chennai super kings

Views of a Chennai Super Fan – In the end, Mr Cricket is the real winner

Match: Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals in Chennai

Result: Chennai Super Kings won by 5 wickets

Narrative:

The Royals chose to bat first, and were single-handedly powered to a mammoth score by Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson, who scored a belligerent ton (also the first of IPL-6). He was particularly harsh on CSK’s new favorite, Jadeja, who cracked in his third over conceding 18 runs including two sixes and two big wides. Stuart Binny was the only other batsman who made a substantial contribution and Ashwin was the only bowler who ended with decent bowling figures. It left the Super Kings needing 186 to win the game.

The Super Kings were in control of the chase, right from the start. Despite Vijay’s failure (again), Hussey and Raina never let the required rate shoot up. Raina scored a much-needed half century with contained some trademark shots of his, while Hussey continued his rich vein of form to score a match-winning 88 from 51 balls which completely neutralized Watson’s century. Despite a late stutter, Bravo’s six in the final over bowled by Watson ensured that CSK would move right to the top of the points table.

Analysis:

It was refreshing to finally see the Super Kings break the back of a chase in the power play overs. Last time I mentioned how their strategy of keeping their push for victory too late would not work every time, and that they need to retune their strategy; it seems like they paid attention. It also helped that chasing a mammoth target meant that they would have to come out all guns blazing from the word ‘go’. For a team which boasts of an enviable depth in batting, they really should bat more confidently and more often. Hopefully, they will make this a trend.

First, the disappointments. There were two, namely Murali Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja. Both were stars of the last Test series against Australia and both were in contrasting form in this IPL, up to the start of this game. Except for a run-a-ball fifty against KXIP, Vijay has had a shoddy time with the bat, and moreover he doesn’t project an air of self-confidence either. Honestly, I don’t see how he can survive the axe for the next game. Baba Aparjith can be given a chance, considering his allround skills.

As for Jadeja, this game was bound to happen sooner than later. He was tonked mercilessly by Watson and he seemed to crack from the pressure bowling two huge wides in his third over. With the bat, he lasted for a mere two deliveries before getting his stumps knocked out of the ground. If he was floating in the air after all the “Sir” jokes and mass adulation, he would have come back to earth with a thud after this game.

We also got our first look at Jason Holder, the tall West Indian bowler. Nothing special about his performance though; unless he picks wickets by the bunch in the next couple of games, I don’t see him getting picked over Nannes, Laughlin or Hilfenhaus in the future.

It was great to see Raina back in fine form; he is one of the finest T20 players around, and the Super Kings would have heaved a sigh of relief when they saw his meaty blows to the fence. Undoubtedly, the real hero for CSK this year has been Michael Hussey. Free of national commitments, Mr Cricket has narrowed his focus to performing for CSK with all the zeal and determination of a player trying to make his mark among the big boys. With his third fifty this year, he has zoomed to the top of the run charts and established himself as CSK’s most prized wicket; and that’s saying something considering the rich array of batsmen that the men in yellow possess.

Preview of next game:

Hyderabad Sunrisers in Chennai. Without Perera and Sangakarra, the team will be considerably weakened; but the likes of Mishra , Steyn, White and Vihari, with the possible inclusion of World Cup winning skipper Darren Sammy, will ensure a tough contest for the Super Kings. The Sunrisers are third in the points table and they will itching to show just why.

 

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Views of a Chennai Super Fan – When Sir was enough for the Knights

Match: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings in Kolkata

Result: Chennai Super Kings won by 4 wickets

Narrative:

Kolkata Knight Riders batted first and Gambhir opened with a new partner in Yusuf Pathan. The move seemed to have worked as KKR raced to 46 in 6 overs, as they take full toll of Albie Morkel in particular. It took a Hussey special at third man to trigger a slide, as Gambhir was the first one to get dismissed. Two balls later, a direct hit from Badri sent Kallis on his way without facing a delivery; Morgan and Pathan followed quickly, and just like that KKR had lost 4 wickets for 9 runs in the space of 13 deliveries. Tiwary and Das staged a mini fight-back, but once Ashwin scalped both of them in consecutive overs, Jadeja picked three other lower order wickets as KKR stalled to 119/9 from their allotted overs.

In response, Dhoni surprised everyone by sending Ashwin to open the innings with Hussey. The move didn’t totally work out as Narine broke the opening partnership in the fifth over. Soon, errors of judgment accounted for both Vijay and Raina, and CSK were staring at a familiar top order failure. It turned into dire straits when Dhoni was dismissed with the target still 66 runs away and 51 deliveries remaining. Hussey stood solid at one end, but his slow scoring seemed to hurt CSK as the required rate kept creeping up. The arrival of Jadeja at the fall of Badri’s wicket changed all that. Twenty too balls later, Jadeja stood tall with an unbeaten 36 from 14 deliveries as he stole another win for CSK.

