After a long delay, IPL 2020 finally got underway at the end of September, and we’ve now completed the first week.
In typical IPL fashion, it’s been an entertaining week as we’ve had a super over, a major batting collapse and the first century, courtesy of a masterclass innings from KXIP captain, KL Rahul.
This innings would have meant a lot to Rahul, who before the tournament began, was worried about how he would come back after the Covid-enforced lockdown. Having watched this innings, he has nothing to worry about, as he was simply remarkable, leading from the front and carrying his bat to end with the highest score by an Indian in the IPL, 132* off 69.
What can we say about RCB though? Good one game, very poor the next. Captain Virat Kohli is not having the best start to the tournament, registering scores of 14 & 1. He’s also been disappointing in the field, dropping catches that you’d expect a player of his caliber to take.
RCB need to make changes to their playing XI for their third game. My opinion is they need to drop opening bowling duo Dale Steyn and Umesh Yadav, who have been incredibly expensive in the opening two games, and bring in death bowling specialists/all-rounders Chris Morris and Sri Lanka’s Isuru Udana.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians have won one and lost one, and new Proteas limited overs captain, Quinton de Kock is yet to fully show us what he’s capable of, with scores of 33 & 1. What QDK needs to learn is not giving away a good start. Far too often, he squanders a good position and gives his wickets away. He needs to learn to capitalize on a good start.
CSK have some decisions to make ahead of the second week. Having played the most times in the first week, a total of three games, they have only won one, the opening game, which ended their five-match losing streak to Mumbai Indians.
The problem CSK have is in both departments of batting and bowling. Not having enough intent, or steam in their batting, as captain, MS Dhoni pus it, and having weak links in their bowling.
Faf du Plessis has been faftastic, with scores of 58, 72 and 43, and as such, at the end of week 1, he holds the orange cap for his 173 runs at a striking average of 86.50. He has been the rock of the team, and it is therefore absurd that he receives criticism for batting too slowly, as some commentators called it. A change at the top of the order needs to be made.
To make matters worse for MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja became the first spinner to concede over 40 runs in three consecutive IPL games. It is about time Imran Tahir is included in the playing XI. He’s too good a bowler in this format to leave out.
The question of including Tahir means an overseas player misses out. My vote goes for Shane Watson. For all his promise and potential, he is simply not delivering with scores of 4, 33 & 14. If KXIP can leave out the Universe Boss, surely CSK can leave out Watson.
Delhi Capitals have looked the strongest, and most complete team so far, and as a result they top the tables after the first week. One contributing factor to their success has been Kagiso Rabada, who has been spectacular in the IPL thus far, and this is illustrated by the fact he holds the purple cap at the end of the first week, with 5 wickets at an outstanding average of only 10.80, and remember he bowled another brilliant Super Over.
All of us Proteas fans have for so long, been calling for Rabada to be given a break, an honest to goodness long and well-deserved rest. The silver lining to the forced break, is that a player like Rabada, has been given the chance to get exactly this, a well-deserved rest.
While some players have been excelling straight off the bat, like Faf, others like Dale Steyn have yet to find their mark. With six more weeks to go, this can certainly change because as we all know, in the cricket world, one day you’re on top, and the next, you’re not.