Friday, May 30, 2008



Watson helps Rajasthan march into final


Rajasthan Royals 192 for 9 (Watson 52, Yusuf 45, Maharoof 3-34) beat Delhi Daredevils 87 (Dilshan 33, Watson 3-10, Munaf 3-17) by 105 runs.Shane Watson's all-round show turned the match into a one-sided affair.

This was Shane Watson's match. Imposing himself on the first semi-final, he boosted Rajasthan Royals with an electric fifty before rattling Delhi Daredevils' top order with an outstanding opening spell. Shane Warne had complained about being deprived of home advantage but his side adjusted perfectly to the conditions at the Wankhede Stadium, putting on a show that illustrated exactly why they have been the stand-out team in the competition.

Delhi were like a side struck with stage fright. Their bowlers were rattled by a brand of unconventional strokeplay - even the peerless Glenn McGrath went wicketless for 38 runs - before their batsmen succumbed against a disciplined attack. Virender Sehwag's decision to field may come under scrutiny but Rajasthan's ruthless efficiency might have steered them to the final either way. The farcical end to the match - when Mohammad Asif took an age to get his bat into the crease - summed it up.

The scorecard may indicate a hopelessly one-sided contest but Rajasthan had their shaky moments. Losing the toss meant facing up to McGrath and Asif on a juicy pitch and three quick wickets for Farveez Maharoof pushed them from 65 for no loss to 76 for 3.

Graeme Smith, who was aided by a runner once his hamstring injury resurfaced, and Swapnil Asnodkar, who broke a window pane at fine leg with an audacious pull, provided the early impetus but the innings could have easily lost its way with Maharoof, utilising the bounce and movement on the surface, luring the top order into loose strokes.

Watson's arrival put the innings back on track. From the moment he took 21 off the 11th over, with two ferocious pulls for six, only one team bossed the contest. With the high, straight back-lift that's been the feature of his batting in the tournament, Watson swung through midwicket and square leg. He targeted specific bowlers and went through with shots even if he wasn't to the pitch of the ball, allowing the timing to take care of the rest.

Amit Mishra, the legspinner, teased with his flight and loop but Watson was intent on spoiling his rhythm - going down on one knee, he slog-swept him over midwicket, a technique that Yusuf Pathan was to pick up later.

Such a commanding total wouldn't have been possible without the final flourish. Yusuf celebrated his recall to the one-day squad with a blistering 21-ball 45, an innings where four mighty sixes dripped off his bat. Without the Watson back-lift, without too much initial movement, he showed what brute force could do, blasting over long-on and midwicket. He spotted slower balls too, smearing McGrath over midwicket for the shot of the evening.

Delhi have their fielders to thank for avoiding further embarrassment but their effort was put in the shade by some acrobatic catching by Rajasthan. Shikhar Dhawan pulled off a diving catch to dismiss Smith but it was Tauwar Kohli's peach of a dive, throwing himself to the right of cover to latch on to a Gautam Gambhir slash, that will stick in the mind.

Watson may have top scored for his side, but his job wasn't done yet. Up against one of the most formidable opening combinations in the IPL, he cranked up his pace. Sehwag was done in by the extra bounce, holing out to deep point, Gambhir was frustrated into slashing in the air and Dhawan pulled straight to square leg. Every wicket was accompanied by an ecstatic expression - one that indicated the triumph of a well-laid plan.


Tillakaratne Dilshan's furious swinging was never going to be enough against a constantly mounting asking-rate and he kept losing partners who misread the bounce in the track. Manoj Tiwary top-edged a bouncer from Munaf Patel and Yo Mahesh struggled against a short one directed at the shoulder. The rest were clueless against Warne's fizzers.


