kings XI punjab

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:

(Pictures courtesy of ESPNCricinfo and

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)

The Plunder Games – Week 5 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 44: KXIP vs RCB

Kings XI Punjab 163 for 6 (Saini 50, Hussey 45, Mandeep 43) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 158 for 5 (Gayle 71, Kohli 45, Mahmood 3-20) by four wickets

Match in 140 characters: PK and Mahmood restrict RCB to 158 despite another Gayle 50; freak run outs threaten to derail easy chase, but Chawla takes KXIP home

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: KXIP should never have had to sweat in the closing stages of the game, after the impressive performance of their seamers and their top order batsmen; but there they were, inducing themselves into a state of panic after some tight bowling by RCB in the final overs. With 2 runs needed off 2 deliveries, it needed the much maligned Piyush Chawla to deliver the winning moment with a thumping hit over long on.

Viagra Performer of the day: Azhar Mahmood continued his impressive performance in the IPL, bagging the MOM award for his efforts; but he reaped the rewards of Praveen Kumar’s highly skilled opening spell where he conceded only 8 runs off his stipulated overs, which was bowled to the likes of Gayle and Kohli.

Best tweet of the day: At the end of the day, Ravi Shastri is the real winner coz the match has gone down to the wire! #ipl (by @coolfunnytshirt)

Game 45: PWI vs MI

Mumbai Indians 120 for 9 (Tendulkar 34, Bhuvneshwar 2-9, Nehra 2-19) beat Pune Warriors 119 for 6 (Manhas 42*, Harbhajan 2-18, Malinga 2-25) by one run

Match in 140 characters: MI huff and puff to 120 as the Warriors keep them on a tight leash; in response Bhajji and co pay them back, as Pune fall short by one run

#TrottsFault: Long time Dada fans won’t like to hear it; but Ganguly has nothing left to offer on the field. He is still one of the better leaders in the IPL, but it time he thought of mentoring the side, a la Shaun Pollock or Stephen Fleming. His stagnant knock never got the Warriors anywhere, and only made the chase more difficult. It is time for one of the country’s greats to leave gracefully.

Viagra Performer of the day: Whisper it, but it looks like Harbhajan Singh might just be returning to his best as a bowler. For the second game running, he bowled with control and picked crucial wickets to keep the Mumbai Indians in the driver’s seat throughout the Warriors’ innings.

Best tweet of the day: MIndians slowing down as they are about to reach yet another 3 figure mark. *Mandatory alert* (by @KnightsDen)

Game 46: CSK vs DC

Chennai Super Kings 160 for 6 (du Plessis 42) beat Deccan Chargers 150 for 5 (White 77) by 10 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Match in 140 characters: CSK get off to a bright start, only to stumble in second half to 160; White and Dhawan lead spirited response, but all-round CSK seal a win

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: When Sangakarra joined White at the crease, the game was wide open, with the Chargers slightly ahead. So, when Raina took a blinder of a catch to get rid of the Chargers skipper, it was advantage CSK as White and co could not build any sort of winning momentum after that.

Viagra Performer of the day: Cameron White continued his good form with the bat, as his defiant 77 was all that kept the Chargers in the game. He almost never made it past his first ball, when he was dropped by Morkel off his own bowling but he didn’t quite make  CSK pay for that.

Best tweet of the day:  Albie Morkel is that habitual movie late-comer, who has arrived 2 hours early for the matinee show today to make amends. (by @knittins)

Game 47: KKR vs PWI

Kolkata Knight Riders 150 for 5 (Gambhir 56, Mathews 2-17) beat Pune Warriors 143 for 8 (de lange 3-34, Narine 1-13) by seven runs

Match in 140 characters: Gambhir and Mac get off to a flyer before Warriors fight back to restrict KKR to 150; despite all round Mathews, PWI fall short by 7 runs

#TrottsFault: Once upon a time, Yusuf Pathan was the most feared Indian batsman in IPL. Now, he is barely a shadow of that figure, as it looks like he is desperately trying to get himself dropped from the remaining games. Another listless batting performance was followed by poor bowling which almost got PWI back in the game. KKR’s successful run is keeping the detractors at bay for now, but he has to get his act together before he becomes another forgotten man of Indian cricket.

