The IPL took on a new avatar on day 1 of season 2 as the artistic and classy performers outshone the sledgehammer hitters. There was a complete reversal of fortunes for the bowlers, as they stifled and outwitted one batsman after another to ensure that IPL 2 would not be remembered only for the big hits.
I for one have been proven wrong for the first two matches saw the teams on display dish out intense fare, with canny bowlers like Anil Kumble and Shane Warne putting paid to the lofty designs of their destructive opponents. One hero after another fell as the champion duo bamboozled leaden footed batsmen. The problem for Warne was that Kumble was playing for the opposition and not bowling in tandem with him! Kumble picked up 5 wickets as against 2 for Warne.
In a post match interview, Kumble joked about the fact that he took 5 wickets for 5 runs, 5 months after retiring from international cricket! Defending champs Rajasthan Royals were totally outclassed on the day by the Bangalore Royal Challengers.
Rahul Dravid had a point to prove too as he stroked his way to a classy 66 off only 48 balls. He played like a man possessed, and even hit Munaf Patel for a monstrous six over mid-wicket to show to the world that he is not just a wall, he is a champion!
Sachin Tendulkar had earlier steered Mumbai Indians to a famous win over last year’s finalists Chennai Super Kings. The manner in which he played was just what the doctor ordered for the Mumbai team. Tendulkar stood like a rock as wickets fell about him and in the process he destroyed myths that a batsman has to bludgeon the ball to succeed in a 20-20 match. By carrying his bat he ensured that the team got to a score of over 160, which in South African conditions might prove to be like 200 runs on Indian pitches.
The old guard of Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble and Warne thus stood out on the day. Each an artiste in his own right, they proved once again that form may be temporary but class is surely permanent!