Wednesday, April 28, 2010

IPL team of the tournament

Sachin Tendulkar
The A to Z of Sachin TendulkarThere are two things in the world that get better with time, Wine and Sachin. The master had two forgetful IPLs previously. But this time, he looked like a man on a mission. He proved that even in the mad world of mongooses and dilscoops, there is still place for romance between bat and ball. He was consistent throughout and never let Mumbai down. His captaincy was also top notch (barring the finals) and the way he handled the youngsters Tiwary, Rayudu, Dhawan, Satish was exceptional. It's a pity that the trophy didn't land in his hands.

Murali Vijay
This hasn't been a tournament for maverick openers. Big names like Hayden,Gilchrist,Sehwag,Gayle,Jayasuriya flopped and lesser knowns like Vijay, Lumb, Ojha made hay. Vijay is always known to be a technically compact and a good onside player but not an ideal T20 opener. He started IPL3 on a poor note and was even dropped for Parthiv. The way he bounced back was impeccable and his rise in form was parallel to Chennai's rise of fortunes. The ton he got against Rajasthan was a  pleasure to watch and expect fireworks from him in world T20.

Suresh Raina
The fact that Raina is the only player to score 400+ in every edition of IPL speaks volumes about the talent this man has. The south paw, a favourite to Greg Chappel, who viewed him as India's answer to Brain Lara, packs a punch and has been a reliable performer for CSK. He added a lot of maturity to his batting which should augur well for India. A fantastic fielder too and a bowler trusted by Dhoni. He is still 23 and with time on his side, expect big things from him in future.

Robin Uthappa
Why this man won't be in the flight for carribean is still a mystery to many. A better striker/batsman than Yusuf Pathan as this IPL proved, he has a fantastic ability to change the course of the match in the space of a couple of overs. These are impact players and the one's who win you trophies from the most unlikliest of situations as he showed game after game in this IPL. The fact that he also keeps the wickets is a bonus. That over of Sreesanth in which he plundered 25 runs to change the game at Chinnaswamy is some of the finest hitting witnessed in recent times.

Shane Watson
I know this will be a controversial selection but watson has proved us all how Rajastan missed him in IPL2 and half of IPL3. Almost chased down 246 in his very first outing in IPL3. A fearsome striker of the ball, a good player of the short ball and is a true floater, some one who can bat anywhere from 1-5 with devastating effect. A very clever bowler and a good fielder. A very experienced T20 cricketer and a vital cog in the Aussie side, every captain would love to have him in his side. He only played 8 games but he has done enough to merit an all rounders slot in this lineup.

Kieron Pollard
Generally Mumbai get it wrong with big signings, be it  Jayasuriya/Duminy/Uthappa(850,000$). When they signed him for the record IPL fee, he was in Australia playing with Shahid Afridi for South Australia. He had a mediocre big bash and i had doubts over him. But boy did he prove me wrong or what. Tailor made for T20, the big West Indian was an instant hit with the Mumbai crowd with his brutal hitting. Even for such a powerful man, the way he plays with a straight bat is refreshing to see.  Also a very canny T20 bowler and a brilliant fielder, he has been a revelation in this IPL. Every penny well spent.

Captain Cool: The M.S.Dhoni StoryMS Dhoni
Naman Ojha had a terrific IPL and by Dhoni's standards, he had an ordinary time with the bat. But for the balance of the side, Dhoni has to be in this side. As the team is loaded with big hitters, they need a captain who will let them be their own selves and will always put his hand up in times of crisis. He still can hit a mean ball, as showed by his innings against Punjab, he is the leading wicket keeper batsmen in world cricket right now.

Pragyan Ojha
The purple cap winner of this edition of IPL has been a vital cog in the Deccan setup. He got wickets aplenty and crucially at a less economy rate. Never afraid to flight the ball, he and Mishra proved that spinners are pretty effective in the shorter format of the game. He should be deployed as a containing bowler rather than an attacking one. Hw will be bitterly disappointed to watch world T20 in his LCD.

