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Indian Premier League 2019

IPL 2019 daily brief: Rishabh Pant might force a retraction from Virat Kohli

by Wisden Staff 3-minute read

The opening day was insipid, but IPL thrills were well and truly back on Sunday, March 24, with the first double-header.

Mumbai Indians, three-time winners, were no match for the new and improved Delhi Capitals, for whom Rishabh Pant hammered a 27-ball 78*. Earlier, David Warner had scored a 53-ball 85 against Kolkata Knight Riders on his IPL comeback. That still wasn’t enough to guarantee victory though: Andre Russell’s belligerent 19-ball 49* took Kolkata through.

What’s hot

Rishabh Pant. His chances of representing India at the World Cup 2019 looked slim before this – he didn’t do well in the auditions, with 93 runs from five ODIs – but Pant just cannot be sidelined.

He was at his unorthodox best, finding different corners of the Wankhede Stadium with his seven sixes and as many fours, and bringing out the helicopter against Jasprit Bumrah. He brought up the third-fastest half-century in IPL history, reaching the mark off 18 balls, and if he keeps this up, Virat Kohli, the India captain, will soon have to issue a retraction on his statement that the IPL will play no part in World Cup selection.

On this evidence, it really should.

What’s not

Four-hour T20 matches. It’s just too much. Both matches fell just short of the four-hour mark – the Hyderabad-Kolkata match had a floodlight failure to blame for that – and by the time the post-match presentation ceremony was done with in the Mumbai-Delhi game, it was well past midnight.

But that’s the issue, isn’t it? Each team has one strategic time-out for each innings. And it’s compulsory they use it, meaning 10 minutes of an IPL match is eaten up by something that, at most times, kills the momentum. What’s the value it adds? More time for ads on TV, which is fine, all considered – the IPL is a cash cow, and it must be fed.

However, time must then be used more efficiently. Perhaps introduce a timer? Or anything else really. The IPL management last year pondered advancing the start-times of these matches. It is time to revisit that thought.

Or maybe The Hundred is on to something.

What they said

“When the time comes, I will be the first one to hang up my boots.”

– Yuvraj Singh scored a 35-ball 53 against Delhi – his first IPL half-century in two years –
but it still wasn’t enough to get the retirement monkey off his back.

What they didn’t say

“I knew one day … you’d come.”

– Nobody, after seeing David Warner sport a beard on his comeback.

What’s next

On to the third day of IPL 2019, and there are still two teams yet to start things off. Will Kings XI Punjab underwhelm as usual? Or will they, like traditional fellow-laggards Delhi, get one over Rajasthan Royals?

Royals have a nice contingent of England players (and potential England players) to keep an eye on: Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Liam Livingstone and, of course, Jofra Archer.

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