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IPL

Live SCORE bOARD

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Chennai Super Kings cruise to IPL final



Rajasthan Royals will face Chennai Super Kings for the inaugural DLF Indian Premier League title on Sunday.

The Super Kings routed Kings XI Punjab by 9 wickets in the second semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Kings XI batting was a complete letdown as they scored just 112 runs at the loss of eight wickets in 20 overs. And Chennai Super Kings achieved that total in 14.5 overs losing just one wicket of S Viduyt.

Parthiv Patel and Suresh Raina with a 102-run partnership steered their side to victory. Both batsmen smashed unbeaten half-centuries.

Earlier, Punjab chose to bat after winning the toss but Chennai bowlers never let them break free and restricted them for a paltry total. Makhaya Ntini, Manpreet Gony and Albie Morkel picked two wickets apiece. Ntini was adjudged as the 'Man of the Match' for picking two crucial wickets and a run out.

None of the Punjab batsmen showed any resilience and wickets fell at regular intervals. The Wankhede wicket was slow, but a little bit of application would have put them in a better position.

Ramesh Powar was the highest scorer for Kings XI with unbeaten 28 runs. Wilkin Mota chipped in with 25 runs. He lost his wicket to Albie Morkel.

Kings XI lost their first wicket in the second over, as Makhaya Ntini scalped Hopes' wickets for just 2 runs.

In the next over Dhoni introduced Manpreet Gony. The move worked and Kumar Sangakkara was caught behind for three runs. But, it was a great gesture from the Sri Lankan wicketkeeper as neither the fieldsmen appealed nor the umpire gave him out. He knew he had nicked it and decided to walk off the field.

A great sportsmanship but Kings XI Punjab had to pay a huge price for it!

Skipper Yuvraj Singh, who looked to have regained his form against Rajasthan Royals, failed to perform as Gony claimed his wicket for 4 runs.

Ntini then bowled the key man Shaun Marsh for 23 runs. The most successful batsman of the tournament, Marsh was the key man and Dhoni knew this. In the next over of Gony, Ntini ran out Irfan Pathan for 3 runs.

Interestingly, Chennai have beaten Kings XI Punjab at their home ground, in Mohali and now at the neutral venue as well. However, they have lost to Rajasthan Royals in their previous two league matches.

Delhi blown away, Rajasthan in final

|




Delhi Daredevils were blown away like leaves in a tropical storm as Rajasthan Royals stormed into the final of the IPL at the Wankhede Stadium.

The Royals had an inauspicious start to the game --- in the form of a hamstring injury to Graeme Smith --- but recovered in style with chunky contributions from the regular suspects --- Swapnil Asnodkar, Yusuf Pathan, Munaf Patel and Shane Warne himself. But the real star was Shane Watson whose 52 (29 balls) and 3-10 stood out.

Rajasthan made 192-9 after being put in, and 87 was all that Delhi could make. But Delhi's innings was done the moment Watson reduced them to 3-24 in the sixth over. Virender Sehwag's men caved in against the mounting run rate. With the ball, they had been wayward and had dropped as many as three catches.

Smith-Asnodkar at it again

The Royals' juggernaut has rolled on unstoppable, but it seemed for a moment that it would come to a halt tonight. Smith pulled his hamstring attempting a quick single in the second over. He was initially denied a runner, and for a couple of overs, the runs dried out.

However, Smith recovered from the blow, batted with a runner, and added 65 runs in quick time with his partner Swapnil Asnodkar to set the stage for Shane Watson and Yusuf Pathan, both of whom hurt Delhi bad in the last ten overs.

Rajasthan got off to a slow start --- 15 in three overs --- but it was important they saw off the opening spell by Glenn McGrath and Mohammad Asif. The wicket was hard and flat, and the aggressive openers cashed in.

Asnodkar led the way, hitting Asif over the covers to get going. Smith, on one leg, punched three fours on the trot in a McGrath over. But before the partnership bled Delhi to death, Ferveez Maharoof removed both in the seventh over.

Maharoof had dropped Asnodkar in the previous over at long leg, and he made amends. Smith fell to a catch at deep square leg and Asnodkar couldn't keep a cut shot down and hit it to point.

Watson, Yusuf carry on

Rajasthan's powerful allrounders have been in good form, and they made it count in a big game. Watson's 52 came in just 29 balls while Yusuf's 45 in 21. The two controlled the middle stages of the innings when Maharoof had taken three wickets in good time.

Watson was harsh on Yo Mahesh --- who has been quite miserly in the tournament --- and his third over went for 21 runs. Watson hit one six bang on the roof of the Sunil Gavaskar stand at midwicket in the over.

Yusuf was equally merciless on the bowlers. The highlight of the innings was the slower one he picked up from McGrath in the 19th over. The bat swung in a smooth motion, hitting the ball effortlessly into the crowd behind deep mid wicket.

Patchy performance from Delhi

Delhi had relied heavily on their seamers in the tournament but on Friday night, all didn't go to plan. No bowler was spared by Rajasthan and only Maharoof (3-34) had wickets to show. Besides there were three missed catches.

But the biggest disappointment for them was the collective failure of Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan. Delhi's three best batsmen in the IPL were consumed in one spell by Watson.

Sehwag top-edged a catch to fine leg, Gambhir fell to a stunning air-borne catch by Turuwar Kohli at cover, and Dhawan hit a short ball straight to square leg who didn't move an inch for the catch.

Manoj Tiwary miscued a pull off Munaf Patel, and Dinesh Karthik hit a full toss to Mohammad Kaif at midwicket, who tumbled to take a low catch on the boundary.

Maharoof slog-swept Warne to deep midwicket, while Tilakaratne Dilshan's slog sweep went to fine leg. The score read 76-7 but the game had been decided long before that.

Rajasthan will now face the winner of the Chennai Super Kings vs Kings XI Punjab to be played on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Semi Final Timings!

1st Semi-Final: Delhi Daredevils v Rajasthan Royals at Mumbai - May 30, 2008
Match scheduled to begin at 20:00 local time (14:30 GMT)

2nd Semi-Final: Chennai Super Kings v Kings XI Punjab at Mumbai - May 31, 2008 (20:00 local, 14:30 GMT)


Final:
at Dr DY Patil Sports Academy, Mumbai - Jun 1, 2008 (20:00 local, 14:30 GMT)

Who’s Really Winning The IPL? Its KKR…

From the surface of it, the Rajasthan Royals seem to have clearly dominated the IPL. They’re winning everything, and look unbeatable going into the semi-finals. But behind the close and exciting matches that everyone has been watching, another sort of game is being played in the background, and who’s winning that game may surprise you!

What I’m referring to, of course, is the money game. Which team is really breaking even? Who is making the profit? Who is bleeding money? Which team is going to turn in a profit right in the first year? The answer is going to surprise you.

Shahrukh Khan seems to have gotten the better of established businessmen like Mallya and Ambani over here. It looks like the Kolkata KnightRiders are going to turn in a modest profit right in year one! Many people were skeptical whether owners would be able to make money after bidding exorbitantly for the teams, but the dramatic sucess of the IPL both on TV and in the stadiums are surprised everyone. The KnightRiders have done especially well, earning about Rs 20 Crores from just ticket sales alone! Shahrukh Khan has also managed to rope in a bunch of sponsors and co-sponsors for the team, who’ve together pitched in about Rs 32 Crores. Counting in the share of TV advertising and central sponsorships, the KnightRiders look to have turned in a neat profit of Rs 11 Crores! And they didn’t even qualify for the semis! Even the low-cost Rajasthan Royals, who have the added benefit of having a winning streak are not going to make a profit!

