CSK

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 – “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 – Final Week Recap

1st Qualifier: KKR vs DD

 

Kolkata Knight Riders 162 for 4 (Yusuf 40*) beat Delhi Daredevils 144 for 8 (Jayawardene 40, Kallis 2-24, Narine 2-24) by 18 runs

Match in 140 characters: Pathan and Shukla blitz in last four overs to power KKR to a stiff 162; poor shot selection, umpiring blunder and bizarre tactics cost DD

#TrottsFault: In a tournament which has seen captains struggling over when to send their best hitters to the middle, one more ridiculous instance can be added. When Jayawardene got out, the required run rate was well above 10 an over and the situation required a barnstorming knock like the one Yusuf Pathan played earlier in the game; instead Sehwag sent Negi, known more for his bowling ahead of Taylor. Rao and Negi pottered around as the innings stagnated, and when Ross Taylor finally came out to bat, he had to face Narine with 3 overs left and a RRR touching 14. It was eerily similar to the IPL-3 final, where Tendulkar kept Pollard for too late, costing Mumbai Indians the title.

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: If there was one batsman who could make light weight of the target of 163, it was Sehwag. So when Balaji had him nicking behind in the 3rd over, KKR had put one foot in the final already.

Viagra Performer of the day: Yusuf Pathan has been getting a lot of grief over his non-performance in this year’s IPL, but the KKR management stuck to their guns believing that he would come good eventually. He repaid that ironclad faith with the type of innings, he has built his reputation on. At the end of 16 overs, it looked like KKR would be happy with a total of 140; instead, they got an additional 20 runs which proved to be the difference in the end.

Best tweet of the game: Viru claims he never looks at the pitch before a game. Looking at the bowlers he picked today, I am starting to believe him now. #getlostpls (by @fakeiplplayer)

Eliminator: CSK vs MI

Chennai Super Kings 187 for 5 (Dhoni 51, Hussey 49) v Mumbai Indians 149 for 9 (Smith 38, Bravo 2-10, Morkel 2-31)

Match in 140 characters: Despite early hiccups, Badri and Mussey stabilize as Dhoni and Bravo provide explosive finish to innings…MI fall short by 38 runs

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Ironically, it was the fall of Jadeja at the start of the 15th over which turned out to be the exact situation CSK would have wanted to be in. With Dhoni and Bravo at the crease, and Morkel to come, CSK had the license to go after the bowling. MSD and Bravo did it in style as they exploded to add 73 runs in 29 balls to post a total that was beyond even MI’s powerful line-up.

Viagra Performer of the day: Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Dhoni revels in situations like these; the treatment he meted out to the first ball he faced was a sign of things to come. All his trademark shots were there, including the helicopter shot only he can perfect. He faced 20 balls, hit 6 fours and 2 sixes at a strike rate of 255 for a blistering 51 that effectively put the total beyond the reach of the Mumbai Indians.

Best tweet of the day: N.Srinivasan to Mukesh Ambani “Hey man. Put chutney ” (by @Sarcasan)

2nd Qualifier: CSK vs DD

Chennai Super Kings 222 for 5 (Vijay 113) beat Delhi Daredevils 136 (Jayawardene 55, Ashwin 3-23) by 86 runs

Match in 140 characters: Murali Vijay’s blistering ton leads a CSK battering of DD as absence of Morkel and strange tactics by Sehwag consign them to defeat

#TrottsFault: For the second game running, Sehwag ensured that team selection and on-field tactics would be the point of contention. Apart from dropping the leading wicket taker Morkel for the sake of team balance, he gave Sunny Gupta, a little known off spinner playing his first IPL game, the responsibility of bowling the first over. The first ball disappeared to the boundary and it never got better after that. Not satisfied, Sehwag decided to come one down while batting, giving DD less chance of a momentum grabbing start which they desperately needed to chase 223.

Viagra Performer of the day: There is something about a big game which brings out the best in Murali Vijay. After looking woefully out of form for most of the tournament, Murali Vijay struck a blistering ton which began with a boundary off the first ball of the innings, and ended when he was run out off the last ball of the innings. In between, he had scored 113 from 58 deliveries at a strike rate of 194.82 containing 15 boundaries and 4 sixes. Going into the final against KKR, CSK will be hoping that he replicates his performance one more time.