Analysis:

First of all, let me just state for the record that sometimes it can be frustrating to be a fan of the men in yellow. They always seem to push themselves into a situation where they need a minor miracle to win a game. Despite the target being a paltry 120, the batsmen batted themselves into a situation where they needed 50 from the last five overs. That they won is another matter; it is high-risk tactic for CSK despite their depth in batting, and it might not come off in a given crucial encounter.

A few words of praise for the fielding. In a tournament which has seen a dramatic improvement in fielding standards from last year’s edition, it is good to see that the Super Kings are one of the finest exponents of it. Hussey’s well judged catch, Badri’s direct hit when he had one stump to aim at, Bravo’s fielding and throw for run out (off his own bowling) – all this would make the fielding coach Steve Rixon a proud man.

The bowling seems to be fine-tuned with the exception of one specialist bowler. Nannes’ injury had opened the way for Morkel, who has not really inspired confidence; even the rookie Mohit Sharma is bowling better than him. Apart from that, the consistency of Morris and the spinners is reassuring.

Murali Vijay and Suresh Raina continue to be a source of concern for Fleming and Dhoni. Their attacking style is supposed to bookend the likes of Hussey and Badrinath, who play more of a stabilizing role in the side. Their failures have been the cause of the batting stutters so far in this tournament, and it has required Dhoni and Jadeja to bail them out often. It is highly likely that one of them will be missing from the playing XI for next game.

Ravindra Jadeja is turning out to be CSK’s most valuable player this season. With the ball, he is miserly and keeps picking up wickets. On the field, he is a live-wire, saving precious runs. And now, he has taken over from Dhoni, as the team’s savior with the bat for the second time in a week. In a team full of stars, the Rockstar is the man dragging the team to the top of the table.

Preview of next game:

Next up, CSK take on the Rajasthan Royals aka Dravid’s men in Chennai. The Royals have been one of the consistent teams this year, despite the lack of big stars in their line-up. What they do have is a bunch of performers who combine well enough to win most games; Watson, Rahane, Dravid and Hodge with the bat; and Cooper/Tait, Trivedi, Sreesanth and Chandila with the ball – CSK will do well to re-jig their strategy accordingly.

Tweet of the game:

Views of a Chennai Super Fan – No Dares From the Double D

Match: Delhi Daredevils vs Chennai Super Kings

Result: Chennai Super Kings win by 86 runs

Narrative:

MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to bat first in CSK’s 100th game; Nannes missed out due to injury paving way for the return of rookie Mohit Sharma and Mike Hussey came back in place of Srikkanth. Despite Vijay’s dismissal after a rapid start, Hussey and Raina stabilized the ship taking the score to 60/1 after 10 overs. When Raina got out in the 13th over, the skipper walked and immediately took control. A frenetic 44 from 23 balls meshed perfectly with Hussey’s unbeaten 65 to take the Super Kings to 169.

In reply, the Daredevils got off to the worst start, trudging to 32/4 in the power play; Little known Haryana medium pacer Mohit Sharma snared the wickets of Warner, Juneja and Sehwag while Chris Morris got the big fish – Jayawardene. Despite Kedhar Jadav’s resistance, the Super Kings put the brakes on the scoring and kept picking wickets regularly. Ultimately, the Daredevils were bowled out for 83; Along with the lowest score of the IPL this year, DD crashed to their sixth straight loss of the tournament. Meanwhile, CSK jumped to the fourth position in the points table.

Analysis:

This was just about the perfect game for the Super Kings. Their batting finally shook off the blues; Vijay was looking good for much more when he got out and Raina got some runs under his belt. The batting relies heavily on acceleration in the second half of the innings and it came off perfectly, as Raina, Hussey and Dhoni helped add 109 runs in the final 10 overs. With the ball, their punt on rookie Sharma paid off handsomely as he gave the team a perfect start with the ball. Then the spinners took over to strangle the opposition with combined figures of 3/39 from 8 overs. The end result was a massive win for the men in yellow.

Mike Hussey showed why he is such an invaluable member of the side. He might be no Chris Gayle, but he can be much more consistent and reliable. He paced his innings just right, till the end. Despite du Plessis’ return to the side, it is highly unlikely that the Aussie will be the one to make way for him. Vijay and Raina are still not racking up the big scores, but they show signs of good touch. As for Dhoni, it is good to see that the skipper is in ‘smashing’ form. More often than not, he has struggled in T20s over the years with regards to pacing his knock. This year, there is a refreshingly simple approach to his batting and he is more trusting of his natural game.

Nannes’ injury proved to be a blessing in disguise as it made the Super Kings take another look at their local fast bowling resources. Mohit Sharma had a good game, but it would be wise to wait a few games before judging him; tougher opponents await. I’m also liking the look of Chris Morris so far; while his batting exploits are to be seen yet, his bowling has largely been disciplined and he seems to have the knack of picking wickets at crucial junctures. He would have every reason to think that he has sealed one overseas spot for himself, for the rest of the season. No surprises when it comes to the spinners; they are CSK’s strength and the team management will be pleased that they are maintaining their good record.

