There’s nothing worse than a joke that goes too far. We used to pinch the milk from the neighbour’s doorstep for a laugh. Then we moved on to stealing their post, again just for a laugh. After that it was barely six months before we were kicking their door down, beating them into unconsciousness and taking their plasma TV. Explaining that one to the police was a lot of fun.
Watching the 2012 IPL also started out as a bit of a laugh. For the first week or so the afterglow of Katy Perry’s fine
tits performance in the opening ceremony was enough to keep us watching so-called international stars running themselves out. After the first fifteen games or so though, things started to turn nasty. Did we really have to sit through 80 overs a night of second-rate Australians (Dan Christian: we mean you) and commentary that makes you want to smash a pint of milk across someone’s face?
The answer was yes. No matter how much we begged and pleaded, the powers that be (or Steve, as he’s otherwise known) refused to relent. We’d promised both our readers that we’d watch it so that they didn’t have to. We probably should have checked how many games there were before we made that promise – apparently it’s 76. Seventy-six! To put that into context, the grownup cricketing nations played just 42 T20 games between themselves in the entirety of 2011. We’ve made a huge mistake.
So what did we learn from the last few days of T20 shenaningans? Firstly, the wheels seem to have fallen off the Pune bandwagon. Following a decent start (two wins in the first three games) things haven’t gone exactly to plan with just a single win in the next three. While there are several reasons for this, the main one must be not picking Luke Wright. What’s the point in signing the greatest batsman in the history of the KFC Big Bash and then not using him? It’s like buying a massive bucket of KFC and leaving it on a bench, while snacking on lower quality chicken instead. Madness.
Pune’s one win was a good one though, chasing down the Marlboro Super Kings’ 155/5 with four balls to spare, thanks to 44* from 22 balls from Steve Smith. Jesse Ryder also made 73* but looked utterly shattered by the end of the innings. While we can hardly lecture anyone on fitness – the only time we’ve got off the sofa in the past six months has been to go and steal stuff – Ryder’s physique is ridiculous for a supposed top-level sportsman. He keeps getting involved in runouts as well, hardly surprising given that he needs two weeks’ notice to turn around.
Pune’s first defeat of the week (against Royal Challengers Bangalore) was a bit unlucky. Batting first the mighty Warriors made 182/6 but were downed by the hurricane that is Chris Gayle (hurricane/gale – it’s a clever wordplay, do you see?) who had one of those nights, hitting eight sixes, including five in one over. RCB needed 21 from the last over and AB de Villiers delivered in style as Marlon Samuels (1/5 from two overs) was overlooked in favour of Ashish Nehra (1/54 from his four) to bowl it. Once again Steve Smith didn’t roll his golden arm over but Rohit Sharma (0/35 from two) did. More great captaincy from old man Ganguly, who probably can’t make out who the vaguely yellow bloke at cover point is without his glasses.
We don’t really understand how the fixture list works, because Pune found themselves playing the Super Kings again a couple of days later. Pune lost this one but it was a game so utterly devoid of anything interesting that we’ll just move straight on.
Outside of the world of Pune, there were about a million other games that all blur into one big pile of strategic timeouts. Kevin Pietersen made a hundred for Delhi, leading to vast amounts of jealousy amongst batsmen back in county cricket, who all desperately wanted to be dropped three times in their innings. It also took Delhi top of the table, with eight points from their five matches. At the other end it’s played four, lost four for Deccan Chargers. In terms of surprises this ranks pretty low – their bowling attack consists of Dale Steyn plus a bunch of useless piechuckers. At least we’re getting a taster for when South Africa arrive this summer. We particularly enjoyed JP Duminy’s attempts to get KP out by bowling waist-high full tosses. Also, they can’t seem to decide if Cameron White is their captain or a second-rate Australian who doesn’t even deserve a place in the side. We know what the money we pinched from next door is on.
So what next for IPL 2012? More games. Loads more games. It’s like the Ironic Punishment Division bit in The Simpsons where Homer goes to Hell and eats all the doughnuts. By our reckoning there’s only one international match between now and the start of the England vs. West Indies Test series, so we’ll have plenty of chances to live blog some more Pune games. The last one we did was here and included references to Amy Winehouse, Tony Cascarino and Rango Bapuji Dhadphale. Who wouldn’t want to join us for more of that?