Best tweet of the game: Sehwag wants the whole world to go bald, tearing out their hair in frustration trying to make some sense of his cricketing decisions. (by @_fakeiplplayer)

Final: KKR vs CSK

Kolkata Knight Riders 192 for 5 (Bisla 89, Kallis 69) beat Chennai Super Kings 190 for 3 (Raina 73, Hussey 54, Vijay 42) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Raina’s commanding knock leads CSK to an intimidating 190; in response Bisla and Kallis show KKR the path to glory as new champs are crowned

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: In the end, it all boiled down to a Hilfenhaus no-ball in the penultimate over. With 16 needed off 7, Shakib seemingly holed out to Vijay before realizing that the umpires had called no-ball for height. The batsmen had managed to run two, even, in the midst of all the confusion. With 13 needed off 7, Shakib calmly scooped the re-bowled delivery to the fence, narrowing down the equation to a manageable 9 off 6 balls. From there-on, CSK needed a miracle, which never came.

Viagra Performer of the day: While injury to Irfan Pathan could have ultimately caused the Daredevils’ exit in the play-off, injury to Balaji proved to be a blessing in disguise for KKR. While they lost the services of one of their best bowlers, they gained Bisla, whose unexpected blistering knock waylaid all of CSK’s best laid plans. An ebullient 89 from 48 deliveries squashed any hopes of a three-peat for CSK and brought KKR much deserved IPL glory.

Best tweet of the day: Imagine. We were *this* far away from getting to see N. Srinivasan do a cartwheel. (by @rameshsrivats)

Rising star: Mandeep Singh (432 runs at a SR of 126.31)

Player of the season: Sunil Narine (24 wickets at an ER of 5.47)

Orange Cap: Chris Gayle (733 runs at a SR of 160.74)

Purple Cap: Morne Morkel (25 wickets at 7.19)

Fairplay Award: Rajasthan Royals

The Plunder games – Week 6 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 54: MI vs RCB

Royal Challengers Bangalore 142 for 1 (Gayle 82*) beat Mumbai Indians 141 for 6 (Karthik 44) by nine wickets

Match in 140 characters: RCB bowlers finally fire to restrict the Mumbai Indians to 141; Gayle and Kohli seal the chase without any fuss, as RCB move to 4th spot

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: When the Mumbai Indians somehow rebuilt their way back to 100/4 in 15 overs, it looked like they had a good launching pad for the big hitters to come in and boost the run rate; instead it was that man Murali, who not for the first time derailed the opposition’s hopes by picking two wickets off successive deliveries.

Viagra Performer of the day: Chris Gayle got the Orange Cap, scored 500 runs in the tournament, and scored another match winning knock to lead RCB to victory. He has hardly been troubled this season, and it is a troubling sign for all bowlers as IPL 5 reaches it business end.

Best tweet of the game: Umpire thinks about giving it out. But then sees it’s Bhajji, decides NO WAY can Bhajji get a wicket. (by @thecricketcouch)

Game 55: DC vs DD

Delhi Daredevils 193 for 1 (Warner 109*, Ojha 64*) beat Deccan Chargers 187 for 4 (Dhawan 84, White 65) by nine wickets 

Match in 140 characters: Dhawan and White power DC to what looks like a winning total; despite Viru’s early dismissal, Warner leads a blistering response for the win

Viagra Performer of the day: There were some people who doubted that Warner would adequately fill in the void left by KP’s departure; this innings was their answer. An unbeaten century at a strike rate of 200 made a difficult target look like a walk in the park.

Game 56: CSK vs RR

Chennai Super Kings 127 for 6 (Raina 23, Morkel 18*, Anirudha 18*) beat Rajasthan Royals 126 for 6 (Hodge 33, Hilfenhaus 2-8) by four wickets

Match in 140 characters: RR stumble to 126 in a rain-affected innings; the bowlers try their best but a brutal onslaught by Morkel and Srikkanth gives CSK the win

#TrottsFault: Its not often that Watson can be faulted, but his expensive third over virtually sealed the game in favor of the Super Kings.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: One expected Morkel to be CSK’s only hope at the start of the 18th over; so it seemed only natural that Srikkanth, being the junior partner should concede the strike to the South African that he might go for the runs. Instead, of the first two balls he faced Watson, he swung for the fences, fetching a 6 and a boundary. That essentially swung the game CSK’s way.

