What a smashing start to IPL2! What a day!! Two games, two big upsets!!! Perhaps, no one anticipated such a start to the Indian Premier League 2009, which kicked off in South Africa today!
In the first game, Mumbai Indians, led by Sachin Tendulkar, defeated last year's runners-up Chennai Super Kings by 19 runs. In the next game, last year's winners, Shane Warne led Rajasthan Royals were thrashed by 75 runs, besides suffering the humiliation of recording the lowest total -- 58 -- in the competition's history!
Standout performers -- the old guards of Indian cricket -- Sachin Tendulkar in the first game, and Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble in the second! Kumble's was a class act!
Lessons from day 1 of the second edition of the IPL are stark:
* Big hits won't be that easy!
* Bowlers will have some impact due to the conditions in South Africa!
* Teams need to develop some serious batting strategies -- some of the shot selections were pretty awful!
* Good, solid batting techniques are now going to play a key role in South Africa -- a point evident by the way Tendulkar and Dravid batted in their respective innings!
* Good old fashioned line-and-length bowling could be the key -- just look at the way Anil Kumble, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Lasit Malinga, Jesse Ryder, Joginder Sharma, Dmitri Mascarenhas and Zaheer Khan bowled today! Harbhajan Singh, too!
* Cricket lovers should not expect very tall scores in every game.
* Power scores could well be in the realm of 140-150, especially during night games, where the ball could do something extra!
* Oh yes, batters, you need to adjust to the 'spungy bounce' of South African wickets!
The way Anil Kumble cleaned up wickets, the zip with which Shane Warne bowled and the manner in which Matthew Hayden was shaping up indicates that there is no substitute for experience in cricket.
In the middle of all of this blitz by experienced hands, Abhishek Nayar played a super cameo, smashing Andrew Flintoff for three sixes in an over! Can't get better than this!
There are lots of games to be played, lots of stars to be unveiled. One bad start does not mean teams going down early cannot bounce back!
Watch IPL II for free on the Internet
Finally, for those who wish to watch IPL for free on the Internet, my friend, Abhigna, reported that Microsoft India, in association with IPL, unveiled an online IPL viewing experience on the official website of IPL, promoted by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Happy watching!