Predicting a winner in any Indian Premier League game is so tough this season as it defies all logic. Out of the four games played so far, three have gone to the wire, with the first game being the exception, where Kolkata Knight Riders beat Mumbai Indians easily.
Yes in the first four games all teams chasing have won but let’s take the second game between arch-rivals Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals at the Brabourne Stadium. Mumbai, who batted first, scored 177 which was a par score and, chasing the target, the Capitals were in strife losing early wickets and half their side for only 72 in 10 overs. With the last recognised batting pair — both all-rounders — at the crease it seemed Mumbai had the game in the bag. But that’s when Tim David dropped a sitter and let Axar Patel of the hook in the 16th over and had to pay a very heavy price. Axar and Lalit Yadav hit 24 runs off the 18th over bowled by Daniel Sams and pulled off a coup by upsetting Mumbai with 10 balls to spare.
In the third game at the beautiful DY Patil Stadium at Navi Mumbai, Royal Challengers Bangalore had put up a big total of 205. The wicket was a belter and Punjab are known to choke coming close, and they almost did when they lost their most expensive player Liam Livingstone with 50 still to get. That’s when Anuj Rawat, who had taken a difficult catch earlier, dropped Odean Smith who made them pay by hitting 25 runs off Mohammed Siraj’s 18th over and won Punjab the game.
In the last game at Wankhede, Lucknow Super Giants were 29-4 in five overs where Mohammed Shami was on song and picked up three wickets and it seemed like they would not even reach 100. They managed to get to 158 thanks to Deepak Hooda and young Ayush Badoni. Chasing the target Gujarat Titans were down and out after 15 overs needing 68 of the last five and the win predictor said 85 per cent chance of Lucknow winning. That’s when the tide changed with 22 runs going off Hooda in the 16th over and 17 off Ravi Bishnoi. Rahul Tewatia finished the game for Gujarat with 40 of just 24 balls and turned the game on its head.
Sure, batting second has been an advantage with the dew coming in but in all the above three games, the team chasing have pulled off a heist and taken their side to victory from the jaws of defeat. That’s the thrill of IPL where any team can beat the other team on their day and the game can change in a matter of one over. It keeps you on the edge of a seat like a blockbuster thriller.