He admitted he would have bowled first if he had won the toss but would have been pleasantly surprised at the amount of turn and bounce the surface offered. He toyed with the tailenders, mixing legbreaks and sliders as if this was a Test, and he could afford to wear an impish smile through the spell, considering the match was long gone.
© Cricinfo

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Road to semis: Team Jaipur

After almost 40 days of criss-crossing and big-hitting, the last four have been left standing. As the stage readies for the semifinals TOI looks at the Fab Four.


Lost to Delhi Daredevils by 9 wickets

Beat Team Mohali by 6 wickets

Beat Team Hyderabad by 3 wickets

Beat Bangalore Royal Challengers by 7 wickets

Beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 45 runs

Beat Team Chennai by 8 wickets

Lost to Mumbai Indians by 7 wickets

Beat Team Hyderabad by 8 wickets

Beat Delhi Daredevils by 3 wickets

Beat Bangalore Royal Challengers by 65 runs

Beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 6 wickets

Beat Team Chennai by 10 runs

Beat Mumbai Indians by 5 wickets

Lost to Mohali by 41 runs


Total points: 22

Won: 11

Lost: 3

NRR: +0.632


The captain: Shane WarneA leader who knows how to motivate his players. Warne distributed responsibility among his players and made them aware of their capabilities. The players responded by producing some match-winning performances. He arrived early in Jaipur to get personally acquainted with the players. Every player was made to feel he had a crucial role to play. Praised his players for good performances but lashed out after every poor show.
(Source : TOI)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008




Bangalore Royal Challengers v Mumbai Indians, IPL


Bangalore Wednesday, May 28

Start time 16.00 (local), 10.30 (GMT)


Deflated Mumbai look to avenge defeat Nagraj Gollapudi
Chennai enter semis, ends Mumbai's IPL dream

Captain MS Dhoni hits a shot straight over the bowler's head for a six

Chennai Super Kings grabbed the last available semifinal spot in the Indian Premier League after beating Deccan Chargers by seven wickets in their last league match in Hyderabad today (May 27).

Chasing 148 to win, the visitors overhauled the modest target with four balls to spare, thanks to sensible batting by Suresh Raina (54 not out) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (37).

The Chennai team not only sealed a semifinal place for themselves they also broke the heart of Sachin Tendulkar led Mumbai Indians team, which is now out of the tournament.

A lose of Chennai today and a Mumbai win tomorrow against Bangalore Royal Challengers would have enabled Mumbai to enter the last-four stage of the tournament. Now Mumbai's last league match has been rendered inconsequential.

Dhoni played some blistering shots in his 25 ball knock which included four fours and one six and shared a crucial 55-run stand with Raina for the third wicket. Skipper's fall brought Albie Morkel on the crease and he together with Raina saw their team home, though some tight bowling at death made the encounter interesting.

Pragyan Ojha had Dhoni caught in deep by Gibbs and that put brakes on run-flow.

Chennai required 17 runs off the last two overs. RP Singh bowled the penultimate over, which fetched the visitors 10 runs.Raina hit Vjaykumar for a six on the second ball of the last over to seal the victory for his team and also brought up his half-century. Raina consumed 43-balls for his brilliant 54-run innings, adorned with five boundaries and two shots over the fence.

P Vijay Kumar drew the first blood when he dismissed former Kiwi skipper Stephen Fleming (14) but the hosts could build on the early success as Parthiv Patel and Suresh Raina did not give them any chance.Fleming went for an extravagant shot outside the off-stump but ended up in the gloves of Adam Gilchrist behind the wickets.

Raina played some elegant shots on the off-side and together with Patel put up 34-runs for the second wicket before the Gujarati batsman walked back.Patel hit straight to Shahid Afridi at covers to become the victim of P Sravesh Kumar.Earlier, a heroic 76-run fourth-wicket partnership between Y Venugopal Rao and D Ravi Teja propelled Deccan Chargers to 147 for eight. Rao (46) and Teja (40) joined hands when their team was stuttering at 57 for three, after deciding to bat on a good batting pitch. Only Rao and Teja batted with guile and grit as all other batsmen struggled to find rhythm and big hitters like Hershelle Gibbs (8) and Shahid Afridi (1) disappointed once again.Rao's 46-ball knock, which included three fours and one six, was mixture of aggression and caution while Teja was furious right from the word go. Teja hit four fours and a six in his 28-ball knock.

