Sunday, March 14, 2010

Super Kings to go for the kill against Chargers


A buoyant Chennai Super Kings, pepped by the recent form of their skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are fancying their chances against defending champions Deccan Chargers in their opening game of the third edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Chennai on Sunday.
The Chargers, led by charismatic Adam Gilchrist, would be smarting from their shock defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders, the league's cellar dwellers in Mumbai Friday night when the eight-team competition was lit by a spectacular opening ceremony. The Super Kings will look go in for the kill against a side that would be little bit down on morale, if nothing else.
The pitch, historically known for the pronounced bounce and movement, could influence the outcome. Matthew Hayden, the Super Kings opener and last year's top run-getter, did provide a clue on the nature of the pitch on the sidelines of the launch of the evolutionary Mongoose bat when he said the pitch had characteristics that favoured the batsmen.
If that is so then the Super Kings, semi-finalists last season and runners-up in 2008, look the better equipped with Hayden, Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath and Dhoni forming a formidable batting line-up. But then, given the vicissitudes of Twenty20, there are no guarantees and only the form on the day matters.
The last time the two teams met at this venue,  undergoing massive renovation on the eastern wing, the Chargers caught a depleted Super Kings on their way down after two consecutive defeats and successfully chased a target of 145 to win by seven wickets and two overs to spare. Super Kings later avenged this defeat in Hyderabad.
The story was much the same last season when the Chargers were on the hop at East London, South Africa, being dismissed for 100 in the 15th over to Super Kings total of 178 after having won the previous game at Durban by six wickets.
Thus, it is even-Stevens between the two teams in head-to-head context and that alone would inject considerable suspense in Sunday's game.
The game is likely to be more of a batting contest given the firepower the two teams possess as against a comparative tepid bowling attack. However, the Super Kings believe  they have far more bowling options this time around with the inclusion of South African all-rounder Justin Kemp who is expected to cover for key absentees Andrew Flintoff and Jacob Oram.
Likewise, the Chargers have to make do without their West Indian imports, notably fast bowler Kemar Roach who would have probably enjoyed bowling on the Chepauk pitch Sunday, and compatriot Dwayne Smith.
For all the pre-match bravado, it remains to be seen whether the Chargers can shrug off their shock defeat and refocus while the Super Kings tighten up their bowling, especially in the death overs that cost them quite a few matches in the past.
Both teams are likely to delay nominating their playing eleven until they have a look at the pitch that is out of bounds Saturday in view of the inauguration of Secretariat building close to the ground by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Yusuf's brilliant futile century


Lasith Malinga's determination to keep going at the batsmen and Sathish's fielding brilliance swung the fortunes in Mumbai Indians' favour, resulting in a thrilling four-run win over Rajasthan Royals in the second game of DLF-IPL III at the Brabourne Stadium on Saturday.

The Lankan paceman snared one batsmen with a slow bouncer and ran out the next on his follow-through with a diving throw before the visitor's challenge ended at 208 for seven.

Record-breaking knock

Sathish had earlier run out century-maker Yusuf Pathan (100, 9x4, 8x6) in his follow-through, anticipating striker Paras Dogra's drive and flicking the ball by instinct at the stumps at the non-striker end.

A stunned Yusuf, who had smashed the fastest century in the IPL, walked back with Royals at 173 for five.

The Royals power-hitter punished every bowler, except Zaheer Khan, by messing up the line and length with intimidating hot-making and some late cuts before Sathish got him.

Good stand

Earlier, Saurabh Tiwary and Ambati Rayudu displayed absolute contempt for reputation, building on the momentum gained by the veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Sachin Tendulkar over the first four overs after Mumbai Indians had opted to bat.

Ruthless

The youngsters were ruthless in execution of strokes. Tiwary's reach and power helped him get to the pitch of the ball and clear the field with huge hits.

He stepped out against Warne for the first of three sixes, walked out against Yusuf and gave medium-pacer Uniyal the same treatment for a 30-ball 50.

Rayudu's hitting was more deliberate as he picked up the length early to force the ball in the direction he wanted.

One straight six off Jhunjhunwala stood out for ease of execution. His half-century, which came in 30 balls, had six fours and two sixes.

Jayasuriya and Tendulkar had got cracking straightaway to put the Royals on the defensive.