Preview of next game:

Next up is the encounter against defending champions KKR in their den. Gambhir’s men are a lowly 7th in the points table and their performances are more reminiscent of the KKR seen in the first two seasons; still it would be unwise to take them lightly. Gambhir and Morgan are in good touch, while Narine has been consistently troubling the opposition. CSK would do well to bring their A-game against a side which derailed their plans of a 3rd consecutive title last year.

Tweets of the game:

Views of a Chennai Super Fan – Mr Smith comes to Chennai

Match: Chennai Super Kings vs Pune Warriors India in Chennai

Result: Pune Warriors won by 24 runs

Narrative:  

Pune’s stand-in skipper Ross Taylor won the toss and chose to bat first. Almost immediately, Aaron Finch embarked on a rampage, sending the CSK fielders on a leather hunt during the first half of PWI’s innings. Aided by the sedate Utthappa, Finch turned on an exhibition of crisp hitting, as the openers added 96 for the first wicket within 13 overs. When he got out though, CSK seemed to have clawed back as the men in yellow restricted the run rate and prised the wickets of Utthappa, Taylor and Marsh in the process. It was then, the much maligned Steven Smith who turned the heat right back on Dhoni’s men with an audacious 39 from 16 deliveries, as Pune Warriors posted 159/5 from their allotted overs.

In response, CSK got off to a terrible start when Srikkanth (junior), who replaced Mike Hussey, got out to the second delivery of the innings. From there, they kept losing wickets at inopportune times; Vijay, Badri and Jadeja failed to convert their starts, Dhoni had a rare failure and the overseas stars came undone with the bat. In the end, the men in yellow stumbled to 135/8, handing their opponents an unexpected victory.

Analysis:

Since the start of their campaign this year, Pune Warriors kept on the sidelines, the one man who was their lone bright spot during last year’s disastrous run. Steven Smith finally got a game due to the enforced absence of their regular skipper, Angelo Mathews, and once he came out to the crease made the management look like a bunch of fools for keeping him out so long. Despite Finch’s start, it was Smith’s late flourish that helped the Pune Warriors to a challenging total.

As for CSK, it seemed to be an experimental side for the game and they got their just reward for taking the opposition too lightly. Sitting out Hussey and playing one all-rounder too many was not the smartest of decisions. The bowlers for the most part did a manful job on a batting track, but the performance of the experienced Nannes and Bravo was disappointing. Nannes hasn’t really brought any oomph to the attack, which his compatriot Bollinger brought to the team when he made his IPL debut. As for Bravo, he doesn’t really offer anything that the other all-rounders don’t (except for his dancing moves) and it might be better for CSK to go with the overseas combination of Hussey-Morkel-Morris and Nannes/Hilfenhaus/Holder for future games.

As for the batting, Dhoni is justified in his anger at the post-match press conferences. For the most successful team in IPL history, to perennially struggle with the top order is frustrating; it is hard to expect Dhoni and Jadeja to perform miracles all the time. Vijay can’t seem to find the perfect balance between attack and defend while Raina is not displaying his once-famed consistency in the shortest format. These two players need to back up Hussey and Badri, if CSK are to win more games. One quarter of CSK’s campaign is over, and their record is 2-2. In a tightly packed table, they cannot afford too many slip-ups against lesser teams.

Preview of next game:

Next up, the Super Kings travel north to take on the wooden spoon owners, Delhi Daredevils. Ideally, one would think that the men in yellow would win this comfortably; but given their fondness for making every game a tight encounter, expect this to be a tough one.

Tweet of the game:

Views of a Chennai Super Fan – Another day in the life of Jadeja

Match: Chennai Super Kings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai

Result: CSK win by four wickets

Narrative:

MS Dhoni won the toss, chose to field first and was almost immediately vindicated as Chris Gayle perished in the second over. If the CSK skipper thought that was half the battle won, Kohli and later, de Villiers showed there is more to RCB than the muscular West Indian. Kohli reclaimed the Orange Cap with another effective knock but it was de Villiers’ manic unbeaten 64 which pushed the Royal Challengers to 165, a total that looked just about par. In reply, the men in yellow got to a poor start losing both their openers quickly to stumble to 10/2 in 4 overs. After that, Badrinath and Raina consolidated for a while before Dhoni gave the thrust in the latter part of the innings; but when Dhoni departed in the 18th over, the Super Kings were still looking at a stiff 29 runs from 11 deliveries to win. The equation soon changed to 16 needed from the final over, when RP Singh was given the ball. A fortuitous edge and a mighty swing over long on later, Jadeja had reduced it to 6 needed from 4 balls. In the end, with 2 runs needed off one ball, RP Singh induced an upper cut from Jadeja which nestled in third man’s hands, only for the umpire to signal a no-ball. Impossibly, CSK performed a heist against RCB. Again.

