IPL Talking Points: The Business End of the Season is Upon Us as Hardik Pandya's Return to Mumbai Indians Doesn't Work Out - Latest Global News

IPL Talking Points: The Business End of the Season is Upon Us as Hardik Pandya’s Return to Mumbai Indians Doesn’t Work Out

Matt Kabir Floyd reflects on the business end of the IPL season as Hardik Pandya’s move from Gujarat Titans to Mumbai Indians isn’t working out for all parties.

And so, after a busy few weeks, we have reached the business end of the IPL. It’s no use racing out of the starting blocks in this tournament only to be overtaken in the final round. T20 may be the shortest international format by far, but the IPL is more of a marathon than a sprint.

Mumbai and Punjab never looked like they would stay the course and Gujarat was eliminated after being in a good position to challenge for the top four.

This was a team that had reached the final in each of its first two years of existence and was beginning to look like it could be on its way to creating the next great IPL dynasty. But Hardik Pandya’s decision to return to Mumbai seemed to weaken the aura around the Titans.

They missed not only his inspiring leadership but also his runs. Strangely, Hardik’s captaincy seemed to weaken the Indians and he even ended up being booed by sections of his own fans, something almost unheard of in India. Rarely has a change worked out so badly for both teams involved!

Gujarat may have relegated, but Rajasthan is the relegation specialist. At least they had enough wins to make the play-offs this year, but their four-game losing streak doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for the knockout rounds.

This has happened a few times in IPL seasons now and it can’t be a coincidence. Lack of depth has to be a major factor – while the Royals’ first XI looks immensely strong, there is a major drop in quality among the replacements. I hope I’m wrong, but I’d be surprised if they turned things around and made it to the finals.

The Sunrisers, on the other hand, seem to have got their mojo back. A slight swing of three defeats in four games was a cause for concern, but Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma’s victory over the Super Giants sent another fearsome message to the rest of the tournament.

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Highlights from IPL as Sunrisers Hyderabad defeated Lucknow Super Giants by 10 wickets, chasing their target of 166 in just 58 balls!

I expect they could even finish in the top two, ahead of the Royals, who face league leaders Calcutta in their final group game. If so, the first qualifying match between the Knight Riders and Sunrisers is sure to be a blockbuster with runs, runs and more runs!

Delhi and Lucknow’s negative net run rate means you can exclude them from the play-offs, leaving us with the Royal Challengers and Super Kings. And guess what? They play against each other on Saturday. It will be a real winner’s race at Chinnaswamy, a stadium with arguably the best atmosphere in the competition, and you won’t want to miss it.

IPL bids farewell to England’s T20 World Cup players

Sadly, we say goodbye to England’s T20 World Cup players who are done and dusted in the IPL. It was a funny old tournament for them.

Lots of low points but also some huge highs, namely four centuries scored by English players, the most ever in a season.

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Phil Salt showed what he can do against Delhi Capitals as he hit five sixes in a comfortable IPL win for Kolkata Knight Riders

Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow and Will Jacks showed that on their day they are as destructive as any batsman in the world, while Phil Salt was the most consistent of them all.

Sam Curran continued his extensive rehabilitation, Moeen Ali was underused and Liam Livingstone was too weak before picking up an injury.

But think about Reece Topley – he had to bowl on one of the flattest decks in the smallest stadium, in a year when batters were going wild like never before. Cheer up Reece, hopefully things will be a little easier for the bowlers at the World Cup!

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