Three boundaries — slashes to cover and a crisp drive to the ropes— in Mascarenhas' first over saw the Sri Lankan in full flow. The Indians' captain got into the mood with flicks off the pads to the square leg fence.

Fighting back

Royals fought back into the game with Uniyal deceiving Jayasuriya with a slower one, Mascarenhas claiming Tendulkar and Aditya Tare before the stroke-makers could do more damage. Then Tiwary and Rayudu took over to delight the home crowd.

The scores:

Mumbai Indians: S. Jayasuriya lbw b Uniyal 23 (14b, 3x4, 1x6), S Tendulkar lbw b Mascarenhas 17 (11b, 3x4), A. Tare c Warne b Mascarenhas 23 (13b, 3x4, 1x6), S. Tiwary c Ojha b Tait 53 (33b, 4x4, 2x6), A. Rayudu c Dogra b Uniyal 55 (33b, 6x4, 2x6), R. Sathish (run out) 6 (5b, 1x4), Harbhajan (retd. hurt) 8 (6b), R. McLaren (not out) 11 (5b, 2x4), Zaheer (not out) 0 (1b), Extras (lb-3, w-13) 16, Total (for six wkts. in 20 overs): 212.

Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-69, 3-70, 4-180, 5-191, 6-192.

Rajasthan Royals bowling: Mascarenhas 4-0-34-2, Tait 4-0-46-1, Kamran 1-0-10-0, Uniyal 4-0-41-2, Warne 3-0-29-0, Jhunjhunwala 2-0-27-0, Yusuf 2-0-22-0.

Rajasthan Royals: G. Smith c b Sathish 26 (22b, 4x4), S. Asnodkar (run out) 0 (0b), N. Ojha c Zaheer b Murtaza 12 (12b, 2x4), A. Jhunjhunwala b Malinga 14 (11b, 1x4, 1x6), Yusuf (run out) 100 (37b, 9x4, 8x6), P. Dogra (run out) 41 (29b, 2x4, 2x6), D. Mascarenhas (not out) 9 (7b), A. Uniyal b Malinga 0 (1b), S. Warne (not out) 1 (1b), Extras (w-5) 5, Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 208.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-38, 3-40, 4-66, 5-173, 6-201, 7-201.

Mumbai Indians bowling: Zaheer 4-0-27-0, McLaren 4-0-43-0, Malinga 4-0-22-2, Murtaza 4-0-46-1, Sathish 3-0-51-1, Jayasuriya 1-0-19-0 .

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Indians take on Royals today


After a show stopping opening night, the third edition of Indian Premier League will starts its usual proceedings today with Tendulkar’s Mumbai Indians clashing against Shane Warne’s Rajasthan Royals in their own den as Preity Zinta’s Kings XI will fight it out with Gautam Gambhir led-Delhi Daredevils.
Yesterday’s encounter between Knights and Chargers has already given us a hint that there will be many close encountersthis year.
The first encounter of the day will seeMumbai and former Champion Rajasthan and here is the analysis:
Mumbai Indians always has been a under-achiever in the last two season of IPL but today they will be playing at home and will surely have an upper hand. They had some of the best players of International Cricket but some failed to reach the top 4. \Mumbai have a strong batting line-up that consist quality and dangerous players like Sanath Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar, Shikhar Dhawan and J.P. Duminy.
They will surely miss West Indian Dwayne Bravo and even the new recruit and the money man Keiron Pollard will not be available due to his international duties. But the likes of Abhishek Nayyar will surely bolster the team’s strength. Their bowling line-up will be spearheaded by Zaheer Khan, Dilhara Fernando and Harbhajan Singh.
On the other hand Rajasthan will be heavily depending on Coach and Captain Shane Warne who strategy will set the pace for the game. Young pacer Kamran Khan’s speed will also make the difference as he can single-handedly stun the opponents with his fiery pace and Mornie Morkel who is a utility player for the team.
Royals have a strong batting line up and need no introduction with the opening pair of Smith and Asnodkar they can expect a good start today and the middle order gets stronger after the inclusion of Damien Martyn.
But my man of the moment will be the two all-rounder’s who looks big and even executes big stuff: Yusuf Pathan and Dimitri Mascarenhas.
Expect a scorcher of a match that will be coming live to you from 4:00 PM (IST)