Analysis:

Phew. What a game. In the end, all the ‘Sir’ jokes about Jadeja came true as he stole an incredible win for the men in yellow, with a lot of help from the hapless RP Singh. This was a game that could have gone either way, but some timely hits and a lot of luck saw CSK through. CSK seemed to have got the strangle hold on RCB with the dismissal of Gayle, but when two world class batsmen like Kohli and de Villiers get going like they did, there is nothing much the opposition can do. In fact, given the way de Villiers was blitzing towards the end, RCB will feel like they landed at least 15 runs short.

The waiting game worked so well for Hussey-Vijay against Kings XI, but it came a cropper against RCB and put a lot of pressure on the middle order. Luckily, CSK have just the right men for the situation in Raina and Badri. The pair kept the runs ticking and most importantly didn’t lose their wickets too early. After that it was all Dhoni and Jadeja. When Dhoni got out, it looked for a while that the game was heading for a finish similar to the one against the Mumbai Indians. So, it was good to see Jadeja and Bravo strike timely hits to keep the team in the contest. For CSK to be consistently good, they will need more performances like this from the all-rounders who follow the captain.

What can be said about the RP Singh no-ball? He had a really poor game; he had dropped a sitter and bowled a big no-ball earlier in the game as well. While there were a lot of murmurs about ‘fixing’ on the social media, I would think it was just a case of an experienced bowler having an off day.

Preview of next game:

In two days, the Super Kings are taking on the Pune Warriors who are not having the greatest of seasons. While they seemed to have turned a corner in the game against the Rajasthan Royals, their performance against the Mumbai Indians betrayed old habits. They will also miss their regular captain Angelo Mathews as this game is being held in Chennai, and it will be interesting to see who the stand-in skipper will be. Either way, the Super Kings will do well not to take them lightly. It is important to grab these crucial wins against the lesser teams; as the game against RCB showed, the battle between the top tier teams can swing any way, any time.

Tweets of the game:

Views of a Chennai Super Fan – The One Where The Hussey In Yellow Comes Out On Top

Match: Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings in Mohali

Result: Chennai Super Kings won by 10 wickets

Narrative: MS Dhoni won the toss and inserted the Kings XI in to bat first. Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, it looked like Kings XI were headed for a 180+ total, when David Hussey and Gurkeerat Singh were at the crease and scoring runs freely. Then at the start of the 14th over, Hussey holed out to long off which triggered an inexplicable collapse. Bravo and new man Chris Morris joined hands to pick off the remaining batsmen, as Kings XI lost their last seven wickets for 32 runs. Still, a target of 139 should have been tricky considering the performance of the Kings XI bowlers in the last game. Instead, Michael Hussey (aka Mr Cricket) and Murali Vijay (aka Monk) gave a batting exhibition worthy of their monikers to take the Super Kings to a crushing 10 wicket victory in the 18th over. It was not without drama of course as a dicey third umpire decision, a dropped catch and a missed stumping all went in favor of the CSK openers; yet it was a dominating performance by the visitors as they outclassed the hosts in all departments of the game.

Analysis: Going into this game, the Super Kings were at the bottom of the table while the Kings XI were at the top; both unfamiliar positions for the teams. Soon, order was restored though. Kings XI kept scoring runs freely in the first half of their innings but they also lost three of their top order batsmen in the process. Once Hussey got out, the Super Kings showed why they are so good by packing off the rest in clinical fashion. Vijay’s dropped catch early on in the innings was the only blemish, as the men in yellow were flawless on the field for the rest of the time. Even Ashwin took a spectacular diving catch. It was that kind of night. Also impressive was the bowling performance of Chris Morris, the South African all rounder who replaced Laughlin in the XI. With Bravo and Albie Morkel sealing the positions of two overseas all-rounders in the XI, it will be hard for Morris to retain his place when Morkel is fully fit; still, he has not done any harm to his chances and his performances with the bat will be closely watched.

What is left to be said about Michael Hussey? For a man who has stepped away from the highest levels of the game, he still plays with a lot of passion and skill, which his compatriots sorely lacked in the past couple of months. A strike rate of 159 might indicate that he threw his bat around, but his innings was anything but slam-bang. Placement, timing and right shot selection – that was all it took for a commanding 86 off 54 balls. His partner Murali Vijay played a very sensible knock with a sedate run-a-ball 50; his performance in the recent Test series has seemed to have changed his mentality and it showed as he willing to bide his time and give his partner the support he needed. All these augur well for the Super Kings as they head for tougher contests in the coming weeks.