Viagra Performer of the day: Ben Hilfenhaus had a forgettable outing against the Mumbai Indians as he conceded 14 runs of the final 3 deliveries to lose the game for CSK. This time, he made amends with an economical spell of 2/8 off his allocated 4 overs. It meant that the Royals got frustrated into throwing away their wickets, handing the momentum to the Super Kings.

Game 57: RCB vs PWI

20 overs Royal Challengers Bangalore 173 for 3 (Gayle 57, Dilshan 53) beat Pune Warriors 138 for 9 (Vinay 3-32, Zaheer 2-21, Murali 2-16) by 35 runs

Match in 140 characters: Gayle is off to a flier, Dilshan settles first then attacks, Tiwary provides finishing touches as RCB power to a total beyond PWI’s reach

Viagra Performer of the day: Chris Gayle. 57 off 31 deliveries including three 4s and six 6s. Enough said.

Best tweet of the game: You know how good Gayle is? Made ShastriBot abandon tracerbullet and look up words like Scud and Skimmer. That good. (by @thecricketcouch)

Pinocchio Fact: At the end of RCB’s innings, new Pune Warriors skipper Steven Smith sent a request to the IPL’s governing committee if they could sublet their batting innings to the Delhi Daredevils. (courtesy @BoredCricket)

Game 58: KKR vs MI

Mumbai Indians 182 for 1 (Rohit 109*, Gibbs 66*) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 155 for 4 (Kallis 79, Yusuf 40*) by 27 runs

Match in 140 characters: Sharma and Gibbs dazzle to take MI to 182; KKR never get close despite a Kallis 50 and a return to form for Yusuf Pathan

Viagra Performer of the day: Rohit Sharma’s maiden IPL ton served not only as a reminder to the natural talent this man possesses, but also how frustrating it is for long time observers to see him fail at the highest level. Hopefully, this is a sign of bigger things to come for him.

Game 59: CSK vs DD

Chennai Super Kings 115 for 1 (Vijay 48*, Hussey 38) beat Delhi Daredevils 114 for 5 (Nagar 43*, Hilfenhaus 3-27) by nine wickets 

Match in 140 characters:  Hilfy’s opening spell knocks out the DD top order and CSK have no trouble in chasing down the target with ease

#TrottsFault: David Warner was coming off a brilliant ton in his last game and much was expected of him again. He might have forgotten to account for one thing though: His century came against an all-Indian bowling attack. Against a much superior Hifenhaus, he went for an arrogant shot which didn’t clear mid-off, and ultimately put his team’s fragile middle order in strife.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Virender Sehwag has been a huge factor in DD’s rise to the top of the table; while his failure against the Chargers didn’t cost them too much, his wicket in the first over against a superior CSK meant that the Daredevils had to do all the hard work if they wanted a winning total, and ultimately that proved beyond them.

Viagra Performer of the day: For the second game running, Hilfenhaus’ opening spell helped CSK win the game. He is no speed demon like Steyn or a yorker machine like Malinga, but his intelligent use of swing is helping the defending champions in their late attempt to make it to the play-offs.

Best tweet of the day: Mumbai bats like Delhi. Now Delhi bats like Mumbai. Strange Saturday this. (by @knittins)

Game 60: RR vs PWI

Rajasthan Royals 170 for 4 (Rahane 61, Watson 58) beat Pune Warriors 125 for 9 (Smith 37, Chandila 4-13) by 45 runs

Match in 140 characters: Rahane and Watson power the Royals to a challenging total, before little known Chandila’s hat-trick leaves PWI in tatters

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: When Chandila ambled in and claimed his hat-trick victim Utthappa, the game was pretty much done and dusted there. PWI were 11/3 at the start of the 3rd over and chasing 171, there was no way back for them from there on.

Viagra Performer of the day: Ajit Chandila. Apart from claiming the first hat-trick of this year’s IPL, he only conceded 13 runs off his allocated overs.

