There were a lot of expectations before the semi-final between Royals and Daredevils. Everybody was looking forward to a contest between an explosive batting side versus simple the best side in IPL. In the end, Royals showed that their consistency is just no fluke. First scoring 192 against the likes of McGrath and Asif and then bundling Delhi out for 80 odd runs, proved that they thoroughly deserved this victory.
There are a couple of points I want to mention before we forget about this very forgettable match (for Delhi fans atleast). Why did Sehwag chose to ball after winning the toss? I always thought, on a good batting track, in a knock-out game, one should always bat. Asif came in after injury/rest so the bowling was always going to be tough. I know it could have gone either way and Warne admitted in the end about his bowling decision, had he won the toss but it is just that defensive frame of mind that allows you to send opposition in and make total mess of it. Batting second is never easy in a pressure situation. The other thing was the bowling changes. Mahroof was first change but could have been used as the opening bowler. He had the best chance to rattle top order of Royals. In the end, opening stand made a lot of difference. Veeru himself did not bowl a single ball in the match. What is the use of his huge experience. As far as I am concerned, its the bowling that let Delhi down and not the batting. In a semi-final like this, 160 would have been enough leave alone 190 plus. Well its all over for Delhi now. They can take rest, play international cricket and come back strong next time. Till then, good bye to them.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Great match coming up tomorrow. There is always a Semi-final jinx in any sport. Rajasthan being the top team in the tournament are the favorites but should be cautious in the big game.
Delhi on the other hand has lot to prove. Almost the next best team at the start of the tournament but lost its way. I think they are a little weak on the bowling department.
No matter who wins, it sure gonna be a cracker.
Watch out for ...
- Tanvir against Delhi's openers, Sehwag and Gambhir.
- Glenn McGrath. Rajasthan were able to score only 33 runs off his eight overs in the league games.
- Yusuf Pathan and Shane Watson, who form the mainstay of Rajasthan's power-hitting arsenal.
- "It's been an interesting journey with the Daredevils. Basically, we have been in three finals already to get in to the semi-finals. If that doesn't prepare you for a semi-final, then nothing else will. To get through three must-win games steels the team. It will be a huge advantage for Viru and his guys. Dennis Lillee, Delhi's cricket advisor on the team's preparations.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Nice article at cricinfo.com about 5 sensational finds of IPL.
Shaun Marsh,Luke Pomersbach,Shane Watson, Yusuf Pathan and Piyush Chawla have been the revelations in the IPL tournament. They have simply been match winners on more than few occasions. Surely this will help countries like Australia to identify new talent. I like the way Shaun Marsh has played. With only 10 innings in his IPL stats, he is already number one batsman on the tournament, surpassing Gautam Gambhir of Delhi. Shaun Marsh has 25 6's where as Marsh has only 8. Marsh has a staggering average of 74. That says it all. Australia will surely pick him. Speaking about new finds, India and Australia have been main beneficiaries here. Other countries have had known players in IPL. They have either lived up to their reputations (Jayasuriya, Morkel, Watson,Sohail Tanvir) or have gone nowhere (Murali, Misbah,Afridi,Akhtar etc.). No matter how much money factor is involved in IPL, it has helped in finding new talent as well.
Monday, May 26, 2008
IPL keeps on delivering high quality matches such as the one between Rajasthan and Mumbai. It was a last ball clincher where Rajasthan Royals again proved their supremacy in IPL. While IPL marches towards the semis and finals, there are 2 very interesting test series going on. WI-AUS and ENG-NZ. Both the series produced fantastic matches over the weekend. Test match cricket was at its best. On one side, NZ was ahead for almost the entire match until Strauss scored the match turning century and on the other side, Australia proved yet again, why they are the best. Interestingly both the test matches had interesting first innings scenarios. I have always believed that team securing first innings lead of around 100 runs increase their chance of winning by a great deal. Australia won by 95 runs and their first innings lead was around 129. Things could have been different, had WI scored around 100 more runs. But ENG and NZ both worked hard to defy this logic. NZ had a lead of 180 runs!!! still lost the match. Obviously their batting reversed roles in second innings. Its because of matches like these and this, that make me an ardent follower of Test match cricket.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Here is an interesting perspective of a blogger with lot of Pakistani talk(whine) in it. The blogger tracks how many Pakistani players were selected viz-a-viz players from other nations. Here is the post.