Preview: Next up is the game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are probably the most impressive team of this edition so far. Chris Gayle is always a perennial danger, but now the likes of Kohli, de Villiers and Henriques are doing their own part too. While Murali will not play in Chennai, the likes of Vettori, Kartik, Vinay Kumar and RP Singh will prove to be tougher for the CSK batsmen. How the men in yellow fare against them will give an early clue to how well the team have shaken off their rustiness. Either way, it should make for a terrific contest.

Tweet of the game:

https://twitter.com/ABVan/status/322039723352797184

(Pictures courtesy of ESPNCricinfo and IPLT20.com)

Views of a Chennai Super Fan – “Dhon’t” leave it too late!

Over the coming weeks, I will be offering my analysis of CSK’s games from a fan’s perspective. Here is the first of the lot:

Match: Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians in Chennai

Result: Mumbai Indians win by 9 runs.

Narrative: Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat. Promptly, MI were in trouble as they lost Tendulkar and Ponting to the seasoned Nannes and rookie Rajpoot. Dinesh Karthik continued from where he left off against RCB, but the wickets continued to fall as MI stumbled to 83/6 at the end of the 12th over. From there on, it was a Pollard show, as he played a typical belligerent innings to help MI to 148 with the help of Harbhajan Singh. In reply, CSK never really got going as they struggled to 97 in the 16th over when Jadeja lost his wicket. MSD took it as his cue to play his trademark back-to-the-wall innings, as a flurry of four and sixes came off his bat in the final overs, but it was that man Pollard again, whose spectacular catch on the boundary in the final over, who sealed CSK’s fate and with that the game for MI.

Analysis: A very disappointing loss, considering that CSK had reduced MI to 83/6 at one stage. Still, chasing 149 in home conditions against a side without its Lankan spearhead should have been comfortable enough. Yet, that old failing of CSK – unable to get going in the powerplay – came to the fore as the top order just allowed the required rate to shoot up, leaving too much for the middle and lower order to do. MS Dhoni can only do so much, and with a little help from the other batsmen could have still won the game. Starting the season unconvincingly is nothing new for CSK, and invariably they end strongly; but Fleming and Dhoni will have to seriously work on the issues with the top order. It’s worrying that Hussey-Vijay-Raina-Badri-Bravo are unable to give good starts consistently. Hopefully, the arrival of Albie Morkel in the coming week will help with the blues.

 

5 Unforgettable Moments for a Chennai Super Kings Fan

The IPL is here, and once more it is time to set aside national loyalties and pick a city-based franchise to cheer this season. As a loyal CSK fan ever since the league’s inception, I will be egging on Dhoni’s (yellow) men to shrug off last season’s heartbreaking loss in the final and come up trumps this time to claim the championship for the third time in six seasons. Here, in no particular order, are my top five moments as a CSK fan over the years:

1. Balaji’s hat-trick (vs Kings XI in 2008)

In the context of the game, the hat-trick may not have mattered much; three wickets remained and the batsmen were going for their shots anyway. Still, to see a local lad (and one of my favorites) pick the first hat-trick was a sure sign of things to come: for the team to do well, the local players had to step up. And how they did.

2. The Monk tees off (vs Rajasthan Royals in 2010)

CSK’s strength is the quality of big hitting batsmen in their side. Over the years, they have had Hayden, Flintoff, Dhoni, Raina, Morkel and Bravo – all players who could step in to top gear at a moment’s notice. While these players were largely known quantities, one player who chose the IPL to announce himself to the world in grand style was Murali Vijay. Just watch the quality of shots in the embedded video clip….

3. The Skipper leading from the front (vs Kings XI in 2010)

Think Dharamsala and you would associate it with serenity and beauty; but in one night, the usually calm and collected MS Dhoni exploded to viscerally demolish Irfan Pathan in the final over of the game to give CSK a much needed win. The team was having an average run up to that point, but when Dhoni punched his helmet to celebrate the victory, it signaled the onset of a turn-around in fortunes.

4. Pollard gets out to a plan (vs Mumbai Indians in 2010)

CSK were cruising to their first IPL title in the final when big Kieron Pollard walked in. MI had made a strategic error by sending Pollard in too late, but it didn’t seem to matter as the ‘other KP’ smashed 22 runs off a Bollinger over to raise MI hopes of a last-minute heist. This is where the calm and calculating Dhoni sealed the game, as he positioned CSK’s own big man Matthew Hayden at a straightish mid-off and waited for Pollard to hit one straight to the fielder. He duly obliged in the final ball of the penultimate over as CSK sealed the game in their favor.

5. Albie ‘Morkels’ Kohli (vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2012)

This was one of the highlights of IPL 2012 and it will not be easily forgotten by those who were following the match. CSK needed 43 runs to win from 12 balls when Dhoni got out. In comes Albie Morkel with a clear set of instructions: hit the ball as hard as you can. As luck would have it for the men in yellow, he had to tee off against Virat Kohli, not really the bowler you would want to throw up against a fearsome hitter of the ball. What followed was carnage, as 28 runs came off the penultimate over, and CSK stole an improbable victory off the last ball of the game. In a season which ultimately ended in disappointment for the team, Albie Morkel’s assault was one of the bright spots to cherish.