"Shahrukh Khan seems to have gotten the better of
established businessmen like Mallya and Ambani over here
"


The Bangalore Royal Challengers, having performed really badly on the field, seem to have also disappointed financially. Mallya has spent exorbitantly, with the cheerleaders and laser shows and what not, and has no sponsors or co-sponsors for the Royal Challengers team. That is going to mean a staggering loss of 43 crores this year!

Most of the other teams are not in as bad shape as the Royal Challengers, but they’re looking good to break even in the next two-three years. This is very important, because according to the BCCI rules, after year 3, the teams are allowed to do very innovative things with their stakes. They can sell it to private equity, or even go public with an IPO!

The teams are going to have to start working on making their teams profitable if they are going to benefit in the long run. The player trading window that opens in February will give most teams a chance to rebalance their players. Plus, starting next season, the teams get a cut of profit of food and drinks sales at the stadium - Expect to see a dramatic improvement in stadium facilities starting next year.

"The KnightRiders are going to turn in a profit of 11 Crores!
And they’ve not even qualified for the semis!
"

Another winner is SONY. The television audience has been better than expected, and the ad rates on SET MAX have been rising as the tournament’s big matches - the semi finals and finals - come close. It is estimated that SONY is going to make a profit of Rs 1,000 crores over the 10-year contract period.

The IPL has created a strange monster. While teams may be winning on the field, that is no gaurantee that will mean financial success. Mallya has enough problems on field, with his team and especially with the captain, but looking at the balance sheet with a loss of 43 Crores is not going to be good for his blood pressure!

IPL - Winners and Losers

While we have to wait till June 1 to know who will win the inaugural Indian Premier League Final, we have put together a set of winners and losers on the business side of IPL.

Winners

The biggest winner in the IPL business is undoubtedly the UK based World Sports Group (WSG). By bagging the 10 year television rights for US $ 918 Million, this company will profit the most from the success of IPL. WSG has sold the television rights in India to Sony Entertianment Television (Sony) for an undisclosed sum for a period of 5 years. WSG has sold TV rights to various channels in the US, UK.,Asia and Middle East for $ 100 million. As per WSG , 8 million viewers are watching IPL outside India.

Sony after suffering huge losses in the World Cup 2007, took a big risk by putting its bets on IPL. Fortune favours the brave. IPL has turned out to be a huge television success. In the first two weeks of IPL, Mindshare, a media buying agency has reported that 131 million viewers had watched IPL. After the high initial TRPs of 8, the matches are still getting average TRPs of 4. This has automatically resulted in the increase of spot rates. From an initial rates of Rs 2,00,000- Rs 250,000 per 10 second spot, Sony is reportedly selling 10 second spots for Rs. 1 million for the finals and semi-finals.

All the IPL franchisees are winners. ( Please look at our other story on the profitability of an franchise.) Some more so than the other. Rajasthan Royals, whether they win the IPL Cup or not on June 1 are certainly a big winner. Emerging Media, owners of IPL, bought the franchise at the lowest price in the IPL auctions, spent intelligently on players, tied up a slew of sponsors and now have a successful team whose valuations all other franchisees would be envious of. Kolkata Knight Riders ( KKR) is also expected to be a big winner on the business front, largely attributable to the sponsorships.

Reebok, the offical apparel for four IPL teams will be a winner. Reebok has already reported over Rs 50 million sales of KKR merchandise.

TV companies who normally have a sluggish April and May have reported 10 % higher sales, courtesy IPL. LG and Onida have launched new LCD models coinciding with IPL.

IPL and T20 are ideal for betting. The cricket betting market has once again come alive. Ahmedabad and Jaipur are the big centres for betting. Daily bets of Rs 1.5-Rs 2.0 billion have been reported in the media.The overall IPL betting transactions are slated to be over Rs 1000 billion.

Losers

Indian Cricket League (ICL) and Zee Sports, both part of the Essel Group, will be the biggest loser in the success of IPL. It will be interesting to see, how ICL reinvents itself to counter IPL next year.

The companies who lost their bids for IPL franchises like Future Group, Reliance ADAG, ICICI Ventures and DLF must be brooding over their loss. ITC, Britannia, MRF and other companies who sponsor sports must be ruing over their lost opportunity. Expect many of these companies to buy off some franchisees next year, at a higher valuation.

The success of IPL as mass entertainment has taken away viewers from other TV programmes and other forms of entertainment. ” Kya Aap Paanchvi Paas Se Tez Hain “ - a TV game show with Shah Rukh Khan as the host, has declared a flop, thanks to IPL. Big banner films like “Tashan”. “Krazzy 4″, ‘Bhootnath” have failed at the box office. One of the reasons cited for their failure is IPL.

Shopping malls have reported 20 % drop in footfalls, in this holiday season, the reason cited is once again IPL.

One lesson that comes out loud and clear for the marketers is that IPL is an event in the annual calendar of India. Just like they plan and prepare for major festivals like Diwali, Durga Puja or Christmas, they need to createspace for IPL in their calender.

There is no telling though whether the runaway train called IPL will stay on course the next year or the year after.

Luck of the devil for Delhi

Good fortune might be a lazy man’s estimate of success but in a tight Twenty20 league, you take what you can get. After an IPL campaign marred by crucial last-over defeats and untimely rains, Delhi finally seem to have hit upon the luck of the devil. Mumbai’s excruciating loss to Team Jaipur has given the Daredevils a second lease of life and a toehold in the last-four, so it’s time now for Virender Sehwag’s men to put the ‘p’ back in front of the ‘luck’. No wonder, then, they chose to sweat it out in the excruciating mid-afternoon heat on Tuesday to celebrate. Even though the team was at a hotel attending teammate Tillekeratne Dilshan’s wedding, Monday night had been a tense affair, with the Mumbai-Jaipur game swinging back and forth and no clear winner emerging till a dramatic last over. With Jaipur needing 43 off the last three overs, 32 off the last two, and two greenhorns in Niraj Patel and Ravindra Jadeja at the crease, Sehwag was candid enough to admit he had given up all hope.

"Even though the team was at a hotel attending teammate Tillekeratne
Dilshan’s wedding, Monday night had been a tense affair,
with the Mumbai-Jaipur game swinging back and forth
and no clear winner emerging till a dramatic last over"

‘‘We were sitting in front of the TV and we had no hope we would still be in the tournament. After all, there were two very young players at the crease,’’ he said, ‘‘We were praying for Jaipur to win but I would have had no problems if the better team had won. Mumbai also deserved to win, but it was a fantastic run-chase by Jaipur. When they won, we were all congratulating each other. I called up everyone, the franchisee, TA Sekhar, my teammates and we planned this practice session today.’’

Now, the sense of resentment within the Delhi camp - that they deserved to be in the semis, that they had been robbed by factors beyond their control - has been replaced by a healthy buzz that their luck might finally have turned.

And that can only be good news for the skipper. ‘‘We will go all out now,’’ said Sehwag, ‘‘Luck has played a big factor in this event. There are no weak or strong teams, never mind the points table.

"They deserved to be in the semis, that they had been robbed
by factors beyond their control"
Anyone can beat anyone on their day and you have to be

always on your guard. Our strategy is simple: We don’t care who the other teams are. We are not looking to avoid Jaipur in the semis. We are one of the best teams.’’

