As the race for the semi-final spots in the ongoing Champions League Twenty20 gets hotter, the Indian teams participating in the tournament seem to be hitting a new low, with almost all of them staring exits from the multi-million-dollar event.
It’s a real shame that the teams that have enthralled supporters by magnificent play in the Indian Premier League are falling like ninepins in the competition, boasting of the T20 powerhouses of the major cricket-playing nations.
Mumbai, who have five points from four matches, had a brilliant chance to enter the last four. But first a washout against Cape Cobras and then a tame loss to New South Wales on Sunday has jeopardised their chances.
Chennai, although started badly after losing their opening game against Mumbai Indians, came back strongly after Dwayne Bravo's all-round show helped them register a thumping win over the South African Cape Cobras.
But their hope of making to the last four is now hanging by a thread after suffering an unexpected defeat against the buoyant Caribbean side Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday. As a result, they are languishing at the bottom of the Group A points tally with just two points, and a solitary game in hand against the NSW Blues.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, who finished third in the fourth edition of the IPL, too, are finding themselves in the same boat as Chennai. Although they have played one less game to their Indian counterpart, loss in both the matches they have played so far hasn’t helped their cause. They haven't even managed to open their account yet.
Kolkata Knight Riders made a strong comeback after losing their opening two matches. The KKR team ensured that they register wins by big margins in their last two group matches. Resultantly, they have the best net run-rate (+.306) among the four IPL teams, but still only an outside chance to make it to the semis.
All the four IPL teams, despite having the best talent – Indian and overseas – at their disposal, have been unable to rise to the occasion and make their mark in the event. It could well be attributed to their inability to gel as a unit that had led to their downfall.
When players of all the other clubs play together throughout the year, the Indian teams get together just before the start of IPL and the Champions League Twenty20.
This also could be the reason why teams like T&T, despite losing their two most prized possessions – Kieron Pollard to Mumbai Indians and Bravo to CSK – have played better in the competition. It also holds true for New South Wales, whose leader of the bowling attack Doug Bollinger decided to play for the CSK and not for his native side.
The absence of this ‘gelling’ aspect is quite visible on the field for IPL teams, whether it’s running between the wickets or lack of co-ordination in crunch situations. And adding to that are the jaded Indian players, who have come to this tournament after a long, unending season.
Doubts were raised over the success of this tournament right from the time of its inception. Empty stands, low TRPs and dismal show by the Indian teams have only made those doubts get stronger. The sad aspect of it all though remains that we stare at a prospect of none of the teams making it to the last four of this year’s CLT20.