Another season, another opportunity for the Super Kings to shine. What do they have in store this year?

If I were N Srinivasan

“Hmm….go on…”

These days, the most hated person in the cricket world is not a non-performing cricketer or a bumbling umpire; that privilege goes to a soft spoken, bespectacled business man from Chennai. Narayanaswami Srinivasan, or N Srinivasan (or, Srini mama as “affectionately” known throughout the social networks) is the current BCCI chief, which in turn makes him the overlord of all international cricket bodies (allegedly). It takes a special kind of talent (sorry, Rohit) to be universally disdained by anyone related to cricket. Indian fans hate him for reasons pertaining to IPL, DRS and an autocratic approach to governing the Board. Non-Indian fans hate him for reasons pertaining to IPL, DRS and an autocratic approach which influences the governing of other national cricket boards. It is nice to know that in a cricket world divided by misplaced nationalistic fervor, we can all agree that the BCCI chief is a tool. And that Jade Dernbach’s tattoos make Mitchell Johnson’s look like a work of Picasso. Don’t even get me started on that.

“Cool story, bro….now get to your point!”

Anyway, I was thinking about it and it led me to wonder what I would do if I was the BCCI chief. If Twitter and Facebook is to be believed (and when are they ever wrong?), Srinivasan has unlimited powers through which he can fix IPL games in a way that the Chennai Super Kings make it to the final every year, bully other boards into selecting/dropping certain players, ensure that Dhoni remains the unquestioned ‘Super King’ of Indian cricket and fit in enough time to destroy the game of cricket as we know and love. If all that is there to it, I think Srini mama is selling himself short. Here is what I would do if I was the former Honorary Sheriff of Madras (see, you learnt something new today!):

  • First step – through brow beating, arm twisting and using Navjot Sidhu to make prank calls every day to each board chief, grab control of the ICC presidency (officially). Welcome to the era of Srini.

“Change you BETTER believe in”

  • Make MS Dhoni the Vice President. Well of course.

“Together we shall rule the world!”

  • Make some changes to the ICC constitution (if they have one!) and give myself unlimited powers to affect the internal functioning of all member boards. All with their “permission” of course.
  • Let’s turn to the Black Caps. Who is this Hesson fellow? Remove him and appoint Stephen Fleming as coach. Also, ask “Where the heck is Daniel Vettori?” More importantly, arrange for two series every year between India and New Zealand. There is bound to be some morale boosting wins. For one of them.
  • Australia. This John Inverarity makes Srikkanth look like a genius. Sack him and appoint Warne as chief selector. Give Elizabeth Hurley a role – perhaps fashion consultant? Most importantly, make sure to “rest” Michael Clarke from series against India.

“For Mitchell Johnson, I’m thinking….plastic surgery would be a good choice”

  • Next, Sri Lanka. They have already done their part by selecting a politician as their chief selector. What could go wrong? Go one step further, and ask the Lankan president to be the honorary coach of the team. Also, offer the post of fielding coach to the Sports minister. That is one way of bringing the Lankan fielding to Indian standards.
  • Moving on to South Africa. I love Dale Steyn. He is the future of fast bowling. Heck, he is the future of bowling. A legend of his quality needs to be preserved well. It is important to balance his workload and he should get rest from time to time. Ensure that his rest coincides with India’s tour to South Africa. Also, appoint Faf du Plessis as captain in all formats.

“psst…want to join the Super Kings?”

  • England has troubled us for too long. Time to bring them down a notch. Make Kevin Pietersen the captain again. Remove Andy Flower and bring back Peter Moores as coach and appoint Nick Knight as assistant coach. Make sure that Bopara and Dernbach get to play in every game. Also, give Alastair Cook mandatory rest during series against India and grant Indian citizenship to Monty Panesar.
  • Allow Pakistani players to feature in the IPL. Sign up Junaid Khan, Hafeez and Ajmal for the Super Kings. Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal will go to the team that annoys me the most. Shah Rukh, I’m looking at you.

“Ok…these impromptu dance performances SRK keeps asking us to do, is too much now!”

  • There are no entertainers like the West Indies cricket team. Allow them to feature as the 10th team in the IPL.
  • MS Dhoni will not only be captain, but will also be the chief selector of the Indian team. Say hello to RP Singh again! Make India Cements the official team sponsor. Grant Suresh Raina the “honorary” number 6 spot in Tests and assign R Ashwin as the “honorary” first choice spinner in all formats; no to forget, the official spokesperson of the team after every defeat. Also, replace Fletcher with John Wright.

