IPL's golden ducks
The duck may well be the favourite item on the Indian Premier League's menu.
How else does one explain the large number of ducks this season?
Going by the latest statistics (after Match 43 between the Delhi Daredevils and the Deccan Chargers), the second edition of the Twenty20 tournament has seen as many as 30 golden ducks -- in other words, first ball dismissals.
And when you have blasters like Adam Gilchrist, Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder, Kevin Pietersen, Sanath Jayasuriya and Sourav Ganguly figuring on that list, it doesn't augur well for a tournament struggling to match the impact it made in its inaugural year.
It can be pointed out that South African wickets are fast and the batsmen have had trouble adjusting to them. Also, it can be argued that most Indian batsmen are used to slower, spin-friendly wickets back home, and have failed to adapt.
But didn't the teams go earlier to adapt? And haven't the spinners been successful on the so-called fast tracks?
The second season's most expensive player, Kevin Pietersen, was out to the first ball he faced from Muttiah Muralitharan in Port Elizabeth. A few days later, he effected a golden duck himself when he had Brendon McCullum of the Kolkata Knight Riders caught at point by Virat Kohli in Durban.
There are also several instances of silver ducks -- batsmen getting out off the second ball without scoring. Kings XI Punjab's Simon Katich was dismissed thus against the Mumbai Indians at the Centurion as was Pragyan Ojha against the Delhi Daredevils in Durban, the latest instances of the silver duck syndrome.
There have been a few diamond ducks as well -- batsmen getting out without having faced a single delivery. Kings XI Punjab's Piyush Chawla is the most recent player to achiever that dubious distinction.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
Image: IPL's golden ducks
Bangalore Royal Challengers (8)
The Bangalore Royal Challengers top the list with eight golden or first ball ducks.
Quite a few of their top batsmen, including regular captain Kevin Pietersen, fell off the first delivery as Bangalore got to a patchy start before recovering under Anil Kumble to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
Bangalore's golden ducks:
Jesse Ryder b Fidel Edwards
Ross Taylor b A Mascarenhas
Kevin Pietersen lbw M Muralitharan
R Bishnoi c Laxmipathy Balaji b Muralitharan
Robin Uthappa c Yuvraj Singh b Irfan Pathan
Pankaj Singh b Irfan Pathan
Jacques Kallis b Dirk Nannes
R Vinay Kumar run out (A B de Villiers)
Image: The Bangalore Royal Challengers
Kolkata Knight Riders (6)
Captain Brendon McCullum has been a major letdown with the bat and has only scored a half-century, that too in a losing cause.
The other batsmen have failed to rise to the occasion while the bowlers have looked ordinary, as KKR were outplayed by every team.
KKR ranks second in terms of golden ducks.
Kolkata's golden ducks:
Brendon McCullum c Virat Kohli b Kevin Pietersen
Sourav Ganguly b Zaheer Khan
Arindam Ghosh c Sachin Tendulkar b Abhishek Nayar
Ajantha Mendis b Lasith Malinga
Ashok Dinda b Lasith Malinga
Wridhimann Saha c Dinesh Karthik b Amit Mishra
Image: Sourav Ganguly and Brendon McCullum
Rajasthan Royals (4)
Four of their batsmen got out off the first delivery. The Royals' batting has been a big disappointment barring Yusuf Pathan's occasional fireworks.
Rajasthan's golden ducks:
Dimitri Mascarenhas run out (Virat Kohli/Robin Uthappa)
Munaf Patel c Parthiv Patel b Jacob Oram
Swapnil Asnodkar run out (Herschelle Gibbs)
Shane Warne b Rohit Sharma (Deccan Chargers)
Image: Swapnil Asnodkar
Mumbai Indians (3)
Jayasuriya has not found his touch with the bat and was dismissed for a golden duck.
Mumbai's golden ducks:
Sanath Jayasuriya c Yuvraj Singh b Irfan Pathan
Ajinkya Rahane c Robin Uthappa b Dillon du Preez
Harbhajan Singh b Rohit Sharma
Image: Sanath Jayasuriya
Delhi Daredevils (3)
The Delhi Daredevils look current favourites to win this IPL title.
Even without regular captain Virender Sehwag, they keep winning; their batting is their major forte.
Delhi's golden ducks:
Gautam Gambhir c Mahendra Singh Dhoni b Laksmipathy Balaji
A B de Villiers b Sudeep Tyagi
Rajat Bhatia c Shoaib Maqsusi b Pragyan Ojha
Image: A B de Villiers and Gautam Gambhir
Deccan Chargers (4)
Led by Adam Gilchrist, despite a couple of recent losses, they could still end up in the last four, a step away from the title.
Deccan's golden ducks:
Adam Gilchrist lbw Albie Morkel
V V S Laxman c Abhishek Nayar b Dwayne Bravo
R P Singh run out (Ashish Nehra)
Shoaib Maqsusi c A B de Villiers b Rajat Bhatia
Image: Adam Gilchrist
Kings XI Punjab (1)
The team was hit hard by the weather in their first two matches before recovering in style.
Alas, they have hit a rough patch lately and could lose out on a semi-final slot.
Punjab's golden duck:
Sunny Sohal c Shane Warne b Amit Singh
Image: Sunny Sohal
Chennai Super Kings (1)
Led by the rampaging Matthew Hayden and Suresh Raina, CSK could sweep favourites Delhi Daredevils out of their way in the tournament's finale.
Chennai's golden duck:
S Badrinath c V R V Singh b Irfan Pathan
Image: Subramaniam Badrinath