There are lot of numbers there to talk about, but in this short version of the game numbers hardly matter. What matters the most is - whether your contribution was match winning or not. Lets say if Shoaib Malik had managed to restrict Punjab in that final over, I am sure he would have been a hero by now. Same with Asif too. He is completely out of steam right now. He is trying too many things. He numbers are still looking OK. But he has never been a match winner for Delhi after first couple of games. Afridi is not a bowling all rounder but a batting all rounder. If he is not doing good for Deccan with the bat, people are going to notice that. Again not a match winning innings.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Balaji's home ground return to "limelight cricket" was sensational when he took 5 wickets against Punjab including a hat-trick. This is the 14th in T20 and a thoroughly deserving man got it. He was one of my favorite bowlers back in 2004 when he played a marvelous series against Pakistan. He almost single handedly won India the series.Cricinfo says:
Lakshmipathy Balaji has gone through an entire career in five years - burst onto the scene, won a series, hailed as the next big thing, been injured, recovered, been dropped, injured again, disappeared from public memory - but was yet to play a big match on his home ground. So it was only fitting the famous smile that won over Pakistan in 2004 could manage a grand return in his beloved Chennai.Balaji's spell of 4 overs 24 runs and 5 wickets was the differentiator in a yet again close match. Chennai's team seems to be coming back on track. While they lost Hayden and Hussey in batting department, they have got Balaji and Morkel as their strike bowlers. This means that Joginder sharma may not get a chance now to play in IPL.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Delhi Daredevils v Chennai Super Kings, IPL, Delhi
- Bad decision by Sehwag to ask Malik to bowl the last over. 15 runs came off that over. Sehwag is a better bowler than Malik on any given day. IMO, he should have bowled the last over. Delhi could still have lost the game but Sehwag would have been a better bet. This is the second loss for Delhi and loosing momentum. Meanwhile the match was closely contested and was won on the last ball. It was a great knock by Gambhi again.
- Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan scored brilliant half centuries for Delhi but Chennai kept their cool till the end and saw their team hit the winning runs on the last ball
- Also read 'We missed a fifth bowler' - Sehwag
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
From Cricinfo.com Lord's is getting floodlights finally. Such a beautiful ground and there has never been a day/night game of cricket there. Finally the authorities realize that the future of cricket demands lot of changes. MCC has always thought that lights are not necessary as they pose annoyance to the locals around the stadium (light pollution???). I wonder why the locals don't have problems with Football stadium lights. May be the design. Nevertheless, we will see lights in Lord's and it is something I am really looking forward to.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
I have always liked Sangakkara's short writings here and there. Always full of insight and a true player's perspective. In his latest article in cricinfo, he talks about his experience in IPL and the interaction with domestic players. He also talks about playing side by side with international stars whom he had played as opponents (like Brett Lee). I totally agree with him about the positives that are coming out of IPL. The other day I saw Shaun Pollock interacting with Dwane Bravo during the crucial overs and wonder how good the sports can be in making people friendly and tollerant. I think this will also eliminate some of the bad blood. Recent series have shown that things could get really ugly and there were lot of forgettable instances. I hope things will get better. Here are some excerpts from Sangakkara's article.
Interesting tid bids here on cricinfo. My favorite of the day are these stats:
Stats and trivia
- White once held the record for the fastest Twenty20 century, off 55 balls.
- Irfan Pathan is currently the leading wicket-taker in the IPL with 11 wickets.
- Yuvraj's six catches is the highest in the IPL so far.
- White once held the record for the fastest Twenty20 century, off 55 balls.
More on Cricinfo - Punjab seek to extend winning streak
Bangalore has been showing some recovery (although their stats don't show that) but its not easy. Specially in the wake of some matches like today against Yuvi led Punjab Kings who have really bounced back in IPL with a bang. Shaun Marsh has been a new find for them. Bangalore on the other hand is playing minus Boucher, who has not done anything wrong but I guess they have to accommodate T20 Pakistani specialist Misbah-ul-haq. I agree with the decision but not at the cost of Boucher. We will see what happens as Punjab bowls first.
