The Betway ambassador heaps praise on the young Indian batsmen who have defined the first week of the IPL.
Venues are making a big difference
I think the quality of the cricket has been really good in the first week of the IPL.
We’re seeing lots of different types of matches and that’s mainly because of the two venues that have been used.
The teams in Mumbai – Punjab Kings, Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals – are the teams that will be happier. They have nicer conditions with the ball coming onto the bat much easier.
The others, in Chennai, are finding it much harder work.
Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad both saw run chases fall flat as the wicket gets slower and more conducive to spin. There is so little to work with even for top batsmen.
It means that innings like Glenn Maxwell’s 50 for RCB against Sunrisers can win you a match, because it’s so difficult for more than two to go well.
Hopefully the pitches in Delhi, where they go next, have more bounce and are more true.
I love watching Sanju Samson
The standard has been set, once again, by the Indian youngsters this week.
I just love Sanju Samson every single year. I’m just in absolute awe of the way he plays his shots and the time that he has to play shots.
His century against the Punjab Kings was absolutely magnificent and he was very unlucky not to get his side over the line.
I talked about it a lot on commentary last year, but it’s all about consistency with Samson. He has a tendency to go missing in the middle of the tournament.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and we don’t want this to be the only innings worth talking about for a few weeks, so we should be wary that he only scored four in Rajasthan’s second match against Delhi Capitals.
His responsibilities are going to another level now that he is the Royals’ captain, though, and he must also cover the hole left by Ben Stokes in that batting line-up.
As captain you start thinking about others as well as yourself, which can go one of two ways. You can lose your basics and go off the boil, but it can also liberate you because you’re not constantly thinking about your own game.
When you don’t think too much about batting, a free spirit like Samson can go out there and just start tonking it everywhere.
It’s yet another reminder that there is no academy in the world like the IPL.
Suryakumar Yadav, Nitish Rana, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, the list goes on and on. I’m so pleased that everybody is realising the importance of the IPL and how much it benefits each and every country.
It’s lost its money tag now. Of course, the players earn their money and they deserve to, but the experience is priceless.
A great shame to lose Ben Stokes
You want the best players playing in the competition, so it’s very disappointing that we have lost Ben Stokes from it before he had the chance to get going.
For him, even though he would want to be playing in this tournament, it may work in his favour. He’s been on the road for a long time now and can rest up ahead of England v India this summer and then the T20 World Cup.
But for Rajasthan, it’s a massive blow. By losing Jofra Archer and now Stokes, their chances have diminished substantially, even though Chris Morris got them over the line on Thursday.
Other players in that set-up are going to have to stand up but I’m not sure I see anybody there who can replace those two long-term. It’s a shame for them.
RCB must keep their eyes on the prize
It’s been a really promising start for RCB. Nicking two wins from close matches is a good sign, but we all know they can’t afford to get carried away.
All Virat Kohli will be thinking about is getting the job done. It’s a long tournament, and they simply have to keep taking those points.
It seems like they’ve worked out some nice combinations in there, and we know how dangerous they can be. It’s a case of focusing on the task in hand for them, because we’ve seen before that things can go wrong at that franchise.
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