Doug Bollinger
CSK's IPL campaign can be divided into two halves, one before bollinger and another after Bollinger. Chennai tried many a fast bowler before him without any success. His first game for Chennai was a bowler's nightmare. Chennai scored 246 and Rajastan almost chased it down. Amid all those ruins, only Bollinger came out with the best paint, (figures of 4-0-13-3). Has been at his bustling best throughout his stay, he provided Chennai with crucial breakthroughs and is a firm fan favourite at Chennai.

Lasith Malinga
The most lethal T20 bowler in world cricket right now. He is very difficult to get away because of his slinging action and deadly accuracy. He formed a deadly partnership with Zaheer Khan and was mean and reliable throughout the IPL. The first bowler that any captain would want in his side.

Amit Mishra
Another inclusion that doesn't win me any fans but Mishra was brilliant for the daredevils this season. The runner up to the purple cap is a more attacking spinner than Ojha and would like the batsmen to attack him and then beat them with his flight and googlies. I had to include him in this side for the balance of the side. Teams would know they can't score many of Bollinger and Lasith and might target this leggie. This is where he is at his best and can outsmart them. The way he got rid of Kallis was a thing of beauty.  He should be deployed as an attacking spinner.

Honourable mentions
Jayawardene, R.Ashwin, J.Kallis, A.Kumble,A.Symonds

PS: This article is contributed by my friend Phani Raja Sekhar.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Chennai Super Kings - IPL-3 Winners

It was Chennai Super Kings who kept their cool under pressure and eventually lifted the trophy of Indian Premier League season 3. They have been consistent throughout the 3 seasons. Dhoni would be very happy to lift the trophy after  they lost the first season's final to Rajasthan Royals.

Thanks to Raina's wonderful knock at the end and his partnership with Dhoni, Chennai managed to put a very good total on the board. CSK started off things slowly. Hayden once again missed out on a good score in what could be his last IPL game. He had a worst time with the bat in this year's IPL. Dhoni and Raina accelerated CSK's innings after 12th over. Raina capitalized on two missed chances and went on to score a good half century.

Mumbai Indians too started the innings slowly. After 13 overs Mumbai and Chennai were at the same score. Things changed thereafter with Jakati taking the wickets of Sachin and Tiwary in one over. Mumbai have made so many changes to their batting order by promoting Nayar and Harbhajan ahead of Tiwary and Rayudu. Pollard got the chance to bat only for the last 3 overs. But the match was already in Chennai's hands at that stage with Mumbai needing 55 runs from the last 3 overs. Pollard scored 22 off Bollinger making the equation to 33 from 12 balls. Morkel bowled a good 19th over to remove Rayudu and Pollard ensuring a good win in the final for CSK.

I think the main reasons for Mumbai's loss are:
1. Two dropped chances off Raina
2. Pollard not coming in to bat ahead of Duminy. It might have been easy for Mumbai had Pollard been given a few more overs to bat.
3. Promoting Nayar and Harbhajan ahead of Rayudu and Tiwary who have been exceptionally good throughout the series. They should have come in ahead of Nayar and Harbhajan.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

IPL 2010 Final Preview: Mumbai Indians Vs Chennai Super Kings

The final of IPL will be held on 25th April at Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai amidst the raging controversies surrounding the Indian Premier League.

Mumbai Indians, so far, have a wonderful tournament. Mumbai made it to the finals for the first time in IPL. Sachin would love to finish the tournament on a winning note.

On the other hand, Chennai Super Kings struggled to make it to the finals. Chennai were finalists of IPL 2008 and they lost it to Rajasthan Royals. So, Dhoni would be determined to set the things right this time.

Tendulkar has led the team well and has given so much confidence to the players like Rayudu, Tiwary. Mumbai Indians have a good depth in batting and bowling department. Sachin is suffering from a finger injury and hopefully he will be available for the final. It would be a big loss for Mumbai Indians if Sachin won't be available as he carried Mumbai on his shoulders with his wonderful batting and captaincy. Tiwary and Rayudu proved their talent under pressure when Mumbai lost a few early wickets. And then there is Pollard who can hit the ball out of ground easily. His medium pace has also proved worthy. Their bowling attack has been reliable. And they have no worries on this matter.

