POINTS TABLE | FIXTURES
This IPL could be different. The signs are there. Teams have been literally stubborn about their plans to chase and things have backfired. Saturday’s game between Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings could set the marker for the second half of the tournament. CSK, under master tactician MS Dhoni, have played the game of numbers to near perfection over the years. But rarely did they find themselves in such a precarious situation in the race for a playoff spot.
Capitals coach Ricky Ponting, for one, is past the obsession with chasing.
“We all felt when we came here that maybe for the first half of the tournament, chasing might’ve been easier because of the bit of dew and also because of the little bit of more grass on the wickets – because we thought they’re going to preserve the wickets a little bit for the back half of the tournament, but chasing has been hard right from the start,” Ponting said on Friday.
“The pitches have noticeably started to slow down a little bit – I think even the RR game with them not managing to chase 160 on these grounds (proved that). I think all the games we’ve won, we’ve actually won batting first. So I think that will continually get a bit tougher to bat on,” Ponting put things into perspective.
Capitals have been one of the more clinical teams in the tournament. That they are leading the table is a testimony to their approach. Ponting had harped on preserving the players upfront and then going hard as the tournament goes into the business end.
“One thing I’ve been telling the boys right from the start of this tournament is that I want us playing our best cricket in the back half of the tournament, not necessarily in the front-half of the tournament. I told the boys I just want to keep them switched on for another week – we have got to keep pushing hard for these next couple of games – We’ve got CSK and then KXIP.”
That will be a major hurdle for an ageing CSK team as they strive hard to revive their campaign.
They have a bunch of young, strong and ambitious cricketers to contend with. The only thing really going CSK’s way is the tiring pitches. Slow pitches have always been their strength.