The much-maligned middle-order too came good in the crucial last tie against Mumbai, giving the likes of Manoj Tiwary and Dinesh Karthik some much-needed self-belief. Sehwag, Gambhir and McGrath are still the key for this team but Sehwag said one of their strengths was that they were ‘‘not dependent on a few individuals to perform’’. On a day of positive vibes, Mohammad Asif too joined in: his stitches have been removed, and the Pak seamer too could be back in action.

Scarcely hours back, the Devils might have thought they had no hope in hell. Now, the sky’s the limit.
Now, the sky’s the limit

Chennai thru … Mumbai out

In a must win game Chennai Superkings defeated Deccan Chargers to become fourth and the last team to qualify for semi-finals with 16 points. The league has not been a smooth ride for the Superkings, the initial four consecutive wins was followed by a roller coaster patch. Things became so bad that they were even stunned by one of the worst performing teams - Bangalore Royal Challengers in a low scoring contest. This is win for Chennai means end of IPL dream for Mumbai Indians, who currently at 12 points and one to play, have no chance of qualifying. Last week, it was looking like the team Mumbai were on the course of scripting one of unbelievable fairytale in cricket after six consecutive victories. Then all of a sudden they lost three very close games on the trot. Yesterday’s game against Rajasthan was a real blunder. They gave away 32 runs in last two overs by playing schoolboy-cricket in spite of having so many experienced player in the side.

Two runs for the win, one for the tie. Who would your money have been on? What unfolded was almost beyond belief. The experienced bowler, after a couple of nervous false starts, summoned up a delivery that couldn’t quite be slogged, but when the ball streaked back towards him, he dived over it. Another international scampered in from long-off, gathered, and let fly with a throw that was a few feet wide of the stumps. International number three couldn’t collect the ball. In between all this mayhem, with the stadium noise amplified to ear-splitting levels, the two lesser lights ran two. Game over.

A disappointing end for costliest team of the league. The turnaround under the leadership of Pollock after slap-gate controversy was amazing but not good enough to qualify the team for semis.

So the semi-final contests are Rajasthan Royals v/s Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab v/s Chennai Superkings

Warne's headache: Problem of plenty

Find a way to win. That’s what Shane Warne tells his boys before every match. On Monday night, they did just that; found a way to win when everything seemed lost.

Monday found new heroes in Team Jaipur. Few would have thought that Niraj Patel and Ravindra Jadeja would conjure the unthinkable against Mumbai Indians. But that’s what Team Jaipur has been all about. Unknown faces have stood up when the big guns have failed.

If it was Niraj and Ravindra on Monday, it has been Swapnil Asnodkar and Yusuf Pathan earlier. A true team effort in every sense and as Team Jaipur march into the semi-finals with an all-win home record, Warne would be expecting his young brigade to fire again.

"But that’s what Team Jaipur has been all about.
Unknown faces have stood up when the big guns have failed"

The league stage is now done and dusted and what counts now is what lies ahead. Semi-finals are a different game altogether and Team Jaipur’s character will be tested again.

Warne has repeatedly spoken highly of his young players in the squad who can become future stars of Indian cricket. But for the all-conquering Team Jaipur, it’s not the issue of how many of them go on to play for the Indian team that is bothering them. For Warne, it’s all about getting the right combination on the field. With Jadeja and Patel showing what it takes to handle tense situations, the former Australian spinner has a problem of plenty: "Who to play and whom not to include in the playing eleven" in the IPL semi-final match.

"It has given me a serious headache. It’s really a touch decision
to squeeze in everyone," Warne admitted
"

"We know for sure in the opening slot, we have Smith (Graeme), Swapnil Asnodkar. In the middle-order Yusuf Pathan, Shane Watson and I are the regular ones. Then in the bowling department, we have Sohail Tanvir, who has been fantastic in the tournament so far. The rest of the guys like Kamran Akmal, Younus Khan who is one of the best batsmen around, are fighting to get a place in the team... it has given me a serious headache. It’s really a touch decision to squeeze in everyone," Warne admitted.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Mumbai can handle Superman but not Rajasthan’s version of Mohammed Ali

Shane Warne is mining heroes by the truckloads in the Rajasthan desert. Keeping count of the match winners in the Rajasthan side is becoming increasingly difficult. On a day when it seemed that Shane Warne had run out of all his aces, the Royals unearthed another champ who grabbed his rare chance to perform with both hands. Welcome to the Shane Warne show of unending magic tricks. The latest act – Niraj Patel delivered what could be a killer blow to the semi-final hopes of Mumbai Indians.

Talking of blows, the partnership was reminiscent of Mohammed Ali’s ‘Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee’ boxing style which was on view on ESPN. I switched over to watch Ali box when Patel and Jadeja were struggling initially. Just like the two of them Ali did little in the beginning. After watching Ali absorb punches and give his opponent a false sense of victory on ESPN for a while, I switched back to Set Max and watched Patel and Jadeja make an Ali-esque comeback and sting Mumbai like a bee.

Mumbai have every reason to feel gut wrenched. Just like the Punjab game, this one was in the bag with RR needing 43 off 18 on a wicket which had been low-scoring till then. They were numerous ‘only-ifs’ associated with the last ball and Mumbai will need all the strength of will and character to pick themselves up for the next game.

A load off Viru’s head

Delhi Daredevils are through to the semis and Virender Sehwag can get rid of the memory of the over he bowled against Punjab.

Mumbai almost joined a club every other team is a member of

Wicket-keepers have never had it as good as they have in the IPL. With the bat that is. Almost every team has had a match winning batting performance from their stumpers. Last night the Mumbai Indians and Yogesh Takawale almost joined the list which currently has KKR (Brendan McCullum) , RCB(Mark Boucher),CSK ( MS Dhoni), DD( Dinesh Karthik), KXP( Sangakkara) , DC ( Gilchrist) and RR ( Kamran Akmal). Mumbai’s entry based on Takawale’s cameo seemed such a ‘destined to be thing’ till we know what happened.

The day Superman met kryptonite

Shane Watson has all the physical attributes to play Superman on screen. His performance in the IPL has also been like a Superman who has won games with bat or ball depending on the need of the hour. Last night, Superman was reduced to a mortal being in both innings of the game. But he can afford to do that when he has the full assortment of super heroes for company

Rajasthan's embarrassment of riches

Teams have been happy to have one decent opening pair. Rajasthan have 4 quality openers who can combine to form 6 different opening pairs. The captain can randomly select two guys from the likes of Smith, Asnodkar, Pathan and Kamran Akmal and count on them to get the team off to a flier.

Dude of the Day - Sohail Tanvir is as deserving as Niraj Patel. But Tanvir's already got the Purple Cap and the MoM award for his efforts. Therefore, on a day when bowlers were on top for a change, Niraj Patel is our Dude of the Day.

Duds of the Day - All the experience in the Mumbai side which counted for nothing. In the heat of the battle a pair of greenhorns came through while the wily veterans floundered. The think tank of Sachin and Sanath erred by bowling Raje when Jayasuriya and Dwayne Smith were available. They should have remembered Dhawal Kulkarni's 15 run over which tilted the balance in Delhi’s' favour in the last game. And I haven’t mentioned Jayasuriya’s missed run-out chance off the last ball

Dada evokes the 9 emotions

If love, anger, bravery, mirth, compassion, aversion, amazement, fright and calm are the 'nava rasas' or the nine emotions that as per ancient Indian theory of aesthetics a quality work of art must evoke, then no modern cricketer comes close to Sourav Ganguly.


