Friday, May 30, 2008

Absolute carnage - First Semi final

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.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

First Semi Final - Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Daredevils

tags: delhi, daredevils, IPL, criccket

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

Finds of IPL

Nice article at 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

2 brilliant test matches in a week.

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

IPL talk is all around the place.

I read a Q&A on cricinfo with Jacob Oram who recently completed his short stint with Chennai team. There were interesting things for him to share. I have started getting clearer perspective of what players think about IPL. I used to wonder if players really care about all that money or it is just being the best in the business that is pulling them into IPL. Looks like players do care about financial security. After being asked if IPL has changed his life in the long term. He said - "Financially speaking, most definitely. What you can earn over there in a year is a career - or at least a good three or four years - for New Zealand, so it's certainly security for my future and my family."
So players are clear about the financial aspect of IPL. Oram however repeatedly stated that playing for NZ is the numero uno priority. He understands that injury can hamper chances to play for the country and earn livelyhood. "It(playing in IPL) might ease the pressures, especially surrounding injury and selection. Say, if playing for New Zealand is your only source of income and you are in and out of the team because of injury or form, then most definitely, if you have that security behind you from India then I can only see it easing a bit of that stress on you."

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

He is back, with a bang

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 loses last ball nail biter.

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

MCC submits floodlight plan

From 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.

Let there be light: the MCC is hoping to have temporary floodlights in position throughout the summer from 2009

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chennai's australian problem

Hayden and Hussey were kingpins of Chennai team couple of weeks back. They had put their side at number 1 and threatened to go unbeaten. But reality struck when they both had to leave for the West Indian tour. The side has slid to 4th position and is now loosing consistently.
Cricinfo's George Binoy notes:"The nature of the Twenty20 format is such that it leaves an extremely small margin for error - and almost none at the top. The failure of the Chennai Super Kings' top order after the departure of Matthew Hayden and Michael Hussey has been the primary reason for their slip from No 1 in the points table to No 4. The replacements, Stephen Fleming, Parthiv Patel and a rotating No 3 - they've tried S Vidyut and S Anirudha - have failed to provide direction to the innings."

Rest of the batsmen Dhoni, Morkel and Suresh Raina are very capable, but they also need a good starts from their openers. If you look at the rest of the teams, none of them have all stars and specially after the Australians have left. In fact Gilly's team has had a great lineup but still they are amongst the bottom two. Dhoni says:"Our top-order batsmen played too many shots. They were in two minds whether to go for the shot or not and ultimately lost their wickets playing their shots late. We could not get the right combinations in the last three matches but we should not panic. It is not individuals but we have to work as a team." I agree with Dhoni here. Its the loss of their star players and not able to find the right combination, the reasons for their struggle. I hope they come together and make the competition more open. Right now, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals are on a roll. Delhi is also not far behind. Keep watching, its getting more interesting.

Monday, May 5, 2008

IPL's positive side - Bringing them together.

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.

    • Interactions between international stars and domestic players have been the most encouraging aspect of the IPL
    • We have now seen a lot of good cricketers who wouldn't have otherwise been seen. We have India Under-19 players, or Ranji players, who are coming out and winning matches for their sides.
    • For me, for example, keeping wicket to bowlers I haven't kept to before has been good. Keeping to spinners like Chawla has been especially challenging. He is a good bowler and has a lot of guile and skill. It is hard enough to read his variations, plus you need to learn how to react to the different pitches we play on, and to make it even harder, the batsmen are always on the attack, always moving around in the crease and trying to get runs, which can get very distracting for a wicketkeeper. In such circumstances the basics become all the more important: watching the bowler's hand, watching the ball off the pitch into your gloves, and forgetting what the batsman is doing.
    • With fast bowlers it's slightly easier because you are standing back, and you get time to react and move around. It is still important to know which way the ball is swinging and what the bowlers are trying to do, of course. It becomes difficult when they start bowling slower balls.
    • One of the best experiences for me as a keeper has been to watch Brett Lee run in and bowl. Just the fact that I can stand well back makes it easier for me, gives me a lot of time to watch the ball and move and get into a position to collect it. He bowls at 150-plus and still has the accuracy and the skill to bowl as many balls as he wants to in the areas he wants to - which is something you usually associate with the slower bowlers.
    • When the ball falls in your area, the shot is usually instinctive. Cricket, especially batting, is a reactive skill. All the thinking, being proactive, the fine-tuning is done in training. Out in the middle, if you purely react to what is bowled at you, you ensure there is no slowing down of your motor skills due to too much thinking. The more instinctive you are, the better it is for you, most times.
    • We have been traveling around India all these days but we haven't been able to see much of the cities. As a team, though, we have been bonding. We have had sessions over a meal or a drink after games. It has been fun, especially with Lee on the guitar. These things are crucial. They help you get closer to each other, and also enjoy the competition a lot more. We've been able to be ourselves and focus on the cricket and express ourselves on the field.
    Photos are always from IPL official wesite
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Punjab seek to extend winning streak and Bangalore, the pride.

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.

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.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bangalore Challengers and Punjab Kings register wins.

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

Sehwag puts Delhi on top

Pics from
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!!!

Blogged with the Flock Browser

My favorite website.

There are millions of websites on the internet. Only few of them are your favorites. Those who are part of your daily routine. Those you cannot live without. Those that always surprise you. I have couple of my favorites. Gmail and While Gmail is the first one for me to go to every morning, cricinfo is where all the excitement is (for me). From scores to news to pictures and now my all time favorite "Sportscenter (Trademark ESPN)" is there too. I knew, the partnership with ESPN is going to get the best out of Today, I want to share my favorite feature with you. Cricinfo is like a Bible of cricket. Benefited from its old relationship with Wisden, Cricinfo has all kinds of records and history of cricket/cricketers. Called the Statsguru, it is often fascinating to write queries on the vast database.
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 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, 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.
Cricinfo Statsguru

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Cricinfo launches iPhone version of website - Sweet.

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 on your iphone and enjoy.

Now Ganguly and Warne dual...

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 -

Sourav Ganguly, captain of the Kolkata Knight Riders, has dismissed Shane Warne's criticism of his on-field behaviour, even questioning his moral right to comment about the spirit of the game. Warne, leading the Rajasthan Royals, first slammed Ganguly for taking too long to come out to bat and then condemned his attitude towards the IPL's Spirit of Cricket agreement when he questioned a catch taken by Graeme Smith.
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.