Game 61: DC vs KXIP

Kings XI Punjab 194 for 6 (D Hussey 65*, Gurkeerat 29*) beat Deccan Chargers 190 for 4 (Dhawan 71, White 67) by four wickets

Match in 140 characters: Dhawan and White (again!) power DC to what seems to be a winning total, only for Hussey and (unknown till now) Gurkeerat to steal a win

#TrottsFault: Of all the deliveries to bowl in the final ball of an innings when the batting team needs one run to win, the bouncer is the worst choice. If the batsman misses, he can more often than not steal a bye, and if he connects, it is more likely to clear the fielders who have been brought in to stop a single. Gony chose to bowl a bouncer, Gurkeerat managed to connect his swing, and just like that the Chargers managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Again.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: When David Hussey could only get a single off the second delivery of the final over to concede strike to Gurkeerat, the Chargers would have sensed one final shot at winning the game. Instead, for the second game in running, a little known domestic player turned the spotlight on himself, as Gurkeerat smashed the next two balls for a 6 and 4, resigning the Chargers to another last over loss.

Viagra Performer of the day: Though Gurkeerat got the honor of delivering the winning moment for his team, it was skipper David Hussey who won the game for KXIP from a difficult situation. When he came in to bat, the required rate was well above 11 an over. By the end of the innings, he returned with an unbeaten 65 off 35 deliveries to prove why he is KXIP’s most valuable player.

Best tweet of the game: If all teams win their must win games then will we have all teams in semis? (by @onejubb)

Game 62: MI vs RCB

Mumbai Indians 173 for 5 (Rayudu 81*, Pollard 52*) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 171 for 6 (Agarwal 64, Dilshan 47) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Mayank’s blazing finish sets up a tricky chase for MI; despite early stutters, Rayadu and Pollard get the win in commanding fashion

#TrottsFault: RCB’s fifth bowler conundrum. Its the one thing keeping them from being a genuine contender for the title of champions.

Viagra Performer of the day: Not for the first time this IPL, Rayadu has ensured a last over win for MI. On present form, it will be really hard for the selectors to keep him out of the team for the World T20 championship.

Best tweet of the game: Nice to see Munaf Patel hasn’t let this match faze him at all. He continues to be crap. #getlostpls (by @_fakeiplplayer)

Game 63: KKR vs CSK

Chennai Super Kings 160 for 5 (Hussey 56, Narine 2-14) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 158 for 6 (Gambhir 62, Jakati 2-26) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: GG and Baz get KKR off to a flyer before CSK pull it back; Mussey and Vijay do the same before Narine induces panic; Bravo finishes in style

#TrottsFault: It was not so much a fault as it was inexperience which failed the rookie de Lange at a critical stage of the game. The 19th over in this IPL has been harsh to the bowlers and this time was no exception either. MSD ransacked 14 runs off the first three balls to give CSK a great shot at winning the game, which they ultimately did.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: CSK need 5 runs in 2 balls. Bravo swings and misses. Now the equation is 5 off 1. Bravo swings again and JUST clears the boundary to win the game. A few meters is all thats different between a win and a loss.

Viagra Performer of the day: Forget Malinga and Steyn. Narine has been the standout bowler in this IPL. Once again, he confounded the opposition batsmen to pull his team back into the contest. 4 overs, 14 runs and 2 wickets. In the end, it wasn’t enough, but he couldn’t be blamed for it.

Best tweet of the day: 8.1 Kim Jong-Il to Vijay, SIX, Kobe Bryant to complete the over#tweetlikeCricinfo (by @congusmaximus)

Game 64: DD vs KXIP

Delhi Daredevils 140 for 5 (Jayawardene 56*, Awana 3-22) beat Kings XI Punjab 136 for 8 (Hussey 40*, Yadav 3-21, Aaron 2-19) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Hussey weathers a Yadav-Aaron pace attack to drag KXIP to 136; despite losing early wickets, Mahela stays till the end to lead DD to playoff

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: At the start of the 18th over of DD’s innings, the required run rate was touching 9, even as KXIP’s most impressive bowler of the day, Awana ran in to bowl. Irfan Pathan, who has been more effective with the bat than his brother in this IPL, struck 3 boundaries to relieve the pressure and put the Daredevils on a certain path to victory.

Viagra Performer of the day: While Aaron and Yadav impressed with pace earlier in the game, the star of the day was Awana, who bowled against better batsman and returned impressive figures. While his figures were sullied in his final over, it was a top class exhibition of smart bowling and gives some hope for India’s future of fast bowling.