Nobody can make fans and foes alike run through the gamut of emotions as the former Indian captain. Even in the Sunday night game, he first aroused laughter and loathing among KKR fans as he ran back to drop a catch in the outfield that strictly belonged to teammate Aakash Chopra. It was typical of Ganguly to shout at the hapless fellow fielder when the mistake was his own.

And then as his solo endeavour to sign off on a winning note looked futile with wickets falling at the other end, the KKR captain turned into an object of pity. In fact, at one point, his apparent refusal to move into fourth gear prompted commentators like Arun Lal to wonder why he was delaying the onslaught for whatever it was worth.

The unthinkable happened thereafter. Despite all the shocks that Ganguly has let loose on his unsuspecting fans since his fairytale international comeback in December 2006 - beginning from a half-century on a savage Johannesburg pitch to a double century against Pakistan in Bangalore to a match-winning but already forgotten 87 against South Africa just six weeks ago in Kanpur - few were prepared for the way he batted, smashing an unbeaten 86 off 53 balls, admittedly with Umar Gul in stellar support.

"Despite all the shocks that Ganguly has let loose
on his unsuspecting fans since his fairytale
international comeback in December 2006"

But as the crowd swiveled from amazement to euphoria at Eden Gardens on Sunday, Ganguly remained the quintessence of cool. Facing up to Irfan Pathan and in need of 15 runs off six balls to clinch an unlikely win for the Kolkata Knight Riders, both his face and demeanour were a picture of Buddhist calm. The former India captain looked at peace with himself and with the world.

And that was surprising even to his most ardent fans. In everything he had showcased on the field and off it, Ganguly was never known to be a man of calm. Intense, abrasive, passionate, fidgety, yes. But calm and peace? No. And yet there he was displaying the one emotion - tranquillity - that no one thought he possessed. No wonder, Pathan came out second best.

Perhaps therein also lies the key to the former India captain's enduring all-India popularity. His ability to engage and his gift to surprise. Ganguly's cricket persona is like a good Alfred Hitchcock film; you never know what lies at the end. When he was exiled from international cricket in 2006, Ganguly's quest wasn't just about regaining his place; it was also about winning back respect. Perhaps it was the sheer audacity of his endeavour that his private battle for redemption touched a nation-wide collective chord.

"Ganguly was never known to be a man of calm.
Intense, abrasive, passionate, fidgety, yes.
But calm and peace? No
"

Which is why when he smashed 91 against Team Hyderabad - besides taking two wickets and two catches in probably the most comprehensive all-round IPL performance in a game, the entire crowd clapped, making a mockery of the home and away league format.

Which is why he could work the crowd to such frenzied levels against Team Bangalore at home. 3-0-7-1 with the wicket of Rahul Dravid speaks a lot about Ganguly the bowler. But it doesn't capture an iota of the great human theatre that the KKR captain stirred up that day.

For many old guards like Ganguly, cricket's shortest version was meant to be a process of de-mythologisation. It was meant to expose those too old, too unfit and too over the hill. Too bad they never realised the elegant southpaw is too unputdownable.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No money, No security : Punjab police

With the Punjab police demanding that nearly Rs 18 million be deposited with it for pending dues of security cover provided for cricket matches at the PCA stadium here.

The deputy commissioner has demanded that the security dues be realised from PCA before the next IPL match to be played here on Tuesday failing which no security will be provided for the last IPL match to be played.

The Mohali police has been stationing between 500 to 1,000 security personnel at IPL matches. Seven matches were to be played here this IPL season and only one remains to be played, the one on Tuesday. The crucial tie is between the home team and IPL's top team Rajasthan Royals.

The war of words and letter between the police and the IPL franchise, Kings XI Punjab - jointly owned by Bollywood actress Preity Zinta and her industrialist beau Ness Wadia and two other businessmen - have hit a new low with Khatra moving an official communication complaining to the district and state top brass of the 'misbeaviour' and 'insult' heaped on him by Wadia.

"Wadia capped it by reportedly telling Khatra,
"I don't talk to small and mean people like you" "

Khatra and Wadia were involved in a verbal spat at the PCA pavilion Friday after Wadia accused the Punjab police of black-marketing of tickets, allowing unauthorised entry into the stadium and also stealing liquor bottles and Mohali team T-shirts from the pavilion lounge.

Wadia capped it by reportedly telling Khatra, "I don't talk to small and mean people like you". Khatra brought this statement on record in his communication on Sunday.

The Punjab police have been ensuring near full attendance inside the stadium and many of the spectators have friends in the police force in lieu of tickets.

25th May – A day for the motivational owners & discovering a new quota in the IPL

Sourav Ganguly has done it again. Once more he’s come back with a bang to prove his doubters wrong. Dada can exit the tournament with his head held high. He is the highest run getter for his team and has the best economy among bowlers (save for Ajantha Mendis who played just one game). Moreover, he was almost single-handedly responsible for 3 of his teams last 4 wins. I don’t know if SRK and John Buchanan love him but his last effort has ensured that cricket lovers across the country are in love with him all over again.


Talking of SRK, this was also a day when both he and Dr Mallya managed to end up on the winning side. Both of them should take credit for their teams’ wins having motivated their teams in their own unique ways. SRK’s SMS seems to have done the trick for Kolkata. Airtel will soon be coming out with a new Value Added Service – receive motivational SMS’ from Shahrukh Khan. As for RCB, there seems to be some correlation in Dr Mallya having put a lid on his mouth and the team winning two games on the trot. This is called silent motivation.

"SRK’s SMS seems to have done the trick for Kolkata.
Airtel will soon be coming out with a new VAS –
receive motivational SMS’ from Shahrukh Khan
"

There was a lot of talk about Hyderabad being one bowler short and it costing the side the game. But no one seems to be talking about the side missing a batsman or two. The side was in control of things till they introduced the fifth bowler. But the side were also on top till they lost their fourth wicket. How can the side end up short on both bowlers and batsmen when it is playing its full quota of 11 players and has a wicketkeeper who is good enough to play as a specialist batsman? This is because DC plays a few dummies that neither bowl nor bat and are there to just make up the numbers. A player whose father happens to be an influential cricket administrator is a case in point. After all the league has to maintain its nepotism quota.

Award for the best runner between wickets goes to

Wasim Jaffer for managing to get run-out twice in the same game. He wins the Dada-Inzy award for best runner in the IPL.

1992 World Cup revisited

RCB opened their bowling with Anil Kumble. Martin Crowe seems to have provided some input finally

Talk of a twenty-20 hangover

IPL Participants Ricky Ponting, Jacob Oram, Ross Taylor, Shivnaraine Chanderpaul, Brendan McCullum, Dwayne Bravo and Andrew Symonds seem to have made the transition from twenty-20 to test cricket with effortless ease. They have all been in splendid form and don’t seem to be suffering from a Twenty-20 hangover.

A story of two Australian coaches

John Buchanan has come out strongly against all the praise being showered on Shane Warne for being a great coach and a great leader. He says that one IPL doesn’t prove anything. Will Mr Buchanan care to check Shane Warne’s county record with Hampshire and also try talking to a guy called Kevin Pietersen about Shane Warne’s motivational skills? Once he’s done that he’ll be as talkative as Dr Mallya has been off late.

Dude of the Day – Umar Gul was a deserving Man of the Match but Dada is the Dude of the Day. Having faced a lot of flak from all quarters, he responded with a brilliant innings. His unbeaten effort ensured that KKR’s weak batting managed one of the best chases in the IPL.

