Spice up your life

 Wahey! We’re at the ‘business end’ of this season’s IPL and almost everyone in India, no matter how poor or rich, educated or uneducated has turned into a master analyst and statistician calculating the effect of every ball on every team. Although it is getting annoying at this point, it’s been 10 years since this started, so we Indians are used to it.

Anyways, being the lazy sod that I am, I decided it’s worthless to calculate everything, and thought it’d be much better to just take the given information and write a bi-weekly column on a cricket site. So here goes, the first-weekend review of the IPL 2018!

Buttler’s on a mad one

Friday’s match saw the fan favourite, MS Dhoni-led Chennai take on my team, the Rajasthan Royals. The lads at school always take the piss out of me for supporting them, but then again the people here are as loyal to their IPL teams as a chameleon’s skin colour is to himself.

Anyway, the Super Kings put up a respectable total of a 176 in twenty overs and the Chennai faithful had already started passive-aggressively messaging me and ridiculing me for my loyalty towards the Royals. I couldn’t blame them in all honesty, the one-off pink kit Rajasthan were donning looked like someone had played Holi while wearing it and then stuck on some stickers on it. It was tragic.

I still had the last laugh though, as the best thing to come out of England, Jos Buttler got his fourth straight half-century and led the Royals to victory. Apart from the lad’s sublime 95 runs, the next highest scorer was Stuart Binny, who amassed a colossal 22 in 17 balls. Binny, now 33 years of age got called ‘one of the younger Rajasthan players’ by a commentator during the game, fact: He’s literally the oldest.

Buttler’s world-class innings meant that Rajasthan was still in the chase for the playoffs along with Kolkata, Mumbai and Punjab.

Batsman’s Game

Saturday saw two games, and I still can’t figure out which of the four innings featured the worst bowling. The first one, between Punjab and Kolkata, took place in my city at 4 in the evening. I would’ve gone to watch it but I chickened out because it was 45 Celsius outside. The Holkar Stadium, tinier than a school ground saw a total of 459 runs hit across both the innings.

Spinner-turned-opening batsman Sunil Narine was the top scorer for Kolkata, as he hit 75 runs off 39 balls. Captain Dinesh Karthik, relevant for hitting one six against Bangladesh got a half-century as well, and the KKR made a massive 245 at the loss of six wickets.

What was funny was Kolkata almost bottled it too. The cricketing equivalent of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Chris Gayle) and K.L Rahul gave Punjab a good start, just for the middle order to spoil everything, as usual. Captain Ravichandran Ashwin tried to replicate Sunil Narine and scarily enough, somehow did by scoring 45 runs in just 22 balls. Aaron Finch’s good innings after successive golden ducks earlier in the season were enough evidence that even Stevie Wonder could hit a few sixes on the pitch. Punjab lost by just 31 runs in the end.

Banter Clubs, IPL Edition

Saturday’s second game saw both of the IPL clubs going through a banter era face off. Delhi and Bangalore, who have already been knocked out took part in a true ‘dead-rubber’ game. Delhi scored 181 runs in a rather eventful inning that saw Shreyas Iyer play a test inning, perhaps to prove to the BCCI that he is desperate to play in the white kit. Unfortunately for little Shreyas, it was the wrong format.

Newcomer and the winner of the ‘Most Generic Name’ award Abhishek Sharma scored 46 in just 19 balls, taking full advantage of the RCB’s tragic bowling lineup.

Bangalore chased the total down easily courtesy of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers both making 70+ runs. Rishabh Pant is now on suicide watch as his team have bottled two successive matches despite him alone scoring 189 runs.

Super Sunday

Sunday’s first game saw the IPL’s Retirement Home Chennai take on the cricketing equivalent of Atletico Madrid, Hyderabad. The Sunrisers who have successfully defended scores as low as a 118 and 133 failed to defend 179. Dhawan and Williamson, basically Hyderabad’s entire batting lineup alone amassed a hundred and thirty.

Ambati Rayudu’s century and Shane Watson’s half-century propelled Chennai to a victory. Given the pair’s horrific form in previous seasons, it felt like the game was taking place in 2013.

Buttler’s on a mad one, Part II

Sunday’s night game was one I was absolutely buzzing for. It was my team, now renamed Jos Buttler Cricket Club taking on the Match Fixers of Mumbai (Ambani lad if you’re seeing this, please don’t send your private army to kill me it’s just a joke xx).

Due to their notorious reputation of fixing matches in the past, I had some lovely excuses prepared for when Rajasthan lost the game. In fact, I had already tweeted out about how I felt the game was fixed when Unadkat gave away 17 runs in three balls. The second best thing to come out of England called the cricketing Raheem Sterling due to his bowling speed by many (me, just me), Jofra Archer was brilliant once again as he gave only sixteen runs in four overs, picking up two wickets in the process. Jamie Anderson was reportedly becoming increasingly insecure about his legacy as the overs went by.

Rajasthan chased the total of a 169 down in just 18 overs as Jos Buttler made another 90+ score and Ajinkya Rahane did his bit, although at the speed of a snail.

The Permutations

As of now, Hyderabad and Chennai are through to the playoffs and Bangalore and Delhi might as well be through to the airport off on their holidays. Punjab, Rajasthan and Kolkata are all tied on 12 points, vying for the 3rd and 4th playoff spot. Mumbai Indians are also very much in the running, but no one wants them through except the pretentious and bourgeoisie people of Mumbai.

That finally brings us to the end of this weekend’s review, and I’ll be back later this week for more. Till then, you can catch me on Twitter talking about how Mumbai fix matches and comparing cricket teams to football teams.