An overjoyed Fletcher, on hearing the news

  • For my dear CSK, appoint Mike Hussey as the coach and ensure that they get to play all their games on slow tracks, be it home or away. Make a special allowance for the team, so that they get to play 6 foreign players in the XI. Rule of thumb: Chennai Super Kings shall always win the IPL.
  • Remove the DRS and institute “SRS” – any time a player wants a decision reviewed, the umpire shall call a special number through which the calls are routed to my private phone and I get to take the final decision depending on my careful analysis as to how the dismissal would affect Indian cricket. Even if the game does not feature India.

“but, Sir…we can only give one batsman out at a time!”

  • Appoint personnel to follow Twitter and Facebook for any unfavorable mentions of me; any culprits found besmirching my name will be spammed to eternal banishment from the World Wide Web.
  • After I’m done enjoying the fruits of my “labor” for a few years, I will go on Oprah’s talk show to confess that I had taken all the previously mentioned actions under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs (I foresee a drop in sales of my “What Would Srini Do” wrist bracelets). I will leave the public eye gracefully; but in one final act of defiance, I will ensure that Ravi Shastri and Sunil Gavaskar become the new ICC and BCCI chiefs respectively!

“You get a Shastri…you get a Sunny G….everybody gets a one-eyed BCCI puppet free!”

PS: Mr Srinivasan, if you’re reading this by any chance……I kid, I kid! I’m a big fan, sir. Please don’t banish me from the World Wide Web!  

“I’m watching you…”

The Plunder Games Week 7 Recap

Have you been too busy studying for your exams to take note of what has been going on in the IPL? Or have you been too engrossed in searching for a job to know who has hit the most ‘DLF Maximums’ over the past week? Maybe all your time is being taken up by stalking your ex-boyfriend; or you could just be some closeted IPL fan who likes to keep up appearances by publicly denouncing the ‘pajama cricket’ but want to know how your favorite IPL team is doing?

Never fear. For the attention-deficit IPL fan in you, I present to you ‘The Plunder Games’ – a weekly recap of all the IPL action. Here, you can catch up with all the past week’s action in just 10 minutes.

Game 65: KKR vs MI

Kolkata Knight Riders 140 for 7 (Tiwary 41) beat Mumbai Indians 108 (Narine 4-15, Balaji 2-11) by 32 runs

Match in 140 characters: Tiwary leads the way as KKR stumble to 140; in response, Mumbai Indians can’t figure out Narine and cant score off Balaji to lose by 32 runs

#TrottsFault: Herschelle Gibbs. His tedious knock of 13 from 24 balls meant that the Mumbai Indians never got the momentum going at the start of the chase.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: The game was delicately poised halfway through MI’s innings as they had 9 wickets in hand with 80 runs to get. In a moment, Narine broke through Tendulkar’s defences with a vicious off break to ensure that the incoming batsmen would be always looking out for an unplayable delivery, thus keeping them on the defensive for the rest of the innings.

Viagra Performer of the day: Another day in the life of Sunil Narine. 4 wickets for 15 runs in 3.1 overs at an economy rate of 4.73. The wait for a batsman who can truly tame him, continues.

Best tweet of the day: Sunil Narine’s deliveries are like a Maruti 800 driven by a Delhi aunty talking on her cellphone, don’t know which side it’s gonna turn. (by @GabbarSingh)

Game 66: KXIP vs CSK

Kings XI Punjab 123 for 4 (Gilchrist 64*, Bravo 2-18) beat Chennai Super Kings 120 for 7 (Bravo 48, Awana 2-12, Praveen 2-18) by six wickets

Match in 140 characters: Kings XI pace quartet restrict CSK to 120; a Gilly special makes light weight of the target as CSK’s playoff fate hangs in balance

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: CSK had struggled to 46/3 at the end of 10 overs, but were looking up to captain Dhoni to do the needful and rescue them out of their hole. Instead, the impressive Awana pressured him into playing an expansive stroke, only to be caught at third man. CSK never got going after that.

Viagra Performer of the day: Despite the impressive bowling performance by the Kings XI pacers, the game was not completely out of CSK’s hands yet as they had the in-form Hilfenhaus opening the bowling. The man who had to face him was Gilchrist, a veteran of many a battle but returning after a long break due to injury. Gilly never let the pressure settle by taking the attack on, and in the process brought home an easy win for KXIP.

Best tweet of the game: The IPL should replace that bowling machine they use for the biggest six scoring comp with Piyush Chawla. (by @birchola)

Game 67: RCB vs DD

Royal Challengers Bangalore 215 for 1 (Gayle 128*, Kohli 73*) beat Delhi Daredevils 194 for 9 (Taylor 55, Zaheer 3-38) by 21 runs

Match in 140 characters: Gayle and Kohli demolish a Morne-less attack; despite valiant efforts by Rosco and Russell, DD fall short by 21 runs

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Ross Taylor had timed his return to form perfectly, as the Daredevils gave a serious fright to RCB while chasing. So, when he got out swinging with the equation reading 57 runs to win from 22 balls, the bowlers finally began to breathe easy.