Duds of the Day – All the beneficiaries of nepotism in this tournament. The various quotas allow for some free-loaders in each side. Forget domestic players, some lucky kids are also getting a chance to rub shoulders with the greats of the game. And for this special privilege they are the duds of the day

Royal Challengers Have Fun, Discover Winning!

The match between the Royal Challengers and the Deccan Chargers the other day was very interesting to watch. Both the teams are out of the tournament, and they were playing for “pride”. But there was a definite difference between the approach of the two teams. It seemed like the Royal Challengers were out there on the field having fun, and were enjoying their cricket. They didn’t seem to be under any pressure to prove anything to anybody. All the fights with Mallya in the public seem to have brought about a change in their attitude.

The new Bangalore Royal Challengers Mantra seems to be:


“Oh, What The Hell!”

And you know what, it seems to be working. With all the pressure gone, they can now put everything behind them and start to enjoy the cricket. Dravid, Kohli, Kallis, White were all out there timepassing and having fun with the cricket.

If you observe the Rajasthan Royals, you can get the exact same vibe from them too. They came into the tournament not having to prove anything, and warne is a great leader in that respect. He’s told everybody - Don’t worry about what everyone says. Go out there and have fun. And its obvious that the Rajasthan Royals come out there to enjoy themselves. I’m sure Grahame Smith is having the same influence on the team. Smith is a total party guy and very funny, and I’m sure he’s been a great inspirational influence on the batsmen.

"If you observe the Rajasthan Royals, you can get the exact same vibe
from them too. They came into the tournament not having to prove
anything just like RC in their last match
"

The KnightRiders also seem to suffer from this problem. Dada seems to be under enormous stress to prove himself in Twenty20, and the tentativeness shows in his batting. Contrast Ganguly’s attitude to Sehwag’s. Sehwag has this I-don’t-care-about-your-experts-I-just-want-to-hit-my-sixers attitude, and that has helped the Delhi Daredevils.

The good news is that the teams are starting to realize this, and they’ll be remembering this when they all come back next season.

CSK Coach doesn’t hope much from Dhoni & co.

There had been a lot of talk about Team Chennai being one of the most balanced sides of the IPL when the tournament started 40 days back. The myth, though, has been shattered along the course of the tournament and even their coach Kepler Wessels believes that with the team that he had, he won’t be entirely disappointed if they didn’t make the semis.


"If at the beginning of the tournament somebody told me that we would be playing the last game for a place in the semis, I would have been more than happy. We were surely not one of the fancied teams,’’ Wessels told, as the team members tried to come to terms with the defeat against Team Jaipur on Saturday.

"Even if we don’t make the semifinals, we won’t feel that the world has to come to an end,’’ Wessels said, adding that the team has always shown the resolve to fight. "All the boys have put in their 100 per cent and if we make the last-four stage, it will be exceptional,’’ he added.

"But he didn’t want to go into the controversy whether
the owners made some mistakes while choosing the team
"

But why did it go so terribly wrong after the super start? "It’s very difficult to replace players of the calibre of Matthew Hayden, Michael Hussey and Jacob Oram,’’ he said. But he didn’t want to go into the controversy whether the owners made some mistakes while choosing the team. "See, I was probably the last one to be appointed. I tried to do my job to the best of my abilities,’’ Wessels said.

He, though, conceded that the biggest problem with his team was that it didn’t click as a unit. "For a team to win consistently, all three departments have to come good. I don’t think we could do that,’’ the South African said, citing the example of the loss against Bangalore Royal Challengers.

"In that game, we bowled and fielded exceptionally well, but while batting, suddenly we got over-cautious and let go our position of strength. We should have won easy,’’ there was disappointment in the South African’s voice.

"See, I was probably the last one to be appointed.
I tried to do my job to the best of my abilities
"

Now it’s time to look forward to the game against Team Hyderabad. "They have some special players in their team and will just come out in the last game all guns blazing. We’ve to ensure that we, too, take the field a relaxed lot, otherwise, it can really get tough,’’ Wessels said.

Even as the going has got tough, the former South African captain was all praise for his skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for the way he led the team. "For the first four games, probably it was easy for him. But even when it got tough, Dhoni didn’t lose his head and stuck to his task. The way he has led this side, I believe Dhoni will fit in well as India’s long-term captain,’’ he said.

What Chennai and Mumbai need to do

Having suffered losses in their previous two encounters, both Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians haven't yet been cemented their place in the semi-finals. Here we take a look at what each team needs to do





Chennai Super Kings

When Mahendra Singh Dhoni leads his boys against last-placed Deccan Chargers in Hyderabad, he would expect nothing but a win which will ensure his team's spot in the final four. Chennai are currently on 14 points, and victory in their final match will see them jump to 16, and whatever Mumbai does, Chennai will still be through as Delhi Daredevils finished on 15.

Things, however, will become complex if Chennai lose to Deccan. Chennai will then be stuck on 14, and their way through will depend on Mumbai's results. If Mumbai lose their final two games, they will end on 12 points, two shy of Chennai. If Mumbai win one of the remaining two, they would need to suffer a big defeat if Chennai are to qualify for the semi-finals.

If, due to rain or any other circumstance, a result is not possible in Hyderabad, then Chennai will reach 15 points. To go through, they will then need Mumbai to lose one of their games.



Mumbai Indians
For Mumbai, currently on 12 points, two wins - against Rajasthan Royals and Bangalore Royal Challengers - will guarantee them a place in the semi-finals irrespective of what Chennai do. If they lose one, Chennai must suffer a reverse in their last game against Deccan. Also, Mumbai must ensure they do not lose by significant margins, or they could squander the net run-rate advantage they have over Chennai.

In case Mumbai win one and get one point from the other (if the match is abandoned), they will make the cut, while a loss and one point from the other or two losses will result in Chennai and Delhi joining Rajasthan and Kings XI Punjab in the semi-finals.

It takes two to tango

They are as different as chalk and cheese; desert and the deep sea and perhaps Laurel and Hardy. But whenever they have come together, they have been as lethal as pair of well-oiled cannon.

Graeme Smith and Swapnil Asnodkar come from completely different backgrounds, but the Team Jaipur openers have been what Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag have been to Delhi Daredevils. Well, almost.

Smith had perhaps never heard of Asnodkar till he came to Jaipur to join the team. And the Goan, for his part, had perhaps never dreamt that he would open with the South African captain. And yet, when they did come together for the first time, against Kolkata Knight Riders on May 1, it was the unknown Asnodkar who grabbed the spotlight.

"We always knew he was good,’’ Team Jaipur skipper Shane Warne said after Asnodkar’s 34-ball 60 turned out to be the match-winning performance. That was the first time this tiny Goan came into the limelight. That, despite Asnodkar accumulating 640 runs in the 2007-2008 Ranji Trophy season, that included an unbeaten 254 against the Railways. The Indian Premier League has been good to some unknown faces of Indian cricket and 24-year-old Asnodkar has capitalized on that.

"Even though Asnodkar has gained most from these associations,
Smith too would have relished these occasions. In fact,
quite often, Smith has played second-fiddle to Asnodkar
"


Winning partnerships are always a learning process and when Smith returns after the IPL, he might feel little wiser too. The pair has already had two 100-plus stands and another worth 78 runs. Even though Asnodkar has gained most from these associations, Smith too would have relished these occasions. In fact, quite often, Smith has played second-fiddle to Asnodkar. The tall well-built Smith towers over the diminutive Asnodkar, but when it comes to the unorthodox shots that are so useful in T20, the South African has been too willing to let the Goan have the upper-hand.

