seems appropriate!

  4. Ottayan – seems from http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/346964.html?CMP=OTC-RSS that there was alcohol on sale.

  5. Given the short period of time, I think IPL has got off to a decent start.McCullum’s innings was special but as expected the crowd was more interested in the glitch than who was winning.If it had been a proper cricket match, the crowd’s reaction would have been hostile given the abject surrender of the home team. Ottayan’s right.Indian grounds do not sell alcohol, most of it that is consumed is through boot legging. I am not sure how long the show will survive but it is early days..

  6. Permitted or not there were pictures on my telly of people drinking beer and wine in a corporate box.

    It had a Royal Challengers sign on the back wall and was populated by middle-aged men more intent on ogling the cheergirls than watching the cricket.

  7. Nesta – You could be right.These special boxes have special rules especially for the rich.I don’t see how long this trend of Cheer leaders and serving of alcohol will continue in a country which equates these to decadent life style.Mischief makers will latch on to this( there are plenty who will jump on publicity ) , IPL can quickly get caught in negative publicity.These are interesting times for India, not sure which direction to take.There are many who are extremely liberal in western sense and there equally many who are brought up in taliban life style.

  8. I was in a corporate box at the Oval yesterday. I did have a pint of warm beer in a plastic glass. There were no cheerleaders, not even any cricket, as they were off for bad light (read as too cold).

  9. If that is the case Fly then the IPL will be the catalyst for a real revolution and not just in a cricketing sense.

  10. Count your blessings, Toots. Even with no cricket and warm lager in a disposable cup Kensington Oval on a freezing Friday is still preferable to an afternoon at the office.

  11. nesta – You are spot on


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