|Player:||A Flintoff, KP Pietersen, Kamran Khan, RS Dravid, RP Singh, AB de Villiers|
|Event:||Indian Premier League 2009|
DateLine: 27th April 2009
Its party time for D Company, as Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils ended Week One of the second edition of the Indian Premier League with spotless records and six points apiece. The latter were stretched, and should really have lost at least one game. But the Hyderabad team looks unstoppable at the moment.
The first week saw it all. Beginning sedately, despite the fireworks and razzmatazz of the opening ceremony at Cape Town, the tournament began to gather momentum towards the end of the week.
But it also had its damp squibs, literally, as Cape Town and Durban both saw rain creating havoc with several games, brining in Duckworth Lewis, and also abandonment of two matches, forcing teams to spilt points. Kings XI Punjab were at the wrong end of two such matches, but to the credit of Yuvraj Singh and his boys, they rallied splendidly.
But in terms of what all could be included in a week, we had it all. We had the first century of the tournament, which was not really expected since the pitches offered much more to the bowlers than the last time around. But A.B de Villiers made his mark as one of the best in the business with an incredible unbeaten 105 off just 54 deliveries against Chennai Super Kings, in what culminated as the best match of the tournament so far, the Delhi team staving off a late challenge to win by nine runs.
But that was not the closest match by a country mile. That honour went to the Rajasthan Royals-Kolkata Knight Riders contest.
Sourav Ganguly scored a virtual 13 runs off one delivery (six off a no-ball and then six off the following free-hit) to bring KKR rushing back into the game at a stage when all seemed lost. But the former skipper just failed to guide his team home and a tie saw the first use of the Super Over in IPL.
Chris Gayle would have thought that 15 runs off the Super Over bowled by Kamran Khan would be enough but Yusuf Pathan made a mockery of the challenge, battering Ajantha Mendis for 18 off just four deliveries.
The week also saw some quite fine performances from the people ‘too old’ for Twenty20 cricket. Rahul Dravid led the pack with fine half-centuries in the first two games, while Anil Kumble boasted figures of 5/5 after the first game. Ganguly showed his cricketing brain in a losing cause while Sachin Tendulkar seemed to strike it rich on request.
Among the imports, the old firm of left-handers – Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Sanath Jayasuriya – were as formidable as always.
But at the end of the day, it was the younger lot who made a real mark. De Villiers was sensational, in the field as well as with the bat, Kamran Khan became the talk of the town and Rudra Pratap Singh was the unlikely bowling hero.
At the same time, the Big Two, worth $1.55 million each, were a serious disappointment. It doesn’t look like captaincy agrees with Kevin Pietersen, while Andrew Flintoff was unimpressive, ultimately limping out of the running, cutting even shorter his truncated IPL sojourn.