Smith, who is suffering from a pulled hamstring, might miss Monday’s game against Mumbai Indians.

Talking about Smith, the South Africa skipper has flourished rather quietly. Even as the contributions of Shane Watson and Yusuf Pathan are being hailed, it is quite interesting to note that Smith had been at the other end on most of the occasions when they blossomed. Smith has been associated in most of Team Jaipur’s big partnerships. Talk about consistency and Smith is your man in Jaipur. He is fourth on the list of run-getters and already has three half-centuries. He has scored more runs than any player of Team Jaipur.

"With Smithy at the top, we are safe,” Warne had said earlier. The vastly experienced Aussie would know. In fact, Warne had even gone to the extent of saying that not having Smith in their first match against Delhi Daredevils was a major cause for their defeat. The South African has gone on to prove that his skipper was right.

24th may – A day when history was almost made and a candidate for Indian coach

The great Marathas could never capture the crown of Delhi in their proud history. On May 24, 2008, they laid siege again under the leadership of the new Chattrapati – Sachin Tendulkar and it looked as if history was in the making. They were thwarted, however, by the troops recruited from the South (Karthik and Maharoof). Sachin and his men were glorious even in defeat; quite unlike the last big battle the Marathas fought in the northern plains – the humiliating defeat in the third battle of Panipat.

Virender Sehwag and team have kept their semi-final hopes alive and have good reason to feel confident of making the next stage. For them to get knocked out now, the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings will have to win all their remaining games.

The Daredevils have other positives to take from this game. Their middle and lower-order finally fired and delivered in a situation where they generally tend to crumble and roll over. This win was also their first against somebody who is not a minnow (RCB and DC) in their last 9 games. The team will be in a very positive state of mind should they line up for the semis.

"Now, the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings
will have to win all their remaining games
"


Mumbai lost a thriller for the second game running and have every reason to feel despondent. They also have the harder task of needing to beat both the Royals (quite a proposition) and the Royal Challengers in their two remaining games. But they have been playing good cricket overall and a little bit of luck or pluck could see them through. The veteran presence of Sachin, Sanath and Shaun will come in extremely handy

I wrote in the Daily Dose of 18/05/2008 that somehow Chennai manage to win all their tight games. They were either super lucky or simply super cool in pressure. Whatever it was, they are no longer the same. For the second home game running, they lost a match they were in control of till a very late stage. They have the easier task of just beating the last-placed Chargers but the Super Kings have lately developed a habit of making life difficult for

A mouth watering match-up in the making

Forget Warne against Sachin, I want to see Sohail Tanvir go against Jayasuriya and Tendulkar. Tanvir has been ‘awkwardly’ outstanding and extremely difficult to get away; at the beginning or at the end of the innings. Jayasuriya is back to his 1996 World Cup best. This contest will set the tone for this high stakes game.

Note to the BCCI

Please keep a close watch on Shane Warne. He continues to get the best out of his guys. Kamran Akmal and Pankaj Singh came in for this game and made their skipper proud. Employing him in some capacity with Indian Cricket should be priority number one. And make him the coach when Gary Kirsten gets sick of the Indian board. If anyone can make India true world beaters, it is Shane Warne. He’s managed to get even Munaf Patel motivated and kicked up.

A special word of praise for the Mumbai Indians Management

Getting Dwayne Smith and Andre Nel as late additions has been quite a coup. Compare that to the reinforcement jobs done by the CSK (Kapudegara), DC (Chamara Silva) and KKR (Brad Hodge). Getting the big guns is the easier task. Making key additions late in the season is the hallmark of well-run teams. Just check the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA – 4 time winners in the last 10 years.

Dudes of the Day – The Delhi middle-order with the exception of Dilshan. Dinesh Karthik was the man of the moment but key contributions came from Tiwary and Maharoof also. In a do-or-die game when the big three failed, these guys got the job done.

Duds of the Day - CSK. They are hell-bent on giving their fans sleepless nights. Home game, player of the tournament Shane Watson sits out, 35 required off 18 with Dhoni and Morkel at the wicket and they still lose. MS Dhoni’s superstar status in Chennai could take a real beating if these guys miss out on the semis.

Week 5 – Rajasthan and Punjab continue to dominate

5th week of IPL, this week Punjab became second team to quality for the semi-final along with Rajasthan Royals, who had qualified previous week itself. One of the favorite to win the league, Chennai Superkings struggled throughout the week. First they were humbled by Bangalore in a low scoring game and lost a close match to Rajasthan.

Player of the week:
The major influencer of the week was not a cricketer, but in fact it was rain-god. Knight Riders were the most affected by the same. Their do-or-die encounter against Delhi was washed out and their previous game against Chennai was decided by D/L method. Coming to cummulative performance the orange stayed with Gautam Gambhir throughout the week, but the purple cap moved from RP Singh to Sreesanth and came to Sohail Tanveer yesterday.

Match of the week:
It is definitely has to be nail biting encounter bewteen Mumbai Indians and King XI Punjab. Chasing 190 to win, Mumbai Indians very cruising one stage. But they lost 3 quick wickets in a span 6 balls and match went down to the wire and came down to 2 runs to score in last ball. The Jonty Rhodes style run out by Yuvraj sealed 1-run win for Punjab ending six consecutive matches winning streak of Mumbai Indians.

Rajasthan continued to lead:
Like previous weeks Rajasthan maintained their lead in the points table. They don’t seem to have any mercy for the opposition. Whenever the opposition has a sniff of victory, anyone of the Royals players ‘pulls rabbit out of the hat’ taking game away from the opposition. In the match against Kolkata, in between brilliant spell of Ganguly, Yusuf Pathan of Rajasthan struck two consequetive sixes to change whole equation. Similarly, in yesterday’s match Chennai were fancying themselves to win. But Sohail Tanveer with creative field placing made captain Dhoni try a risky shot in turn taking his wicket at a crucial juncture.

Rahul Dravid responds to his critics:
Royal Challengers stunned Chennai Superkings in a low scoring encounter. The match was wake-up call for Chennai and opened up the points table. After the win Ramiz Raja complimented Rahul Dravid for his excellent captaincy. To which Dravid replied “well, I’ve done the same thing that I did in the previous games. Nothing special. You are complimenting me only because we won”. He went on to say, “I think luck plays a big part in these games. In every game, you do the same things. Sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. Today luck was with us so we won”. Also in the post match press conference Dravid accepted frankly that he is already 35 and not young enough to adapt to the format unlike Sehwags and Gambhirs.

Controversies:

The major controversaries surronded Shah Rukh Khan this week. First there were speculation in the media about a rift with team captain Ganguly. SRK seem to have requested Ganguly to get entertainment tax waiver from West-Bengal CM, on account of him close to the CM. In addition to this Anti Corruption And Security Unit of the ICC told SRK to stay away from the team and its players during the match. To this SRK responded

“I have paid my players to win. Will I pay them now to lose? This is illogical”.

The actor decided to keep himself away from the team in a crucial match and instead decided to send a motivational SMS to all his team members. Unfortunately, the SMS didn’t had any effect as the match was abandoned due to rain.

The captain of Rajasthan Royal - Shane Warne was issued a warning by a NGO for allegedly smoking in a IPL match.