Once the duo departed, the hosts wickets fell one after another as they crumbled under pressure of putting up a big total.Gibbs found it tough to negotiate a disciplined pace attack on a bouncy wicket and eventually departed while trying to break the shackles.

The South African slashed one off compatriot Makhaya Ntitni over the point region but only managed a thick edge which was accepted gleefully by L Balaji at third-man.

Skipper Adam Gilchrist (5) perished in the same way when he tried to loft a good length delivery by Manpreet Gony and just managed an outside edge, which flew to third man Abhinav Mukund.Runs were tough to come from the blade as first five overs fetched just 18 runs and that too at the cost of two wickets.

Rao and Scott Styris (20) then steadied the rocking boat by weaving a 39-run stand for the third wicket before the latter was undone by Sri Lankan spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan.

Styris, who played some good shots in his short knock, gave charge to Muralithran but missed the line completely and was bowled by Sri Lankan.

All the bowlers from the visiting side kept a tight line until Balaji was hit for 14 runs in the 14th over, which also witnessed first six of the innings.Albie Morkel and Balaji took two-wickets each while Ntini, Goni and Muralitharan claimed one wicket each.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Deccan Chargers v Chennai Super Kings

IPL, HyderabadTuesday, May 27

Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)

CAN MURALI TUrN IT AROUND?
Chennai Super Kings captain M.S. Dhoni will be banking on Muttiah Muralitharan to come good in the crucial match against Deccan Chargers.



Chennai's chance to book semi-final berthKanishkaa Balachandran

HYDERABAD:

Breaking the hoodoo of home-ground defeats will be the lone point left to prove for Deccan Chargers when it takes on Chennai Super Kings at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Tuesday. Banished as it has been to the base of the DLF-Indian Premier League pyramid, the Hyderabad side will strain every sinew for a victory in its last outing, at least for the sake of its fans.
Not unduly depressed by the performance of their side, their most raucous cheers are invariably reserved for feats, minor and major, by the home side’s players.


Promotional material, be it stickers on car doors, wall-papers on mobile phones, caps or T-shirts, the raging red-eyed bull is still quite visible, evidence of pride fans still take in their side.


Loyal fans


Sick jokes of Deccan being discharged continue to do the rounds, but the queues to gain entry to the arena reveal a loyalty hard to displace.


That their star-studded side ended up being the proverbial paper tiger doesn’t deter the followers.
“It’s not what we set out to do,” said skipper Adam Gilchrist after the latest defeat at the hands of the Royal Challengers on Sunday night and looking back at the long line of losses. The two wins that his men could muster along the way, appeared to be distant memories.


An integral part of an Australian team quite alien to losing, the swashbuckling opener seemed resigned to his fate of being saddled with a side struggling to snatch a win.


To cement a place in the semifinals will be Super Kings’ avowed objective. The confidence from chasing 212 in the last match against Rajasthan Royals, even if it fell short by 10 runs, will without doubt be carried over into this contest.


Doughty customer


The hunger to win, amply illustrated by that counter-attack against Royals, will be so much stronger, a seat in the last four club an attraction too hard to resist.


On just that count, the Chennai squad will be a doughty customer to deal with and quite hard to toss, when battle lines are drawn on Tuesday.


The teams (from):


Chennai Super Kings:


M.S. Dhoni (capt.), Stephen Fleming, Muttiah Muralitharan, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina, L. Balaji, Parthiv Patel, Makhaya Ntini, Joginder Sharma, S. Badrinath, S. Vidyut, Manpreet Gony, S. Anirudha, P. Amarnath, Chamara Kapugedera, Arun Karthick, Abhinav Mukund.


