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April 07, 2012

CSK Starts IPL 2012 Campaign

DLF IPL 2012

The defending champions Chennai Super Kings started off their IPL 2012 (IPL 5) campaign with a loss to Mumbai Indians. For the start, it seems like CSK have lost their home advantage due to the nature of the new pitch laid in MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chepauk, Chennai. The batting looked clueless on the new pitch and their slow bowlers were not as effective as they used to be.

Clearly, CSK's batting looks pretty ordinary. I personally feel that they don't have a solid batsman in the category of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Virat Kohli, Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis. They are certainly missing Michael Hussey, one player who could fit in the slot nicely. CSK owes their success last year to the solid batting by Michael Hussey up the order. CSK enjoyed the same support in the earlier versions from another Australian, Mathew Hayden. It seems this solid batting is missing this time. Vijay is a pale shadow of the hero who managed some extraordinary batting in the earlier IPLs.

Did CSK owners spent too much money to get Ravindra Jadeja? I am not sure, but that is the feeling one gets from his performance in the first match. He bowled one expensive over and did not trouble the scorers too much while he batted. Time and again he proves that Mahendra Singh Dhoni's trust on him is misplaced. But, in IPL, I believe Jadeja may come good. If CSK is to match the success of last year, he needs to step up.

The bowling looked better; Albie Morkel bowled well, Doug Bollinger was on fire (even though not on target), Ashwin was economical, Bravo showed he is a good all-rounder.

IPL is a long tournament; so, one loss should not matter too much. But, only the manner in which it was lost is a concern. Dhoni & his team has to gather themselves quickly for their next match against Deccan Chargers. This is an away game; CSK were not a great team outside Chennai so far. They have to change that at the earliest, with the home advantage slipping from their hands.

March 18, 2011

England brings interest back to ODIs

Yes, England has certainly brought back interest to the ODI format due to their extraordinary performances (or should I say, poor performances) in the Cricket World Cup 2011.

It all started with Ryan Neil ten Doeschate scoring a century and England had to hold their breath to win their first match. It followed with a brilliant batting performance from England to chase down a huge total against India, only to lose their way at the end; but still ended up with a tie. Then, they lost their way against Ireland when Kevin O Brien brought up the fastest century in world cups; Ireland managed to beat England in the last over.

England scored just 171 runs. But, they put up a good bowling display that managed to beat South Africa by just six runs. Against Bangladesh, they could not break the 9th wicket partnership of 58 runs which eventually clinched the win for Bangladesh with 6 balls and 2 wickets remaining.

Today, they came to Chennai in a do-or-die match. They have to win to stay in the tournament. Three nations might had been praying for an England loss; a West Indies win here could have confirmed quarter-final berths for West Indies, India and Bangladesh. It looked as if thats going to happen when West Indies'7th wicket pair put on 72 runs. But, England's bowling proved its worth by removing the last 4 WI wickets for just 3 runs. England managed to win by 18 runs and kept their hopes alive for a quarter-final slot.

This means that group B is still wide open, with only South Africa qualified to the next stage. Which of the 3 teams from India, England, West Indies and Bangladesh will qualify? The question might be answered if South Africa beat Bangladesh. If not, we need to wait until the West Indies-India match, which incidentally is the last match in the qualifying rounds.

Certainly, England had brought life to ODI matches. All the six games they played had created extraordinary interest in the match and all of them led to nail-biting finishes. Well done England!


March 15, 2011

India's Chances in Cricket World Cup 2011

Where do India go from here? They are still at the top of group B with 7 points. But, there is a small probability of them not making it to the quarterfinals. But, thats more of a theoretical calculation. But, I believe they should be through.

Why Dhoni is not giving Ashwin a chance? Can someone remind Dhoni that Ashwin is the bowler who helped him to win IPL3 and the Champions League for Chennai Super Kings? I am not discounting the performances of Bollinger or Murali, but Ashwin was the key; he was the surprise element in IPL. Why Dhoni always hesitates to use Ashwin for India in international matches?

Its time India gives Ashwin a chance in the last league game, that too at Chennai (Ashwin's home ground). I also would like to try Suresh Raina in place of Yusuf Pathan in the last match. My team for the game against West Indies would be:
  1. Virender Sehwag
  2. Sachin Tendulkar
  3. Gautam Gambhir
  4. Virat Kohli
  5. Yuvraj Singh
  6. Suresh Raina
  7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  8. Harbhajan Singh
  9. R. Ashwin
  10. Zaheer Khan
  11. Munaf Patel
Let us do it boys; we have much more challenges awaiting in the knock out rounds.

Why India lost to South Africa/

India lost to South Africa in the Cricket World Cup 2011 Group B match. South Africa prevailed in a match that went to the last over. While India failed during their last 10 overs of batting, South Africa held their nerves during their last 10 overs to finish the match in their favour.

India's loss could be attributed to two main reasons:
  1. India's poor performance in the batting powerplay and the overs that followed: India took the powerplay in the 39th over, when they were comfortably placed at 267 for 1. Sachin and Gambhir had put together a 125 run partnership in less than 22 overs and they are well settled to accelerate. There were some criticism in the media on taking the powerplay at this stage. But, I have no complaints on that. India is perfectly positioned to take the powerplay and they could have just exploded. But, as happened in the Netherlands match, Sachin, Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan lost their wickets in very quick succession. Those who followed them never realized the situation and the importance of batting 50 overs. Only the captain Dhoni was willing to bat through. Nobody else was to be around. Nehra's expression after he was dismissed showed how guilty he felt in giving away the wicket. From 267 for 1, India finished at 296 all out. Four batsmen failed to open their account. What a wasted opportunity to beat South Africa? Once again, Tendulkar's century goes in vain, as it happes often.
  2. The last over bowled by Nehra: I was not comfortable when Dhoni gave the ball to Nehra. I thought Harbhajan was bowling well and he could have been a better choice. But, cannot complain too much on Dhoni. Nehra is a frontline bowler and he should have handled it better against a No.9 batsman.

September 14, 2010

Champions League T20 2010: Group A Schedule

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Airtel Champions League Twenty20 2010Champions League Twenty20 2010 is being held in South Africa from 10 Sep 2010 to 26 Sep 2010. The top teams from each of the domestic Twenty20 competition will fight for the ultimate championship.

The ten teams are split into two groups, Group A and Group B. Group A consists of the following teams:

(1) Chennai Super Kings (India)
(2) Warriors (South Africa)
(3) Victorian Bushrangers (Australia)
(4) Wayamba Elevens (Sri Lanka)
(5) Central Stags(New Zealand)

The following is the schedule of round-robin matches in group A. In the round-robin league, each team will compete with every other team once.

11-Sep-10: Warriors vs Wayamba Elevens
11-Sep-10: Central Stags vs Chennai Super Kings
13-Sep-10: Warriors vs Victorian Bushrangers
15-Sep-10: Central Stags vs Victorian Bushrangers
15-Sep-10: Chennai Super Kings vs Wayamba Elevens
18-Sep-10: Central Stags vs Warriors
18-Sep-10: Chennai Super Kings vs Victorian Bushrangers
20-Sep-10: Victorian Bushrangers vs Wayamba Elevens
22-Sep-10: Central Stags vs Wayamba Elevens
22-Sep-10: Chennai Super Kings vs Warriors