Best tweet of the week:

Ashish Nehra on being grilled by ICC anti-corruption bureau will be saying :”I swear, it wasn’t fixed! I was genuinely bowling badly!!!” (by @coolfunnytshirt)

The little Little Master, already perfecting the ‘disappointed walk back’ look…..

The Plunder Games – Week 1 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 1: CSK vs MI

Mumbai Indians 115 for 2 (Levi 50) beat Chennai Super Kings 112 (Pollard 2-15, Malinga 2-16, Ojha 2-17) by eight wickets 

Match in 140 characters: Vijay stutters, Dhoni is run out, Ojha fires, CSK stumble to 112…Levi strikes, Tendulkar retires hurt, Sharma gets his box checked, MI win

#TrottsFault: Apart from getting IPL debutant du Plessis run out, Vijay’s nervy batting forced the rest of the batsmen to search for hidden demons in the pitch.

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: In his first appearance for the Bombay Desis (aka Mumbai Indians), Ojha struck to remove danger man and IPL God Suresh Raina. CSK never really recovered after that.

Viagra Performer of the day: It is rare to see players justifying their hype in their first game itself; yet, that was what Levi did. He removed any notions of a contest with some brutal strikes, and he will get more dangerous as the tournament progresses.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: The strategic time-out is actually a 2 minute silence for Lalit Modi

Best tweet of the game: How to lose a loyal fan following. Tip 1: Replace Whistle Podu with some hands up nonsense. Tip 2: Invest gazillions on R Jaddu. (by @knittins)

Game 2: KKR vs DD

Delhi Daredevils 100 for 2 (Irfan 42*, Finch 30) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 97 for 9 (Shukla 26, M Morkel 3-18) by eight wickets

Match in 140 characters: Rain delays, match reduced to 12 overs a side, Morkel and Yadav strike, DD to chase 98, Sehwag and Finch start well, Irfan finishes in style

#TrottsFault: Marchant de Lange did not have his national team-mate Levi’s dream IPL debut….instead, at the most crucial stage of the match, he gave bowled plenty of hit-me deliveries to Irfan Pathan who duly obliged.

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: In the space of two deliveries, Morkel ensured that KKR would struggle to an inadequate total by dismissing the dangerous Kallis and ‘blink-and-you-will-miss-him’ Tiwary, who might just be the unluckiest Indian cricket player right now.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: Gambhir and Sehwag agreed to a 12 over game, as they are both fans of finishing games early.

Best tweet of the game: Delhi Daredevil’s strategy worked. Dress Agarkar up as Marchant de Lange. (by @greatbong)

Game 3: MI vs PWI

Pune Warriors India 129 for 9 (Smith 39, Malinga 2-16) beat Mumbai Indians 100 for 9 (Dinda 4-17) by 29 runs

Match in 140 characters: Malinga, Bhajji and Munaf keep Pune to 129 even as Smith steadies the Warriors, Kartik, Dinda wreak havoc on MI’s top order, Ganguly smiles

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: Defending a measly target of 130 against some of the best hitters is always going to be a tough ask; but the Indians’ chase never got off to a start thanks to a double-strike by Dinda in the second over where he dismissed Rayadu and Rohit. In the absence of Sachin, the chase got more difficult and ultimately proved beyond them.

Viagra performer of the day: Kartik struck twice and Dinda four times; but if it wasn’t for ‘Piggy’ Smith’s important knock of 39 which pushed the Warriors to a defendable total, it wouldn’t have mattered. In the process, he made Ganguly a very happy skipper.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: Harbhajan Singh announced before the game, that the Mumbai Indians wanted to win it for Sachin’s injured finger.

Best tweet of the game: Haha cricket, look at @kartikmurali go at BossDK! Must be because he’s added an “H” to their good name. #ipl5 (by @boredcricket)

Game 4: RR vs KXIP

Rajasthan Royals 191 for 4 (Rahane 98) beat Kings XI Punjab 160 for 9 (Mandeep 34, Cooper 4-26) by 31 runs

Match in 140 characters: Dravid plays a familiar supporting role, this time to young Rahane who dazzles with 98, RR cruise to 191, Kings XI have no answer to Cooper

#TrottsFault: At one point, Rahane was toying with Praveen so badly, that it looked like PK was going to grab a stump at any moment and violate the batsman. For a person who shone brightly on the ill-fated tour of England last year, it has been a steep decline since, and today’s performance effectively let the Royals run away with the game.

