The 12th season of Vivo IPL is positioned more as a curtain-raiser to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. The simmering heat in India is optimal for players to test their endurance. With many cricket boards announcing their ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 squad during the Vivo IPL, the stakes for players to perform couldn’t have been higher. The intensity and the competitive nature of the Vivo IPL has touched a new mark this season. Yuvraj Singh went blue with Mumbai Indians while Rajasthan Royals let go off blue to don the pink jerseys. Delhi Daredevils, just one of the 3 teams to have not won the league yet, decided to go as Delhi Capitals.
The centre stage for this year’s Vivo IPL was not occupied by the likes of Virat Kohli’s, Rohit Sharma’s or the MS Dhoni’s. All eyes were on the duo of Steven Smith and David Warner, who were making a comeback after a one-year ban. While Steve Smith is yet to come to his usual best for Rajasthan Royals, David Warner has set the Vivo IPL on fire. David Warner, along with Jonny Bairstow, has broken the record for the highest opening partnership in the Vivo IPL. The opening pair of Sunrisers Hyderabad notched 185 runs together, beating the previously held record by Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn by one run. David Warner is the holder of the Orange Cap, for someone who was away from international cricket for a year, this is no mean feat.
T20 cricket is all about reputation. Teams strive to find a mix of power hitters and death-bowlers. Kolkata Knight Riders have found the best amongst the lot. Andre Russel has come of his own in this year’s Vivo IPL, taking much limelight away from the Universal Boss, Chris Gayle. While the West Indies boys, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, have provided some moments of brilliance, Dre Rus has surely led the way. The West Indies dominance on the IPL blitz is challenged by the English boys. In Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively have found the ideal openers. The latter registering his maiden Vivo IPL century in the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Talking about RCB, it is proving to be a disaster season. Virat Kohli is finding it really difficult to find the right combination or rather a winning combination. Someone who can sympathize but not empathize with him is MS Dhoni. Chennai Super Kings have played flawless cricket and on occasions when there are chinks in the armour, Dhoni is up for the repairs. There is still quite some time left in the league. Will we have a new hero being born or the usual suspects continue their dominance, remains to be seen.
The real strength of character in this year’s Vivo IPL has been displayed by the bails. On multiple occasions, the bails have refused to be dislodged despite been hit by the ball. Cricket is a funny game, for sure. It gets funnier as we take into account a few umpiring blunders that have been a difference between winning and losing. The fact that MS Dhoni had to walk to the field from the dugout to confront an umpiring mishap, speaks volume. As the league progresses we hope these bloopers become a thing of the past.