A day for the underdogs
Today might have been as dramatic as last Sunday was, with 3 super overs on the same day, this weekend was no pushover in terms of entertainment. Especially with both the matches going against the predictions of the pundits, as the laggards on the points table got one over the favourite table toppers. The second match in particular saw RR chase down a mammoth target with relative ease thanks to a master class from Stokes and pure class from Samson. 1. Coming of age for Ben stokes Stokes returns this season once he joined the Rajasthan squad late due to personal reasons was poor and not reflective of the fine cricketer he is. He had scored a mere 110 runs from his 5 innings opening the batting at an average of 22. There were many questions raised about RR’s tactics of persisting with Stokes at the top of the order, when they had their last years match winner at the top Jos Buttler waiting in the dugout. But boy did Stokes answer those critics in style, he was in fluent touch this match against arguably the best bowling line up of this seasons IPL. He took all the MI bowlers to the cleaners and got to his second IPL century, ending up not out on 107 of 60 balls and seeing his team through to an easy victory against the top team in league. 2. The ups and downs of RR batting Rajasthan have been one of the most inconsistent teams this season, especially when it comes to their batting performances. Lots of chopping and changing at the top of the order having tried 6 different players to open the innings, but currently seem to be settling in, and this match performance is one of their complete ones. Form of Sanju Samson is a key for RR’s success, he is without a doubt is one of the most talented players going around, that is proved by his effortless batting and shot making. But he hasn’t always made the best use of his talents, blowing hot and cold throughout the season, and now with a fixed position at no.3, RR will be hoping for more match winning performances from him. Smith’s form is a slight worry, but the two Englishmen’s striking abilities, seem to have given a boost to RR’s batting. 3. Fact check for Mumbai Mumbai Indians have been one of the most consistent teams this season, having won 7 of their 10 games before this match, and coming off the back off a dominant 10 wicket victory against arch enemies CSK, MI were the fan favourites to win this match.But they were given a harsh realty check, especially a match that was lost by their famed bowling line up, after the batsmen, especially Hardik put in a scintillating performance with the bat to take MI to 194 in 20 overs. The strong bowling line up of Bumrah, Boult, Pattison and Rahul chahar were taken to the cleaners by Stokes and Samson, and the fact that almost 200 was chased down with almost 2 overs remaining would have hurt MI’s confidence. But thanks to their superior NRR, they still remain at the top of the table and are pretty much guaranteed of a definite spot in the playoffs. And with Rohit expected back from next match, MI look to bounce back strong. 4. The fight for the top 4 spots This has been one of the most competitive week of cricket in this season IPL, and the points table has really opened up with all the top 3 teams which were looking like they were going to run away with the points, have lost their last matches and could be feeling a little vulnerable.Sadly CSK became the first team to be officially eliminated, even after their victory against RCB earlier in the day, the first time there would be playoffs in which Chennai will be not a part of. But still, all the other 7 teams are in the running for the top 4 spots, with tough competition for the 4th spot, in that context the next match between KKR and KXIP gets great importance, as this is a clash of no.4 vs no.5 in the points table, and the winner, will be in with a real chance of qualification.