On the other hand, Chennai mostly had to rely on good individual performances to make it so far. If Hayden delivers a good knock at the top and their bowlers can take 2-3 early wickets, Chennai would fancy their chances. Suresh Raina is the key batsman for Chennai. It will be interesting to see if Dhoni opens their bowling with Ashwin with Sachin at the crease. Ashwin and Bollinger have been exceptional for Chennai. Spinners have been Chennai's strength.

Winning the toss and batting first looks a better choice at this ground as teams chasing a total have stumbled on this pitch.

All in all, We are up for one exciting final. My money would be on Mumbai Indians.

Happy Birthday Master

"If Cricket is a religion, Sachin is God."

"Commit all your sins while Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed becasue God is busy watching Sachin's batting."

"I have seen god, he bats at no. 4 for India"- Mathew Hayden

“On a train from Shimla to Delhi , there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!”- Peter Roebuck -An Aussie journalist

"There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. One Sachin Tendulkar. Two all the others." - Andy Flower

"Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives." - BBC Sports on Sachin Tendulkar

These are just a few to describe the greatness of Sachin.

Sachin turns 38 today. Cricket Crazy wishes him a wonderful birthday and all the best.

I loved this Petition to the President of India from one of the Sachin fans.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gilchrist Vs Dhoni

The second semi-final of IPL-3 between defending champions Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings will take place at DY Patil Stadium in Mumbai on 22nd April. Both teams had to win their last league match to qualify for the semis. Chennai made it to the semis thanks to Dhoni's superb knock against Kings XI Punjab. Deccan made it to the semis by a collective performance against Delhi Daredevils.

Adam Gilchrist is due a big knock for Chargers. T Suman, Rohit Sharma, Symonds have been consistent with the bat while P Ojha has been performing well with the bowl. Harmeet Singh has been superb with the slow leg cutter. The only concern for DC would be to play at DY Patil stadium where they lost both the games they played before.

Chennai on the other hand too need a big konck from Hayden. Vijay, Raina has been in good form.

Both the teams have been set back a bit by their bowling attack. Deccan have worst record of conceding most runs in the last five overs.

My playing XIs:
Deccan Chargers:
Adam Gilchrist, Monish Mishra, T Suman, Rohit Sharma, Andrew Symonds, Mitchell Marsh, Sumanth, Harmeet Singh, Vaas, Ojha, RP Singh

Mathew Hayden, Murai Vijay, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Badrinath, A Morkel, Justin Kemp, Ashwin, Jakati, Bollinger, S Tyagi

Deccan beat Chennai twice this season and they have the advantage. But it can be anyone's game.

I'll be supporting Deccan and I want the final to be between Mumbai and Deccan.

A Clash of Indian Legends

Well, the third season if Indian Premier League is into it's last week.

The first semi final of IPL-3, between Mumbai Indians and last year's finalists Royal Challengers Banglore is going to take place at DY Patil stadium in Mumbai.

Mumbai Indians is in tremendous form winning 10 out of their 14 league matches. Sachin mesmerized everyone with his lovely batting and he has been in a great form. Mumbai Indians need Sachin to fire once again to put a great start. Then they have in Rayudu, Tiwary two good players who can play some big shots. If Pollard delivers with the bat, then it will be an easy match for Mumbai. Mumbai's bowling department is also strong with the likes of Malinga, harbhajan and Zaheer.

Coming to Banglore team, Kallis has been a consistent performer. But he needs to improve his strike rate if they have to put up/chase a big score. They have explosive batsmen like Uthappa and Taylor who can turn the match away from the opponent very easily.

On a whole, both teams are very strong. Both the teams have good batting line up and good bowling attacks. But, mumbai has been consistent and playing in front of the home crowd is an advantage.

My playing XIs:
Sachin Tendulkar, Shikar Dhawan, S Tiwary, A Rayudu, JP Duminy, K Pollard, Satish, R McLaren, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, S Malinga

J Kallis, M Pandey, K Pietersen, R Uthappa, R Taylor, V Kohli, R Dravid, D Steyn, R Vinay Kumar, Anil Kumble, Praveen Kumar

I'll go with Mumbai Indians.