Viagra Performer of the day: While Cooper made a debut to remember, the win was nicely set up by Rahane, whose classy 98 was a treat for sore eyes. None of his shots were hit in anger, and yet he serenely accelerated to his highest T20 score and helped set a challenging target for the Kings XI.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: Rahane gave credit to Tendulkar’s batting tips for his performance; which explains his getting out in the 90s.

Best tweet of the game: Gotta love the Royals. They took Hogg out of the comm box (by @MadFastBowler)

Game 5: RCB vs DD

Royal Challengers Bangalore 157 for 8 (de Villiers 64*, Bracewell 3-32) beat Delhi Daredevils 137 for 7 (Murali 3-25) by 20 runs

Match in 140 characters: No Gayle show due to injury but de Villiers ensures a challenging total..Sehwag fails, Murali mesmerizes and the game goes RCB’s way

#TrottsFault: Amazing how fortunes can fluctuate in the space of a game. Fresh from spearheading DD’s win in the last game with the bat, Irfan Pathan was the most expensive bowler in the next conceding 47 runs of his allocated overs.

Viagra Performer of the day: In the absence of Gayle and the rare failure of Kohli, the onus was on de Villiers to lead RCB’s innings and he didn’t disappoint. His unbeaten 64, eventually proved to be very decisive.

Best tweet of the game: Some teams pick India hopefuls. Daredevils pick India’s hopeless.#ipl5 (by @BoredCricket)

Game 6: CSK vs DC

Chennai Super Kings 193 for 6 (Jadeja 48, Bravo 43*) beat Deccan Chargers 119 (Jadeja 5-16) by 74 runs

Match in 140 characters: du Plessis starts things off, Jadeja maintains the tempo, Bravo explodes in style…after that, with ball it was a Jadeja show all the way

#TrottsFault: Only one contender. While one ex-CSK bowler had a great day with the ball in the first game, another one was mercilessly slaughtered in the second. Gony, who is also an ex-India pacer was taken to the cleaners by Bravo, which ensured the target would be beyond the Chargers’ meager resources.

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: It was a leading edge which went for six runs in the 19th over, which aggravated the hitter Bravo for some reason. From next ball, it was carnage as he struck four more sixes to bring to total 40 runs scored off the last two overs.

Viagra Performer of the day: While Bravo provided the finishing touches with the bat, Jaddu boy had earlier stabilized CSK’s innings after a brief mid-innings stutter. Then with the ball, he rolled over the Chargers with a five-wicket haul and justified his price tag in the process.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: Actor and loyal Chargers fan Siddharth has decided to make a new movie based on DC’s performance – Cricketil Sodhappuvadhu Eppadi (How to screw up in Cricket)

Best tweet of the game: Boss you just SHADAB ok! #JakatiTellsWhite (by @tracerbullet007)

Game 7: RR vs KKR

Rajasthan Royals 164 for 5 (Hodge 44, Menaria 40, Lee 2-29) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 143 (Tiwary 59, Cooper 3-28) by 22 runs

Match in 140 characters: Menaria, Hodge and Shah power RR to 164, KKR never take off after losing Kallis and Gambhir early, Tiwary reminds evryone he’s still around

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: One of the lesser known pace bowlers in the IPL, Amit Singh derailed KKR’s chase when he dismissed Kallis and Gambhir off successive deliveries.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: When it was his turn to bat, out of habit, Tiwary carried the drinks to the pitch instead of his bat.

Game 8: PWI vs KXIP

Pune Warriors 166 for 6 (Samuels 46, Uthappa 40, Harmeet 3-24) beat Kings XI Punjab 144 for 8 (Bipul 35*, Rahul 2-34) by 22 runs

Match in 140 characters: Samuels, Utthappa, Smith and Pandey shine to lift PWI to 166, Kings XI have no answer to an inspired all round performance in the field

#TrottsFault:  Bipul Sharma with figures of 0/40 off 2.4 overs. No contest.

Viagra Performer of the day: Marlon Samuels did everything that was asked of him. With the bat, he set the platform for the bottom half of the middle order to explode; with the ball, he was miserly and never let the Kings XI take any easy runs off him.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: After instructing the Kings XI cook not to prepare oily items to prevent cases of ‘butter-fingered’ fielders, Preity Zinta has instructed the team bus driver to drive to destinations with the players running behind, so as to improve their ‘chasing’ skills.

