Crossing ‘Lakshman Rekha’ in cricket is never a cakewalk

The ‘Lakshman Rekha’, the famous line drawn by Lakshman for Sita not to cross when he went to find Ram in the forest, as mentioned in the Ramayana, seems so synonymous with the way the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) participating sides appear at the moment. In case of Sita, the sacred line was not to be crossed, similarly, the top teams in the tournament seem to be following the same ritual.

 Each side in the IPL requires at least eight wins to maybe secure a place amongst the last four for the knockout stage of the tournament. With the Mumbai Indians (MI), Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) languishing earlier at seven wins, with a fair amount of matches to go, one seemed certain that they would all sail into the respective top three slots. The ‘Lakshmana Rekha’ drawn to cross the line has now become an ordeal for both Delhi and Bangalore.

 Mumbai Indians, after their comprehensive win against RCB in their last match, are the first team to cross the seven seas and continue to the next stage of the tournament. MI look a strong side to defend their title, even though their captain and star player, Rohit Sharma, cannot support them due to a hamstring injury. Cricket, as one says, is a game of many uncertainties and with none of the teams looking distinctly better than the other, there could be a possibility of five teams ending up with eight wins. 

This could lead to a run-rate scenario and would, therefore, make the IPL even more interesting to watch. With the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) having already lost its place for the play-offs and the only side at present out of the reckoning, they could be a spoil sport for all the other sides competing. 

They did put a spoke in the wheel of RCB’s progress by beating them in their last encounter. Rajasthan Royals (RR) unfortunately cannot accumulate more than seven wins and so will depend on the outcome of all the other teams performances. An interesting outcome, however, could develop, if RR wins both their remaining matches against Kings XI Punjab(KXIP) and Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR). 

This then would deter both KXIP and KKR’s progress and thus create a possibility of five sides finishing with seven wins each. India has a lot at stake, not only to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but also to garner enough points to qualify for the first ever Test Championship final to be held in England in June 2021. They need their most experienced players to get them over the sacred line. 

Yajurvindra Singh is a former Test cricketer. Views expressed are personal.

Courtesy: IANS

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