|Player:||AB de Villiers, B Lee, A Symonds, MS Dhoni|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2009|
DateLine: 11th May 2009
Every week of the Indian premier League seems to throw up some new thing. Week One in itself was a novelty, an India league in South Africa, something untested, and as it emerged, throwing up interesting equations where the batsmen were not always the bosses.
Week Two saw something all were looking forward to – a batting display, as Abraham Benjamin de Viliers finally broke the 100-mark. At the same time the, even as the teams kept striving for excellence, one side, the Kolkata Knight Riders kept plummeting, so much so that with four weeks to go, the side is already in a chasm of failure, and things are not getting any better.
Week Three saw another landmark, as Rajasthan Royals breached the 200-barrier, Kings XI Punjab being the victims. That score made Rajasthan one of the enigmas of the tournament, since they had begun the tournament with an IPL rock bottom of 58 against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Yet, as Week Three ends, the two teams see fluctuating fortunes. While Rajasthan are now third on the table, while Bangalore are one short of bottom rung, which has become Kolkata’s domain.
The top of the table, on the other hand, has become a fascinating place. Delhi Daredevils never seem to be the team that captures imagination. They don’t have icons in the stands – no movie stars, no musicians, not even a hired band. But they are doing what all else are looking to do – keep winning more than losing.
Consequently, Week Three sees them on top of the list, one point ahead of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan, having played a game less, a happy position to be in. This was a good week for them since they won three games, two against the hapless Kolkata and the third against a struggling Mumbai Indians.
The team of the week however was Chennai. They were unbeatable, and it seems that the uncertainties of the past week have been put to rest as Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his men have found winning form and are beginning to win big, thanks to the batting on top, with Matthew Hayden and Suresh Raina topping the Orange Cap list. Added to the is the new-found early bowling successes of Albie Morkel and also the left-arm spin of Sadab Jakati, making Chennai the formidable unit they always promised to be.
Rajasthan is Shane Warne. The man has again managed to get results from a ragtag combination which defies cricketing logic. He found Kamran Khan initially, and then Amit Singh seems to have come to the party, as have the big Graeme Smith and keeper Naman Ojha.
Deccan Charger are the last team in the top four, and for that they have to blame an unlikely loss to Punjab, the game that also marked the return of Brett Lee, who didn’t really impress with the ball but scored 14 crucial runs to tilt the balance in Punjab’s favour, and keep Deccan at an uncertain place.
As for the rest, Mumbai seem to have lost the plot, while Bangalore’s uncertainties seem to have returned to haunt them.
Punjab remain the side which promises but also pains supporters. They will win incredible games, like they did against Deccan, but also concede unlikely defeats. Yuvraj’s trump card, left-arm seamer Yusuf Abdulla, is beginning to feel the heat of the long tournament, and Lee’s return is a much-needed boon, since it also adds to the late-order batting firepower.
The return of Lee and Andrew Symonds seems to have made immediate impact, though the latter’s contribution didn’t really give Deccan much joy. But he is one man who can change the tournament for them.