Viagra Performer of the day: He scored 1 run off the first 8 balls he faced. When he walked off at the end of the innings, Gayle had scored 128 from 62 balls with 13 sixes. At this point, there are no adjectives left to describe the phenom that is Chris Gayle.

Best tweet of the day:  Good game to miss @mornemorkel65 :):) (by @albiemorkel)

Game 68: DC vs RR

Deccan Chargers 128 for 5 (Akshat Reddy 42, Trivedi 2-20) beat Rajasthan Royals 126 for 8 (Dravid 39, Mishra 2-20) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Mishra and Steyn confound to keep Royals to 126; Reddy leads a comfortable chase for Chargers as RR lose their shot at play-offs

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: Since the fielders were of no help, Mishra decided to do the work himself by bowling a special delivery to get rid of Shane Watson. With the exit of their most dangerous player, the Royals struggled to get any momentum going against a determined bowling attack.

Viagra Performer of the day: While Steyn was his usual miserly self, it was Amit Mishra who stole the spotlight with a fine exhibition of leg spin bowling. 2/20 off 4 overs including the important wicket of Watson meant that he was the star player for once, instead of Steyn, for the Chargers.

Game 69: KXIP vs DD

Delhi Daredevils 145 for 4 (Warner 79) beat Kings XI Punjab 141 for 8 (Chitnis 38, Mahmood 36, Morkel 4-20, Yadav 3-19) by six wickets

Match in 140 characters: Morkel and Yadav dismantle KXIP’s top order before Warner’s blazing innings knocks Gilly’s men out of the tournament

Viagra Performer of the day: Umesh Yadav is one of the few Indian fast bowlers to excel in this edition of the IPL. This time, he was at the top of his game, even as he prised out the wickets of Gilchrist, Mandeep and Hussey to ensure that the KXIP would not get to a challenging total.

Game 70: PWI vs KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders 136 for 4 (Shakib 42, McCullum 41, Parnell 2-18) beat Pune Warriors 102 for 8 (Yusuf 2-12, Shakib 2-18) by 34 runs

Match in 140 characters: PWI’s depressing run ends as KKR come out on top in a pitch only Shakib and McCullum manage to negotiate

Viagra Performer of the day: Its a wonder that Shakib al Hasan doesn’t get more games for his team, as he manages to come up with game changing contribution whenever he gets a chance. On a tricky pitch for batsmen, Shakib powered KKR to a good total and with the ball, he ensured that PWI didn’t get any leeway.

Game 71: DC vs RCB

Deccan Chargers 132 for 7 (Duminy 74, Vinay 3-22) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 123 for 9 (Kohli 42, Steyn 3-8, Ashish Reddy 3-25) by 9 runs 

Match in 140 characters: A Duminy special ensures a late surge for the Chargers as they post 132; Steyn leads a super-charged performance as RCB choke for last time

#TrottsFault: Its not often that one can blame Gayle for his team’s loss, but in the most crucial game of the season, he chose to take Steyn on instead of playing him out and shepherding the chase. The result was a wild swing which got himself castled and put pressure on a middle order which apart from himself and de Villiers has been very unconvincing this year.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Despite the early hiccups, it looked like RCB were on course for the win when Kohli and Tiwary were batting. It all changed in the last ball of the 16th over, when Kohli hit the ball straight to the fielder at long on and exited the ground in a fit of rage against himself. From there, it was only one team which was going to win the game.

Viagra Performer of the day: Dale Steyn has been one of the few shining lights for the Chargers this season. A terrific spell of bowling accounted for Gayle and Dilshan, which robbed RCB of their best batsmen at the top. He finished with figures of 3/8 from his 4 overs and ensured that the Deccan Chargers wouldn’t be going home with the wooden spoon this year.

Best tweet of the game: Somewhere in Chennai, Dhoni is sitting in front of the telly whilst stroking a cat in his lap and saying “It’s all going as planned” (by @KunalVanBhatia)

Game 72: RR vs MI

Mumbai Indians 163 for 0 (Smith 87*, Tendulkar 58*) beat Rajasthan Royals (Watson 45, Kulkarni 3-18) by ten wickets

Match in 140 characters: Watson and Binny power RR to what seems like a challenging total; riding on luck, Tendulkar and Smith ease MI to a 10 wicket win

Viagra Performer of the day: Dhawal Kulkarni got his first game of the season and he didn’t disappoint, with figures of 3/18 in 4 overs. It will be a tricky decision for MI, as they debate whether to retain him for the play-off game or plump for the experience and loud mouth of Munaf Patel.

Best tweet of the week:

By banning #SRK from Wankhede, MCA has sent a clear message that they’ll not tolerate ugly behaviur. Except by players like Munaf, of course (by @rameshsrivats)