KKR beat Deccan Chargers by 11 runs


In an Indian household, a homecoming is a reason for celebration. Relatives, friends and well-wishers queue up for the welcome party. So, in keeping with tradition, the Indian Premier League opener for the third edition was nothing short of a homecoming for the cash rich event after its South Africa sojourn. 
The Sony commercial for the tournament promised a red carpet welcome with a glitzy opening ceremony at the DY Patil stadium in Nerul. The 55,000-capacity stadium was all decked up but quite a few pockets of empty seats all around the ground were hard to miss.
The stadium was not even half full when the opening ceremony began, though the numbers did swell by the time the game began 15 minutes behind schedule.
And those trooping in late had no time to even settle before the Kolkata Knight Riders began from where they left off last year, when they lost two wickets without a run on board.
But Englishman Owais Shah (56 not out) and Lankan Angelo Mathews (65 not out) put on a rescue act which took last year's 'bottom of the table' team to a respectable 161 for four from their allotted 20 overs. And what was more incredible was when their bowlers then recovered from an early hammering to upset defending champions Deccan Chargers by 11 runs. Even as the stadium, roped in as a "home game" for the 'homeless' chargers, erupted, Sourav Ganguly's Knight Riders hugged with abandon in the middle.
But victory didn't come easy. While skipper Adam Gilchrist was at the crease, the Chargers looked set to run away with the match. The stumper made the most of two reprieves to make a quickfire 54, but his dismissal triggered a mini collapse. Gilchrist's departure seemed to also lift the KKR bowlers, who then tightened the noose.
The holders were 99 for 2 in 11 overs before batsman after batsman gifted wickets away. Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma all departed trying to slam the ball outside the park.
But KKR's bowlers should be credited for keeping to a tight line, forcing batsmen into playing false shots. If they can continue from here, it could well be third time lucky.
Brief score:
Kolkata Knight Riders: 161 for 4 in 20 overs (Angelo Mathews 65 not out, Owais Shah 58 not out; Chaminda Vaas 2/22).
Deccan Chargers: 150 for 7 in 20 overs (Adam Gilchrist 54, VVS Laxman 22; C Langeveldt 2/26).

IPL kicks-off with a dazzling opening ceremony


The opening ceremony was a breathtaking visual extravaganza and was also the most extensive hour of entertainment ever conceived and executed in India.
Legendary pop icon Lionel Richie then performed his hit single "Dancing on the Ceiling" as all the artists and performers converged onto the center stage to bring down the curtains with a spectacular fire-work.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

IPL boss brushes aside security concerns

Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi has dismissed fears held by Australian and New Zealand players about security for next month's competition, saying they could be easily replaced. 

"We will not be dictated by players associations where to play.

"[The] IPL will be played in India," Modi said on his Twitter page.

Australian and New Zealand players had expressed concerns over an independent security report which revealed flaws in the security plans for the lucrative Twenty20 league, beginning March 12.

There were reports that a Pakistan-based guerrilla group linked to al-Qaeda might carry out attacks on three premier sporting events in India -- the IPL, the men's field hockey World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.

"Security -- seems to be the new mantra of players associations to arm twist us [instead] of sitting on the table with us," Modi wrote.

"Security is our top most priority. Just finished meeting with Cricket South Africa CEO. He is most satisfied with the arrangement."

'No issues'
Modi said there was a long waiting list of players who could be called up to replace any contracted player who chose not to take part.

"If a few players play into the hands of the [Federation of International Cricketers' Associations] FICA and not show up -- no issues," Modi said.

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"We have 98 players on the waiting list eager to get called in for replacement. So they have hope now if some drop out."

The Australian and New Zealand players' unions had forwarded their concerns to the FICA and said they would await a response from the IPL.

But Modi said he doesn't recognise any of these bodies.

"I have been sent messages through various quarters to entertain FICA President Tim May. Unfortunately we do not recognise FICA or any agents," he said.

Modi also criticised Australia's captain Ricky Ponting for his perceived role in the dispute.

"[I have] been told Ricky Ponting pressuring players not to come. Maybe it's due to the fact he was dropped from KKR [Kolkata Knight Riders]."

Modi expected foreign players would still compete in India, including Australia's tour in October and the planned Champions League later this year.

"Australia tour to India in Oct -- will Australian players association dictate them not coming then? Doubt it."

"Chances [are] Champions League will be in India -- will teams say they will not come??? Doubt it."