Season III of the IPL is now half-way through and Mumbai Indians are on top, and that gives me a good feeling. After average displays over the last two seasons it is nice to see us heading the chart and inching closer to a semi-final berth. This does not mean we will take things easy: rather we will be wanting a win every time we go out into the middle as there are other very good teams snapping at our heels.
Just behind us are last year's runners-up Bangalore Royal Challengers, and they seem to have taken up where they left off last year. They are led by the very experienced, and ever-wily, Anil Kumble, and he has players like Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn, and a talented bunch of youngsters like Robin Uthappa, Virat Kohli, Manish Pandey and Vinay Kumar at his disposal.
Next are Rajasthan Royals, who started off poorly, but have now won four matches on the trot. One has to attribute this to Shane Warne, who I think is a really a master strategist. He really backs his boys and makes them believe in themselves. Rajasthan look to be on a roll right now and seem to getting back into the groove that made them champions in Season One.
The Delhi Daredevils are having an up and down season, but Monday night's win over Kolkata and the way David Warner and Collingwood played must have given them a great boost. Four of their players are in the Indian World T20 side and that says a lot about how strong a side they are.
Defending Champions Deccan Chargers are also having a rocky time but any side that has the likes of Gilchrist, Gibbs, Symonds, VVS, Rohit Sharma and Chaminda Vaas in it can never be ruled out at any stage. Their batting line-up is their strength and when it clicks, there is no stopping them.
The Kolkata Knight Riders may not have been on the right side of a few games, but they did get off to a good start by beating Deccan in the inaugural match of this season. Sourav Ganguly leads a great line-up that includes big-hitters Chris Gayle, David Hussey, Brad Hodge, and Manoj Tiwary, and bowlers like Shane Bond, and it will take just one good win for them to get back on track.
Season One runners-up Chennai Super Kings and Kings XI Punjab occupy the last two spots on the table, and I must say that seeing Dhoni's side there is a bit of a surprise to me. It's not that they have been playing poorly, it's just that they have not been able to push themselves that little bit to get over the line, Hayden's Mongoose notwithstanding. They have been on a downward spiral since the Super Over loss to Punjab and will be looking to get back to winning ways on Wednesday when they take on Bangalore at home.
One would have thought that winning that Super Over would have given Punjab the shot in the arm they needed, but things don't seem to be going to well for them at the moment, and I really do feel for my Sri Lanka teammate Sangakkara.
Twenty20 is a funny game, one good or bad game can make a difference to a team's fortunes. That's why I hope that Mumbai can keep our momentum going and make it all the way. (Gameplan)