The two British(Afro) cheergirls of Kings XI Punjab team were asked by their management to leave. The victims charged the management for racial abuse as they may have thrown out because of their skin colour.

What’s on card for next week:
The last two semi-final spots have to be decided between Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. Delhi kept their hopes alive after beating Mumbai yesterday on account of matching winning knock by Dinesh Karthik. After this result, Mumbai and Chennai have to win their remaining in order to qualify for semis. So, the matches Mumbai v/s Bangalore and Chennai v/s Deccan which were initially speculated to be dead-rubber a few days back have become important because of must win situation.

Watson, Warne Top MVP List, Marsh Best VFM

Adam Gilchrist has dropped out of the top 10 for the first time and M S Dhoni, who had forced his way into that elite list last week has also had to yield place. Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan are back, while Dwayne Bravo's match-winning act for Mumbai Indians put him also into the top bracket.


Shaun Marsh, meanwhile, has consolidated his lead at the top of the value-for-money index with Balaji far behind him at No 2, but well ahead of third placed team-mate Manpreet Gony. These calculations have been done taking into account performances in all matches up to Friday's victory of Mohali over Hyderabad.

There's been a considerable reshuffle at the top of the MVP list. Though Shane Watson stays at No.1, his captain Shane Warne has now moved up to the second spot. Interestingly, it is now Mumbai and not Jaipur that has three players in the top 10 - Sanath Jayasuriya in fourth place, Shaun Pollock in eighth and Bravo at the tail end. Delhi and Mohali have two each and Hyderabad a lone presence in Rohit Sharma at the top. The fact that Chennai has none - M S Dhoni is their highest ranked player at No. 12 and the only one in the top 20 - seems to suggest that the Super Kings have got to where they have through more of a team effort than others similarly placed in the league.

"Bangalore does not have even a single player in
the top 20 indicates that none of its players
has been able to perform consistently
"

The fact that Bangalore does not have even a single player in the top 20 indicates that none of its players has been able to perform consistently. Captain Rahul Dravid has come closest to doing so and is ranked No. 11 among the batsmen, but the team's dismal performance means that he loses a lot of captaincy points.

As for the bowlers, despite having played only seven matches till Friday, Sohail Tanvir has moved to the top, ahead of Glenn McGrath, Irfan Pathan, S Sreesanth and Warne. Another man making waves in the bowling is Sri Lankan Farveez Maharoof who is at No. 10 and climbing, despite having played only 8 matches.

What does all of this imply? We have said it in the past, but it bears repetition. The inaugural IPL saw huge sums of money being splurged on a few stars and relatively small amounts (though still beyond anything anybody could have imagined pre-IPL) on buying up the lesser known workmen who would make up the team.

"If you are a betting man, don't bet on the same thing
happening next time
"

If you are a betting man, don't bet on the same thing happening next time. Franchisees ought to have learnt that while established stars may more often than not perform better than up and coming youngsters, the gap between the two is nowhere near as huge as the differentials in the bids would suggest. Will that mean the stars get more conservative amounts when the chance to bid for them next comes up? Or will it mean that even journeymen can count on getting bigger bucks? Your guess is as good as ours.

Bollywood sentiments do not work for cricket

In the end the rains ensured that even the mathematical chance of making it to the semi-finals slipped away. Shah Rukh Khan will never know if his real-life chin-up sms would have had the same effect as the reel-life speech in ‘Chak De! India’. Kolkata Knight Riders are well and truly out of the IPL.

But blaming the rain would be erroneous. Captain Sourav Ganguly’s team played with plenty of heart, especially in front of their adrenalin-raising home crowd at Eden Gardens. But their think-tank, led by coach John Buchanan, showed little understanding of the strengths of its own team.

Undeniably, they have been bedeviled by bad luck at least on two counts. One, explosive West Indian hitter Chris Gayle being injured and unable to play even a single game. Two, losing the most proven Twenty20 specialist -Australia’s Brad Hodge - who was unexpectedly recalled for the Test side’s West Indies tour following vice-captain Michael Clarke’s family troubles.

"SRK will never know if his real-life sms
would have had the same effect as the
reel-life speech in ‘Chak De! India’ "

But that apart, many of Ganguly’s on-field troubles also have been self-inflicted, arising from non-percentage selections. The think-tank put its money on some rookies overlooking others with better credentials. Few teams have been as muddle-headed in selecting its playing XI as the Knight Riders, evident in the way they cluelessly tampered with the opening pair.

In their first 12 games, the Knights tried out seven opening combos; the Chopra-Hodge being the most baffling. Check out this with the numericals indicating the match number: McCullum-Ganguly: 1,3,4. McCullum-Saha: 2. Butt-Ganguly: 5. Hafeez-Ganguly: 6. Chopra-Hodge: 7. Butt-Chopra: 8, 9, 10. Butt-Hafeez: 11, 12. In all, they have only one 40-plus opening stand.

The team seemed to have little respect for the skills of Umar Gul. In the Twenty20 World Cup last year, the Pakistani paceman was the top wicket-taker, taking 13 wickets in seven games with a fantastic economy rate of 5.60. Yet, the moment Shoaib Akhtar came in, he was dumped.

Akhtar, in his inimitable style, won one game for the Knight Riders but broke down two games later. The KKR thinktank made Gul an either/or issue with Akhtar. The truth is that he is far more value both in money terms as well as in performance to both Akhtar and Ishant Sharma.

"They seemed to have little respect for the skills of Umar Gul.
In the Twenty20 World Cup, He was the top wicket-taker.
The KKR made Gul an either/or issue with Akhtar
"

Gul could have easily been preferred for Hafeez, who looks incapable of learning from mistakes. Whenever Gul played, KKR looked a potent bowling unit. He also took care of bowling at the death. Gul first played in KKR’s match 5 against Team Jaipur and took three for 31, followed by two for 27 against Team Mohali.

He then returned with none for 30 in three overs against Bangalore Royal Challengers - the only game where he did not bowl well - and one for 43 against Deccan Chargers. He was dropped thereafter but came back to deliver a crucial two for 30 spell that ensured his team’s unlikely victory over Team Jaipur. But it proved too late. The underutilisation of Gul is a crucial factor in KKR’s misery.

That apart, sending back the hard-hitting Cheteshwar Pujara and a compact middle-order bat like Yashpal Singh without giving them a run when batting was the primary cause of the team’s worries. In fact, a shaky top order was KKR’s worst problem. And yet their last foreign signing is Ajantha Mendis, the talented spinner from Sri Lanka. Talk about mixed priorities.

Karthik keeps Delhi’s hopes alive

In a do-or-die encounter, chasing 176 to win and formidable top order already in the pavilion, Delhi Daredevils had a mountain to climb. Mumbai Indians were fancying themselves since the brittle middle-order of Daredevils had not really fired in the tournament. In comes Dinesh Karthik and with partnership with Manoj Tiwari and Mahroof seals the much needed victory for his team.

Earlier in the day Mumbai Indians after getting off to a blazing start by Jaysuriya lose their momentum in the middle overs, courtesy brilliant bowling by Yo Mahesh. The youngster totally took 4 wickets which included precious scalp of Sachin Tendulkar. However, Mumbai Indians managed to set a competitive total on account of brilliant batting by Robin Utthappa. In final overs, his cheeky shots took Glenn McGrath by surprise.

The victory keeps Delhi Daredevils in the contention for the semi-final. Now it’s all on the performance of Chennai and Mumbai. If these two team win their remaining matches, then the IPL league will be over for the Daredevils.

