IPL 10

48 runs, 6 overs: The farce that knocked the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad out of IPL 2017

It makes no sense to use the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method in a Twenty20 match.

Trust the Indian Premier League to throw up surreal moments.

Here was it. At close to 1 am on Thursday morning, Kolkata Knight Riders’ two openers, Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn came out to bat against Sunrisers Hyderabad. The match had begun at 8 pm on Wednesday, they had gone off the field at around 9.35 pm. Torrential rain at the Chinnaswamy Stadium had made it impossible to continue.

For more than three hours, everyone waited. Thanks to the brilliant new drainage system at the Chinnaswamy, cricket finally took place. And here was the next surreal bit: the target for KKR was 48 runs in six overs with all 10 wickets intact.

Now a word to the wise.

Sunrisers Hyderabad scored just 128 in 20 overs. It wasn’t a good score, not even a middling one. Their batting was low-key at best and every time they tried to press on the accelerator, they lost wickets. In that respect, the rules aren’t a mystery. Everyone knew about the weather forecasts and the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. Hyderabad have only themselves to blame for giving KKR such a paltry target to chase down.

But the more important question is, was it fair?

A target of 129 isn’t a good one. But is it indefensible? Definitely not. In the last 10 years of the IPL, six lower scores have been defended. Kings XI Punjab defended 128 on this very venue on May 5.

The very nature of the pitch at Chinnaswamy during the first innings indicated how it was playing. There was definite turn, it was slow and it did not give batsmen a chance to free their arms. It required good old-fashioned grinding, even if the format was Twenty20.

Sunrisers didn’t get a good score, but with three bowlers in the Purple Cap list (Bhuvneshwar Kumar on top, Rashid Khan in fifth place and Siddharth Kaul in ninth place), they still would have backed themselves to at least make a fist of it.

‘They won the toss and so they deserved to win’

Their bowling coach Muttiah Muralitharan certainly thought so. “We had the bowling to defend it across 20 overs,” he said at the post-match press conference. “We’ve seen how teams have defended 130-135 here. It’s unfortunate. They won the toss and so they deserved to win.”

The rain completely changed the course of the match. Not only did the extra moisture liven up the surface, making it difficult for bowlers to grip the ball and making the ball come on to the bat better, Hyderabad only had a pitiful 48 to defend off their six overs, with KKR having all 10 wickets intact. The fact that they did not give up and had KKR at 12/3 in the first over was commendable. Imagine, for a second, if KKR were still chasing 128. Losing three wickets early would have surely caused some chaos.

There are a lot of questions here. Firstly, Twenty20 itself is a format which does not have a lot for the bowlers. Does to make sense to bring the number of overs down to six, just to get a result, any result? The bowling side is completely taken out of the equation. As Sunil Gavaskar said, after the KKR won the match early on Thursday morning, “You need to do something horribly stupid to get bowled out within six overs”. Even the lowest-ever score in the IPL, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s 49 all out, consumed all of 9.4 overs.

A six-over lottery

But, perhaps more importantly, if the IPL is such a huge tournament in world cricket , what is the need to desperately (and some may argue, unfairly) force a result, in such farcical circumstances? Why not have reserve days for playoffs at least? Is it really fair to force a match to go on till the early hours of the next morning?

Sunil Gavaskar did not think so.

By the end, Sunrisers Hyderabad really had no chance. It didn’t matter what they did, KKR needed just to play out the six overs to win. And Nathan Coulter-Nile, the Player of the Match for his 3/20, summed it up to Ravi Shastri at the post-match presentation ceremony.

For good measure, he added at the post-match presser: “The rules really need to be looked at. You can’t play cricket at two o’ clock.”

The Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method, to decide targets in rain-affected matches, takes wickets as a resource. Unfortunately, that premise is flawed when it comes to Twenty20s, where wickets aren’t at a premium. In that case, the results are deeply flawed. Even Gambhir could not help but feel sorry for the Sunrisers.

What is the solution? The easiest is to, at least, have reserve days for important matches. But, fine, that may not always be possible. In that case, Twenty20 is crying out for a better system to devise rain-affected targets. Perhaps, the number of wickets could be limited? Or there should be no restrictions on bowlers? Some power needs to be transferred back to the bowling team as well. After all, isn’t that what cricket is about: a competition between bat and ball?

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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.

Lisbon

Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.

Munich

Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.