IPL 2010 – At the halfway mark – Perhaps the worst season yet for the Sri Lankans

If week one was nothing to write home about, then at the halfway stage most Sri Lankan fans have tuned off. The Sri Lankan players at the Indian Premier League have been miserable to say the least.

Here is the Sri Lankan report card at the halfway stage of the 2010 Indian Premier League.

Sanath Jayasuriya

Rumours are rife that the politician is back in Sri Lanka leaving the Mumbai Indians smack dead in the middle of the season. The Matara Mauler was not selected to play after failing in the Indian’s first three matches. Mumbai clearly have not been impressed with Jayasuriya’s average of 10.66 and a best of 23 runs, or his two wickets for 52 runs in seven overs.

The IPL is likely over for Jayasuriya. With his contract up for renewal at the end of this season and unless a franchise wants to pick him up for another three years, which means he would be 43 years old, Jayasuriya’s Indian Premier League is over for good.

Angelo Mathews

Although he showed great promise in the first week, Mathews’ performance has also been very low key. For a player of his talent and ability, Angelo would be disappointed that he hasn’t made better use of the opportunities that have come his way. He ended week-one with a batting average of 71.00 but that has now fallen to 24.20. After eight matches Mathews has scored 121 runs at a strike rate of 127.36. Although according to his own ability he may appear to have underperformed, for a batting all-rounder who has 8 wickets with an economy rate of 7.23, he has performed better than some who earn three times as much.

Chaminda Vaas

Vaasy has been unlucky. Skipper Gilchrist and coach Lehmann left him out of the Deccan Chargers’ last two matches, opting instead for the express pace of Kemar Roach. The move backfired for the team from Hyderabad. Roach has been taken for 80 runs in his two matches by the opposition batsmen. Vaas may soon be back in the midst of the action, but having missed two matches he dropped from being the tournament’s second highest wicket taker to 8th place.

Lasith Malinga

Malinga’s mix of slower balls, slow bouncers, slower ball yorkers, fast yorkers, and his slingy action have wrecked havoc. Photo: © Charlotte Foster.

Lasith Malinga

Much has been written and said about Lasith Malinga over the last week. Some argue that he is mismanaged by SLC and made to look an ordinary bowler under Sangakkara’s captaincy. Whatever the case maybe Sachin Tendulkar thinks he has been "phenomenal."

When the whole stadium chants, "Malinga Malinga," you know he has to be doing something out of the ordinary. And out of the ordinary it is! Malinga’s mix of slower balls, slow bouncers, slower ball yorkers, fast yorkers, and his slingy action have wrecked havoc. After match-30 Malinga is the tournament’s third highest wicket taker and one of the success stories of this year’s IPL. At the halfway stage Malinga has 10/172 in 7 games at an economy rate of 6.70. His 4/22 against Kings XI Punjab is only the third four-wicket haul this season.

Kumar Sangakakra

The misery continues for KS. After being fined thousands of dollars for his team’s slow over rate, the Sri Lankan skipper was banned for one game for the same offence and sat out Punjab’s last match. His captaincy is under immense scrutiny with both the media and the fans picking holes at his every move. Sangakkara has perhaps never experienced such pressure in his entire career as an international player.

The smooth talker that he usually is, it isn’t long before he has everyone agreeing with him, but this time it’s different. He hasn’t been able to let his bat do the talking, nor has his side been able to cushion his miserable run with the bat with victories under their belt. The Punjabi side led by the Sri Lankan skipper have lost six games from their seven. Five of those losses came under Sangakkara’s leadership.

KS has a highest score of 30 and averages 18.20 from five innings. If one recalls, he managed just one half century in five innings for Kandurata in the recently concluded BOC Inter-Provincial T20 Tournament in Sri Lanka. As  the ICC World Twenty20 fast approaches, Sangakkara’s poor form will be a worry for Sri Lanka.

Mahela Jayawardena

Mahela was fuming when Shaun Marsh ran him out in match – 27 against Mumbai. It was clear that Jayawardene desperately wanted runs next to his name and with his most ardent fan, his wife, sitting in the stands the ‘stand-in’ skipper wanted badly to be King that night. But it wasn’t to be.

Jayawardene had a brilliant inter-provincial tournament, where he scored 293 runs at an average of 48.83, but the IPL hasn’t seen the same brilliance. He has only managed to average 17.00  for Punjab XI after 7 games.

Farveez Maharoof

Maha missed a couple of games this week as Delhi shuffled their line up in hopes of finding the perfect combination. He was later included for their crucial encounter against Rajasthan where he picked up his best bowling performance this season (2/13). At the halfway stage Maharoof has 7 wickets having conceded 129 runs with an expensive economy rate of 8.80. Batting for Delhi in the lower middle order, he has also scored 29 runs from two innings.

Tillakaratne Dilshan

I wondered last week if Dilshan’s purple patch had ended. There is a chance that we may not find out at this year’s IPL. Just as in South Africa, in the 2009 edition of the DLF-IPL where the Daredevils left Australian legend Glenn Mcgrath on the bench for much of the competition, Delhi’s mantra is loud and clear; they care not for reputation. If the results aren’t there you won’t be playing. It’s as simple as that for Dilshan.

After scoring 32 runs in four matches, which equates to a batting average of 8.00, Dilshan has been dropped from the Delhi side and at the halfway stage he has played no part in Delhi’s success. It is unclear of Dilshan will be picked for any of Delhi’s remaining six matches.

Muttiah muralitharanMuttiah Muralitharan

Murali has made me eat my own words. Two weeks ago I wrote, "There are no surprises when you look at Murali’s stats after his two matches this week. The champion bowler has 1/44 in 8 overs at an average of 44.00, but as he has done most of his career, Murali’s focus has been on his economy rate."

Well, Test cricket’s and ODI cricket’s highest wicket taker is now the IPL’s highest wicket taker!

Muralitharan has been sensational. After the jitters of the first week, Murali has looked like the Murali of old. He has deceived accomplished batsman with variation instead of bowling fast and on a negative leg stump channel.

After match-30, Murali and Amit Mishra are equal with 11 wickets apiece, but Murali’s 11 wickets have come at an average of  17.90 and an economy rate of 6.15.

Thissara Perera

One has to feel for Perera. He made his IPL debut in the 21st match of the season against the Mumbai Indians and was asked to bowl just one over. It was a crucial over in the match with Mumbai needing 48 to win off 30 balls. Perera went for 19 in his over. That is most likely the last we may see of him as well. He is yet to bat in the competition.

Thilan Thushara

Thushara finally got the call up and has played two games for Chennai. He has picked up three wickers for 58 runs for an economy rate of 7.25. Although his economy rate is high, Dhoni has played Thushara consecutively in Chennai’s last two fixtures. So there is some hope that we will see more Sri Lankan participation than just Malinga and Murali at the end of this tournament.

Ajantha Mendis and Dilhara Fernando have not made an appearance yet. Unfortunately for Mendis, Kolkata can only play four international players and playing him would mean dropping Mathews, Gayle, David Hussey, or Bond. Which is unlikely.

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