Deccan Chargers:


Adam Gilchrist (capt.), Chaminda Vaas, Herschelle Gibbs, Scott Styris, Rohit Sharma, Shahid Afridi, R.P. Singh, Sanjay Bangar, Pragyan Ojha, Y. Venugopala Rao, Chamara Silva, P. Vijay Kumar, D. Ravi Teja, Nuwan Zoysa, Sarvesh Kumar, D. Kalyanakrishna, N. Arjun Yadav.











MUMBAI INDIANS VS RAJASTAN ROYALS
26TH MAY 2008
JAIPUR
STARTTIME 20:00 LOCAL TIME

We're down to the last 4 matches of the league stages with three teams still fighting for two semi-final spots. Mumbai started poorly, with 4 consecutive losses but have recovered well to become one of the serious contenders for the semi-final spot. Two narrow defeats against Punjab and Delhi has seen them slip to a precarious position. So where do Mumbai stand now? Should they win both their games, against Rajasthan today and against Bangalore on Wednesday, they would have cemented a semi-final berth for themselves. What happens if they lose today? In that case Mumbai would have to win their final tie, hope Chennai lose to Deccan with a Net Run Rate lower than Mumbai's. Should either Mumbai or Chennai drop a match, Delhi will automatically progress to the semis.

Mini-Battle: The most obvious one, Tendulkar versus Warne. They are fierce competitors on the field and great friends off it. If Sachin is at the crease until Warne comes ointo bowl, expect an exciting clash.

Team News: Graeme Smith picked up a hamstring injury when the Royals played Chennai this weekend. Rajasthan will continue to bring in some of the untested players.

This is an extremely crucial match for Mumbai so expect them to go in with a full strength side.

Star Watch: Apart from the usual suspects( Tendulkar, Jayasuriya, Warne), watch out for Kamran Akmal. His quickfire 50 in the last game was instrumental in lifting his team beyond 200. Warne has suggested that he might open in the absence of Smith. Akmal and Asnodkar can be dangerous if the Mumbai bowlers don't maintain a tight line.

Previous Encounter: Rajasthan were skittled out for a paltry 103 and Mumbai cruised to 7-wicket win. Nehra was the star then, picking up three wickets. Mumbai would be hoping for an encore tonight.
We're down to the last 4 matches of the league stages with three teams still fighting for two semi-final spots. Mumbai started poorly, with 4 consecutive losses but have recovered well to become one of the serious contenders for the semi-final spot. Two narrow defeats against Punjab and Delhi has seen them slip to a precarious position. So where do Mumbai stand now? Should they win both their games, against Rajasthan today and against Bangalore on Wednesday, they would have cemented a semi-final berth for themselves. What happens if they lose today? In that case Mumbai would have to win their final tie, hope Chennai lose to Deccan with a Net Run Rate lower than Mumbai's. Should either Mumbai or Chennai drop a match, Delhi will automatically progress to the semis.

Mini-Battle: The most obvious one, Tendulkar versus Warne. They are fierce competitors on the field and great friends off it. If Sachin is at the crease until Warne comes ointo bowl, expect an exciting clash.
Team News: Graeme Smith picked up a hamstring injury when the Royals played Chennai this weekend. Rajasthan will continue to bring in some of the untested players.
This is an extremely crucial match for Mumbai so expect them to go in with a full strength side.
Star Watch: Apart from the usual suspects( Tendulkar, Jayasuriya, Warne), watch out for Kamran Akmal. His quickfire 50 in the last game was instrumental in lifting his team beyond 200. Warne has suggested that he might open in the absence of Smith. Akmal and Asnodkar can be dangerous if the Mumbai bowlers don't maintain a tight line.

Previous Encounter: Rajasthan were skittled out for a paltry 103 and Mumbai cruised to 7-wicket win. Nehra was the star then, picking up three wickets. Mumbai would be hoping for an encore tonight.
Source:Cricbuzz.com