Back again here for the second edition of the bi-weekly IPL review, and boy have I made a fool of myself after Monday’s edition!

Bangalore go Bowling!

Actually quite proud of myself for coming up with that sub-heading. See it’s clever because Bangalore went bowling (cricket bowling) and bowling (big ball, bowling alley) at once when they tumbled the Punjab batting order on Monday night.

If you bothered to read my previous piece, I said that anyone could hit a lot of runs at the Indore ground, which is of the size of a small birthday cake. Well, Punjab couldn’t, meaning that just hours after the article went up, my credibility went down. The Kings XI were knocked out for 88 in just 15 overs against Bangalore, who are doing all they can to get to the playoffs and a touch more. Aaron Finch was Punjab’s top scorer with a whopping 26 runs, followed by KL Rahul with 21.

The Royal Challengers chased the low score in just eight overs without losing a single wicket. Virat Kohli was aggressively punching the air after scoring the winning runs as if he had just won Bangalore the IPL itself.

Royal Collapse

Tuesday’s game was almost a playoff to reach the playoffs. Rajasthan was playing Kolkata and after the first six overs, I was elated, jubilant, ecstatic, overjoyed. SIXTY-EIGHT RUNS for the loss of just one wicket for the Royals. After those six overs though, Rajasthan collapsed in such a way that it made the Punjab batting order look world class. In 19 overs (yes, they couldn’t even play out the full 20), RR managed 142 runs. Ajinkya Rahane trying to reverse-sweep the ball right after the first wicket was where the game went wrong for the Royals. Big Jos Buttler still managed to score 39 runs, unsurprisingly being the top scorer in a tin pot batting lineup.

Kolkata won the match in a mere eighteen overs. Ben Stokes, who was playing his last fixture was arguably the best bowler for the Royals as he picked up three wickets in four overs giving only 15 runs.

Ajinkya Rahane’s decisions while batting, and while choosing which bowler to give which over were absolutely horrendous. The man’s overall match was so bad that I had hurled expletives at him in Hindi, English and even Russian. Some fine specimens are given below. Not that you’d understand a lot but the overuse of caps lock signifies my anger in an efficient manner.

Kings eLeven Punjab

The above is what the side from Punjab are now called due to the number of losses they take. KXIP have won ONE of their last seven games meaning that the team who were almost guaranteed a playoff berth are now on track to finishing second last.

Punjab played Mumbai on Wednesday in another knockout-esque match. The winner would still be alive in the tournament while the loser would be, well… alive but only just. Mumbai batted first and posted a good score of 186 courtesy of Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya. Andrew Tye was the star of the bowlers picking up four wickets in his spell. Funnily enough, Tye has the most wickets of any bowler in this IPL.

Just like Tye carries the Punjab bowling, Rahul carries the Punjab batting. The Indian wicket-keeper is the top run-scorer this season and his 94 off 60 in the match almost got his team over the line. KXIP required 17 off 6 to win the game and knock Mumbai out but as usual, they bottled it. Yuvraj Singh played out three balls for a single run and although the following three gave away 11 runs, it wasn’t enough for the win.

Near-Miss

Bangalore was in action on Thursday night against the table toppers Hyderabad and played out one of the best matches in the IPL. The Royal Challengers, who have finally woken up from their banter era it seems put up 218 runs with AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla doppelganger Moeen Ali both accumulating 60+ runs individually. Hyderabad bowler Basil Thampi (not an exotic herb, which I mistook him for at first..) gave away SEVENTY runs in his spell of four overs.

But of course, if there is a bowling line-up that could throw everything away and lose the match it is the Bangalore one. Kane Williamson played a top-notch knock of 81 off just 42 in what was his eighth half-century of the season as Hyderabad lost by a mere 14 runs. Manish Pandey scored 62 off 38 yet was deemed the villain by the Hyderabadis. The North Indian tried to be extra cheeky on four occasions as he attempted to loft-scoop-chip-sweep the ball over the back of the wicketkeeper. If Williamson hadn’t gotten out, Hyderabad would’ve definitely won.

The RCB’s fielding and catching were especially outstanding (sarcastically and non-sarcastically). AB de Villiers jumped a metre high on the boundary and caught Alex Hales out while Colin de Grandhomme missed about three catches that came straight into his hands. Umesh Yadav, Pawan Negi and even captain Virat Kohli had covered their hands in butter it seemed, as all of the three gave away around fifteen runs via misfields.

The Permutations!

For variety, this time I have put an exclamation mark in front of the permutations. The permutations this time around are excited, you see. Basically, five teams are tied on 12 points and one is on 14. Everybody in contention for the playoffs must win themselves and hope for everybody else to lose. Yup, that’s it, world-class analysis here from me, the resident Indian at HFAL.

Anyway, that does it for the IPL coverage for the mid-week games. Next Monday I will be writing again, happily if Rajasthan qualifies and depressed, if they don’t. Till then, you can catch me on Twitter hurling expletives at Ajinkya Rahane.