Kolkata v. Mumbai
Star among stars... Sanath Jayasuriya (Mumbai Indians)
All in all, this was a great game for Outside the Line, with two of our favourites -- Jayasuriya and Dwayne Bravo -- competing for Star honours, while one of our greatest nemeses stinks up the joint and gets his second consecutive Old-timer prize (see below). It was hard to pick between Jayasuriya and Bravo, but since the former took a good running catch -- much harder than the commentators made it seem at the time -- to top off his 3 wickets, he gets the nod this time.
Old-timer on an egg-timer... Ricky Ponting (Kolkata K'Riders)
One thing we've often wondered during Australia's reign was what would happen if you put one of their players in a floundering, dysfunctional team. So, for example, what would Ricky Ponting's career have looked like had he been born in Lahore, rather than Launceston, and was forced to play for Pakistan? Today's innings was a good illustration. At the crease, he looked awkward and out-of-touch, showing bad body language, trying to stay alive while watching his teammates dropping like flies by continually hitting it straight to a fielder... and in the end, he gets run out by Mohammad Hafeez. A fitting end to a thoroughly forgettable IPL season by Punter.
Catch from the catchment... Laxmi Shukla (Kolkata K'Riders)
The one shining light in a shocking team performance by the Riders, who are suddenly looking mighty frail and are staring at a future without their ANZAC contingent. This might be the point in the movie when Veronica needs to come into the Madison compound and kick some sense into a drunken Billy by the pool. (You didn't honestly think I'd let go of the Adam Sandler metaphor so soon, did you?)
3 Bullets to the head...
- Umar Gul is still not playing?! Did he contract Hepatitis or something? Does he need to be quarantined from the rest of the squad? What's going on?
- I know it's early days still, and they've only won once, but in the aftermath of Harbhajan's ban, Mumbai are already looking like strong contenders to benefit from the Ewing theory. For those who don't know, the Ewing theory, popularised by ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, refers to teams who lose their star player and are expected to struggle, but end up unexpectedly coming back stronger and winning more than they ever did while the star was around. It was named after Patrick Ewing, the New York Knicks center and franchise cornerstone, who never made it past the Conference Finals in the NBA, only to watch the depleted Knicks make it all the way to the Grand Finals the year after he left.