What a terrifically boring match between Chennai and Mumbai. It had all the essentials of T20 cricket: few sixes (or DLF Maximums, I should say), lots of singles, ordinary bowling, and best of all, a lethargic crowd. The biggest cheer was for Duminy, but apart from that, it hardly felt INCREDIBLY ENTHUSIASTIC. It's not India, so it's the best we could expect.
More important news:
WTF WHERE IS ALBIE?
Okay, I won't say it doesn't make sense to have Albie rested for this one match and new internationals brought in. After all, he did only play an ODI the night before, and Chennai had plenty to draw on. But I was surprised. I was actually expecting to see him in the line-up. No fear, because later on, we were treated to a scary sight of Lalit Modi spending perhaps half an hour on the grass next to Albie's chair, talking to him. What was this about? I was entirely confounded as to what they could be talking about. I asked my viewing friend, however, and they suggested that Modi was asking Albie about South Africa. That made a lot of sense, actually. Of course Modi would want to find out from a local where the best strip club in the district was.
One HD's coverage and "Shuk Rah Khan"
Forget the Chennai vs. Mumbai match, this was the real torture of the night for Australian viewers. We were treated to a particularly mindnumbing pair hosting the coverage of the IPL, Anthony Hudson and Ryan Campbell. What an AFL commentator is doing covering the IPL two years in a row now is beyond me. Then there's Ryan Campbell. Retired WA cricketer, need I say more? Okay, I will. He's an idiot.
We were constantly cut away from the live coverage of the IPL to listen to Hudson and Campbell banter on for a bit about the game, and at times, try their hand at commentating. Hudson repeatedly turned to Campbell for seemingly expert advice. When Ryan Campbell is giving you expert advice, you know something's wrong. He came out with comments such as "Something in my waters is saying Mumbai will win." and even said that he'd be backing Kolkata Knight Riders this year because he just "loves their owner, Shuk Rah Khan." Now, I'm no Bollywood buff, but even I can tell you that is clearly incorrect. I also find it hard to believe Campbell could just "love this guy" when he doesn't even know his name. Worse still, every time Campbell said "Shuk Rah Khan", Anthony Hudson seemed to make a face, but I'm baffled as to why Ryan Campbell has now gone two years saying Shuk Rah Khan on live television repeatedly, and no one has thought to correct him. When he does find out, it'll be embarrassing beyond belief.
In addition to this, the expert Ryan Campbell seems to think "tactical time-outs" have been put in place because teams have slow over rates, and that the intention of the time-out is to "stop the game and have a chat" with the players about slow over rates. WTF? Incompetent idiot. Apart from the fact there is no logic behind this whatsoever, it's disgusting that we're expected to take him seriously. I'd sooner take AB de Villiers and his faith in God seriously.
When you'd desperately rather listen to the awkward commentating pair of Mark Nicholas and Ravi Shastri, you know something's wrong.
Dog of the Match
A true star. Our Lassie of of the night deserved the Man of the Match award. I've never seen more athleticism before. A 10 or so minute break involved the players following the dog around the field, and dozens of security officials flooding the field. At one stage, Jacob Oram thought he had it, but the dog just wheeled around and trotted back towards the middle. Manpreet Gony tried tempting the dog with a cricket ball, but apparently it's been brought up on gourmet dog food its entire life, so cricket balls won't do. That's when a woman had the sense to bring a sandwich onto the field. Tough luck, because Doggie was going nowhere. The only dives on that field during that match were to catch dogs, not balls. Even extra players from both teams wandered back onto the field to observe the spectacle.
Jrod has a video of the dog up, but I found a longer one up on YouTube which goes through a lot of the dog's tenure as a cricket player:
Citi Moments of Success
I almost understand DLF Maximums, but rechristening every single "moment of success" as a Citi Moment of Success is becoming grating. I'm sick of it. The commentators don't even seem to know what exactly qualifies for being a Citi Moment of Success. "Is that a Citi Moment of Success... Yes, I think so... Perhaps not."
Bangalore vs. Rajasthan
The more interesting match of the night. Rather inexplicably, I found myself going for Bangalore, somewhere in the middle of their disastrous first over. When Jesse Ryder waddled off the field (okay, I made a fat joke. So sue me) and Ross Taylor moved across his stumped, both wickets being accredited to Dimitri Mascarenhas, things were looking pretty shit for the Royal Challengers.
KP came out a lot sooner than he'd probably expected, and was gifted with a massive boo from the crowd. Perhaps any other player and they'd have let this get to them a little, but not KP. With a calm "Fuck you" attitude, he took to the ball and confidently hit 32 off 30 balls. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want to see more of KP, especially if he does everything in his power to piss off the crowds. Oh the entertainment.
Then came Dravid. There's a reason everyone should still love this guy. Top act, classy performance, literally saved the match for Bangalore with his 66 off 48 balls at a strike rate of 137. Yeah, that's right. 137. Who said he wasn't suited to this form of the game? Dravid even had a little "fuck you" moment when he pointed to the dressing rooms following his half century. You know, I'm still not convinced he's a top T20 performer, but Dravid is the most effortless hitter of the ball. He deserved his MoM for taking his team from disaster to success. The Bangalore bowlers did a lot later on too.
Warnie. You know it, this guy's still ripping up the best balls in matches. Goddamn, some of his deliveries tonight were beautiful, and he shook off the rust of not having played for a year or so and took 2 wickets for 18. He was hit for one six. Really good stuff from Warne, the flight on his deliveries was amazing at times.
Bangalore's bowlers were brilliant. They'd set a target of 134, and they restricted extremely well early on. At one stage, half of Rajasthan's runs were derived from extras. Dale Steyn gave away a million wides, but he hadn't had the best preparation for the game following the ODI the previous night, so all is forgiven. Praveen Kumar was also a standout, picking up Graeme Smith and Asnodkar's wickets when it mattered most.
By the time Kumble came around, I was delirious, I won't reveal from what. So when he took those 5 wickets for 5, I wasn't sure whether I was imagining it. When I did hop off to sleep, I still didn't quite believe the 58 all out. A quick check this morning and yes, RR had collapsed for that much. Hilarious.
I did check on KP's hugging in the match. He does seem quite eager to get touchy-feely with the other players. First he comes in for the kill, a hug or a pat on the back. Then he backs away for a moment and eyes the player up a little, before eventually coming back in for another hug. So there you go.