Game 9: DC vs MI

Mumbai Indians 142 for 5 (Rohit 73*, Steyn 3-12) beat Deccan Chargers 138 for 9 (Dhawan 41, Christian 39, Munaf 4-20) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: DC score 138 but not before Munaf and Bhajji create a scene..Steyn gives a masterclass but Christian does not and Sharma steals a win

#TrottsFault: When you watch a world class bowler steaming in at the other end and causing all sorts of trouble for the batsmen, you are supposed to be inspired. Instead, Dan Christian decided to bowl the exact opposite of Steyn’s performance. The result was two full tosses in the final over which Rohit Sharma made full use of.

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: The first nail-biter of the tournament was not decided till the final ball of the match. Needing 3 runs to win, Christian bowled a full toss to Sharma which was duly dispatched over long on. And just like that, the Chargers lost a game which they were in control of, for the most period.

Viagra Performer of the day: Munaf gave a disciplined performance with the ball, and an undisciplined one with the mouth. Rohit Sharma played the sort of innings, which makes long time Indian cricket fans pull their hair in frustration; but there was one player who was simply superior to everyone else. Dale Steyn bowled 4 overs, conceding only 12 runs. Against one of the most powerful batting line ups in the IPL. To put it simply, he bowled ‘like a boss’.

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: After the game, the Deccan Chargers decided to punish Dan Christian by making him pad up in the nets to face an angry Steyn with the ball. Without any protective gear.

Best tweet of the game: With Munaf Patel in disgrace, the PA system plays “Munni Badnaam Hui”. Nice. (by @greatbong)

Game 10: RCB vs KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders 165 for 8 (Gambhir 64, R Vinay Kumar 2-18) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore123 for 9 (Vinay Kumar 25, Balaji 4-18) by 42 runs 

Match in 140 characters: Aggressive start by Gauti, Kallis and Bisla propel KKR to 165; Gayle, Kohli and ABd flop as Bala-Lee derail the Royal Challengers

#TrottsFault: Harshal Patel was signed up by RCB based on a devastating bowling performance against Karnataka a few months ago; in this game though, he was taken apart by KKR’s top order and with the likes of Mithun and Aravind in the squad, he might have to return to bench-warming duties.

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: Despite the presence of Gayle and Kohli, de Villiers remains as the in-form batsman for RCB and so, his wicket was always going to be very crucial for KKR. So, when Balaji bowled a peach of a delivery to send him back, the Knight Riders were cock-a-hoop, justifiably.

Best tweet of the game: Via [GaneshAthreyaa]@pitchinv:Kohli is as good as both the KKR openers. Cos if you merge Gauti and Kallis you get Gaalis (by @pitchinv)

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: When play was held up at the start due to faulty electrical firing, commentators received frantic tests from a certain Shastri saying, “The atmosphere is absolutely electrifying” (courtesy @knittins)

Game 11: CSK vsDD

Delhi Daredevils 111 for 2 (Pietersen 43*, Sehwag 33) beat Chennai Super Kings 110 for 8 (M Morkel 2-19) by eight wickets

Match in 140 characters: Brilliant Daredevils fielding and panicked Super Kings running restrict CSK to 110, Sehwag’s blast and KP’s zing seals the deal for DD

#TrottsFault: Whoever is responsible for CSK’s running between wickets

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: In a match where the Super Kings played like Run Out Kings, Raina’s dismissal turned out to be the most important one, as he was the only one who looked comfortable in CSK’s troubled innings.

Viagra Performer of the day: In a match which was marked by high quality fielding by the Daredevils, the pick was van der Merwe; he was literally everywhere, throwing himself around, saving numerous boundaries and to cap it all, bowled a fine spell, conceding only 15 runs off his allocated overs.

Best tweet of the game: Today CSK are like the tambrahm guy on twitter. Just can’t score (by @diogeneb)

Pinocchio Interesting Fact: The half hour delay in the game was due the Delhi Police, who were ensuring that it is safe to play after 8 pm.

TOP TWEET OF THE WEEK:

The tournament is wide open. Someone please donate a lungi to cover it up. (by @ABvan)