A suicidal stroke is sweeping the IPL

On a tense Friday night, Rohit Sharma did it and perished; a couple of days earlier, Suresh Raina did it too and paid a similar price. Robin Uthappa indulges in the same mischief regularly and still doesn't learn his lesson. Why, the other day, even Shaun Pollock opted for the same trick. There was only one difference though from this seasoned campaigner: he went for the other side but, not surprisingly, ended with the same fatal result.

Yes, a new virus is sweeping across the cricket firmament: you can call it the sweep, the scoop, the paddle or the mother of all gaffes: the reverse sweep but it is the latest scourge. Thanks to the IPL, batsmen are falling prey to it faster than a bunch of little, gullible boys.

Every big tournament, of course, throws up a new ball, a new shot or a new fielding technique. As the players made peace with the T-20 format, it was inevitable that some innovation would come along too.

Given the nature of this game, a destroy-or-destruct streak screaming from each gene, it is fitting that it had to be a suicidal stroke.

"Every big tournament, of course, throws up a new ball,
a new shot or a new fielding technique"

So why are batsmen, young and old, playing it so unabashedly? Why aren't they realizing that the plusses-minuses ratio is skewed substantially in favour of the latter? Or is there so much stress on boundary-balls that an element of desperation, even madness, has crept into their lexicon?

You can blame it on the format. In One-dayers, there is as much scope for horizontal strokes as there is for vertical, or indeed, front of the wicket shots. In fact, the glide to the third man (equally risky) was the byproduct of the 50-50 game.

Many perished trying it but they never gave it up. Surprisingly, the glide wasn't even a productive shot as the third man ensured it didn't fetch more than a single. The T-20's suicidal stroke is at least potentially more rewarding. The player looks macho and the shot exhilarating when it comes off; but when it doesn't he looks like a fool.

"So why are batsmen, young and old, playing it so unabashedly?
Why aren't they realizing that the plusses-minuses ratio
is skewed substantially in favour of the latter?
"

In a way, you can call it evolution. The bowlers have understood that anything short, long or wide will be plundered over the rope; there is no scope for error here. So more and more are resorting to yorkers and slower but fuller deliveries. It is the only weapon left in their hands now. The idea, of course, is to avoid being deposited over long-on, long-off, mid-wicket or covers. The batsmen, in turn, have to improvise. As the ball becomes soft and energy drains from their shoulders, they have to once in a while play a less-physical shot which also yields the maximum. With fine-leg up, thanks to the need for men to patrol the boundary in front of the wicket, this is the only lucrative option.

It works when the ball is just short of fuller-length; it is even better if it is drifting down the leg side. Either way, miss it and you have either wasted a delivery or you are goner. Obviously, the stroke is laden with danger but since when has that stopped batsmen? Boys will be boys and will continue to do it. Until they find some other way of doing it.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Karthik keeps Delhi’s hopes alive

In a do-or-die encounter, chasing 176 to win and formidable top order already in the pavilion, Delhi Daredevils had a mountain to climb. Mumbai Indians were fancying themselves since the brittle middle-order of Daredevils had not really fired in the tournament. In comes Dinesh Karthik and with partnership with Manoj Tiwari and Mahroof seals the much needed victory for his team.

Earlier in the day Mumbai Indians after getting off to a blazing start by Jaysuriya lose their momentum in the middle overs, courtesy brilliant bowling by Yo Mahesh. The youngster totally took 4 wickets which included precious scalp of Sachin Tendulkar. However, Mumbai Indians managed to set a competitive total on account of brilliant batting by Robin Utthappa. In final overs, his cheeky shots took Glenn McGrath by surprise.

The victory keeps Delhi Daredevils in the contention for the semi-final. Now it’s all on the performance of Chennai and Mumbai. If these two team win their remaining matches, then the IPL league will be over for the Daredevils.

A suicidal stroke is sweeping the IPL

On a tense Friday night, Rohit Sharma did it and perished; a couple of days earlier, Suresh Raina did it too and paid a similar price. Robin Uthappa indulges in the same mischief regularly and still doesn't learn his lesson. Why, the other day, even Shaun Pollock opted for the same trick. There was only one difference though from this seasoned campaigner: he went for the other side but, not surprisingly, ended with the same fatal result.

Yes, a new virus is sweeping across the cricket firmament: you can call it the sweep, the scoop, the paddle or the mother of all gaffes: the reverse sweep but it is the latest scourge. Thanks to the IPL, batsmen are falling prey to it faster than a bunch of little, gullible boys.

Every big tournament, of course, throws up a new ball, a new shot or a new fielding technique. As the players made peace with the T-20 format, it was inevitable that some innovation would come along too.

Given the nature of this game, a destroy-or-destruct streak screaming from each gene, it is fitting that it had to be a suicidal stroke.

So why are batsmen, young and old, playing it so unabashedly? Why aren't they realizing that the plusses-minuses ratio is skewed substantially in favour of the latter? Or is there so much stress on boundary-balls that an element of desperation, even madness, has crept into their lexicon?

You can blame it on the format. In One-dayers, there is as much scope for horizontal strokes as there is for vertical, or indeed, front of the wicket shots. In fact, the glide to the third man (equally risky) was the byproduct of the 50-50 game.

Many perished trying it but they never gave it up. Surprisingly, the glide wasn't even a productive shot as the third man ensured it didn't fetch more than a single. The T-20's suicidal stroke is at least potentially more rewarding. The player looks macho and the shot exhilarating when it comes off; but when it doesn't he looks like a fool.

In a way, you can call it evolution. The bowlers have understood that anything short, long or wide will be plundered over the rope; there is no scope for error here. So more and more are resorting to yorkers and slower but fuller deliveries. It is the only weapon left in their hands now. The idea, of course, is to avoid being deposited over long-on, long-off, mid-wicket or covers. The batsmen, in turn, have to improvise. As the ball becomes soft and energy drains from their shoulders, they have to once in a while play a less-physical shot which also yields the maximum. With fine-leg up, thanks to the need for men to patrol the boundary in front of the wicket, this is the only lucrative option.

It works when the ball is just short of fuller-length; it is even better if it is drifting down the leg side. Either way, miss it and you have either wasted a delivery or you are goner. Obviously, the stroke is laden with danger but since when has that stopped batsmen? Boys will be boys and will continue to do it. Until they find some other way of doing it.

Chennai SuperKings song

What a song !!!!!

"Enga captain Dhoni
Enga bowler Goni
Dhariyam irrunda vaa nee
Unga munjilla saani
varran eppo Ntini
Avuankku neenga theeni
Ethu T Rajender Paani
Enga bowler Murali
Avan ball varum surili
Yedupan unga gilli
bowling pooduvan Amarnath
Catch pidipan Badrinath
Enga Alrounder Oram
ungala kattuvan oram
Enga hitter Hayden
Avanukku pottu paaru Maiden
Avan Addichaa neega done done
Enga batsman Hussey
Avanukku run na pasi
enga batsman Raina
avan six addipan naina
Enga batsman Fleming
avanoda six four coming
Anga paaru Mani drumming
Enga bowler Balaji
Ungala akkuvan bajji
Enga death bowler sharma
Ungala akkuvan kurma
Enga allrounder Albie
Ungala akkuvan jilebi
Yenga Keeper Patel
Neenga yellan ambel
Enga allrounder Kapugedera
Naanga winners podiumla poda poorom dera
Enga ambassider Vijay
Madras (Chennai) Super kings (stars) JAI JAI"