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Bangalore was somehow able to defeat Deccan team. Defending 156 was not easy but solid bowling by Kallis and P Kumar clinched them a thriller. I was very much impressed by P Kumar who bowled some beauties around the wicket and got wickets of Afridi (great catch by Steyn) and Laxman. Bangalore has to score more runs if they have to stay in contention. Their batting lineup consists of slow batsman and lack the killer instincts sometimes. Deccan team is not able to find the right combinations at the righ moment. Need to change the leadership of Laxman.
Punjab on the otherhand are on a roll. Pathan and Sreesanth bowled really well. Beating Kolkata KR was not easy but coule of early wickets did the trick. Kolkata has a good team but need their batting to fire, specially Dada. He should stay till the end and anchor the innings. SRK must be really unhappy with his team's performance. But filmy dialogues like "he wants to win everything" is not cricket reality, he should understand.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Pics from IPLT20.com
Up until now, there were not many teams capable of challenging Chennai. After Hayden,Hussey out from Chennai team, Dhoni's boys will feel much stiffer competition from other teams.
This match though, was effectively decided by a century stand inside 12 overs between Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
Frankly, Chennai was in complete control until first 12 overs but lost their way later on. A super bowling attack was needed but by Oram's absence it was all the more depleted.
To me, Gambhir is the man of the tournament so far. He is on top of batting chart in IPL with 220 + runs with a average of 56 and staggering SR of 140. He has been instrumental in Delhi's success. If Delhi has to win the tournament, Both Sehwag and Gambhir have to fire. They have peaked early in the tournament and there is every chance of "law of averages" coming into play. They should keep their focus and go all the way.
Reaching on top of the charts, they should feel more confident now. I am supporting them!!!
E.g. I can query within minutes, who all score centuries for India against Pakistan, in Tests, as openers. Here is the result (courtesy is Cricinfo)
Click to enlarge.Whenever my buddies and I have a discussion about figures/records/stats, I quickly go to cricinfo.com and get the facts shared.
The other thing that really appeals me is the ball-by-ball commentary. When I was in India at home and used to watch all the matches, I thought the ball-by-ball commentary is a non-sense idea. But today, I am sitting in US where nobody cares about cricket and I don't get to watch games, I like the commentary very much. Its like enjoying the game on radio where you are equally engrossed in the game as TV but just cannot watch it.
Recently when IPL thinktank decided not to give rights to others for distributing pictures on websites and newspapers, I felt so bad that a nice tournament like this won't have pictures stored in it database. So our kids won't enjoy them later.
For me, cricinfo.com is a one stop shop for cricket. Its like a Unix manual sitting on my desk which I refer every now and then and something as fascinating.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Cool new Cricinfo interface for iPhone. Score card is really great. You get to see ball-by-ball commentary with flashing 4's and 6's. Don't worry about clicking million links before reading the news or reading that great article. Cricinfo provides a sleek interface where every category has tabs (like Matches, News Photos etc). I am sure iPhone and cricket lovers would love this.
Just go to http://ci.plusmo.com on your iphone and enjoy.
Somehow I feel that some people have a knack of getting into controversies and they always get into one, every now and then. The gentlemen in question here are not indifferent from these situations.
Cricinfo notes that -
We all know how Dada is. Remember the days of his captaincy when a similar thing happened with Steve Waugh. That was when Data took too long to come out for toss. I think Data is slow by nature. He is lost sometimes.
Ganguly lashed back - "Is complaining against a dropped catch against the spirit of the game? " -- Nope you are perfectly fine Dada
"We just need to look at Warne's career to understand that he has no moral right to teach what the spirit of the game is. I just want to laugh at what Warne is saying. He should not be talking about the spirit of the game -- Dad should not remember somebody's career into situations like this because there is too much at stake. Warne's career (for cricketing reasons) is much brilliant than Dada's.
Meanwhile Pakistan fast bowler Umar Gul, who recently joined Kolkata, felt Ganguly's captaincy in Twenty20 cricket had a way to go. "This format is new for Ganguly. He is finding it difficult," Gul told PTI. "He has to learn a few more tricks. We also have to find the right combination and rhythm. --- Here comes a Pakistani giving advice to a captain. Tell me Mr. Gul, how many times your captain(s) have got it right. Do you have a captain. Last I heard was a dumb Inzy.