Viagra Performer of the day: No batsman has been able to decode Sunil Narine till now, as his impressive run continues. This time, he kept bamboozling one of the past masters of spin, Ganguly to effectively seal the game in KKR’s favor. As the World T20 championship looms on friendly pitches, international coaches will have to get cracking if they are to stop this man from tying their batsmen in knots.

Game 48: RR vs KXIP

Rajasthan Royals 177 for 6 (Dravid 46, Harris 4-34) beat Kings XI Punjab 134 for 8 (Tait 2-18, Botha 2-21, Watson 2-22) by 43 runs

Match in 140 characters: Dravid’s class, Menaria’s slogs, Hodge’s swings and Watson’s all round show lead the Royals to a convincing win over the Kings XI

Viagra Performer of the day: Shane Watson was always the big marquee player for the Royals, but a combination of enforced absence due to national duties and the brilliance of the Dravid-Rahane combination, had kept him from the IPL spotlight all season; Against the Kings XI, he reminded everyone of his utility, as his domineering performance with the bat and miserly spell with the ball sealed an easy win for Dravid’s men.

Best tweet of the game: Preity Zinta just thought Kapil Dev hit a boundary… #cricket #ipl (by @InnoBystander)

Game 49: CSK vs MI

Mumbai Indians 174 for 8 (Tendulkar 74, Rohit 60, Smith 24*) beat Chennai Super Kings 173 for 8 (Vijay 41, Bravo 40, Malinga 3-25) by two wickets

Match in 140 characters: Its the game of the season, as Vijay, Raina, Sachin and Rohit light up the game; but the star is Dwayne Smith who steals the game from CSK

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: While it was Dwayne Smith who hogged all the glory in the end, one should not forget two brilliant last overs from RP Singh and Malinga which yielded just 13 runs. In the final context of the game, that ensured a target which the Mumbai Indians just about managed to chase.

Viagra Performer of the day: While Sachin rolled back the years and Rohit continued to dazzle with his IPL form, it was Dwayne Smith who was playing his first game this season, who displayed a tremendous calm, that even Dhoni would be proud of , to swat a 6 and two 4s off the final three deliveries to seal a last ball heist, which is becoming something of an MI trademark.

Best tweet of the day: “Ravi Can Run Ash Win” his parents named him. But he is proving them all wrong. #IPLpun (by @mohank)

Game 50: RCB vs DC

Royal Challengers Bangalore 185 for 5 (Dilshan 71, de Villiers 47*) beat Deccan Chargers 181 for 2 (Dhawan 73*, Harris 47, White 45) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Dhawan n White take DC to a tough total; Dilshan leads the chase with a rapid 50, but it is de Villiers’ mental hitting which seals the deal

Viagra Performer of the day: If there was any doubts as to de Villiers’ legendary status before this game, his manic knock of 47 from 17 balls would have put those to rest. Many batsmen can score the same amount of runs or more, in the same number of deliveries; but in the context of the game, to hit such audacious shots off one of the finest bowlers in the game at such a critical stage requires an exorbitant amount of confidence in one’s own skills – and de Villiers possesses that in abundance.

Best tweet of the game: Just wana congratulate @ABdeVilliers17 on that master battin display! I’d also like 2 say our friendship is nw hanging by a thread bud! Haha (by @DaleSteyn62)

Game 51: DD vs KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders 154 for 4 (McCullum 56, Gambhir 36) beat Delhi Daredevils 153 for 9 (Pathan 36, Kallis 2-20) by six wickets

Match in 140 characters: Kallis and Narine restrict DD to 153; KKR top order ensure easy win despite late hiccups..

#TrottsFault: In the absence of KP and early dismissal of Sehwag, much was expected from Jayawardene and Ross Taylor. While Jayawardene has been in decent form, the Kiwi skipper hasn’t really got going this IPL. A tortuous innings of 16 runs from 27 deliveries meant that DD had to struggle to post a competitive total, which was comfortably chased down by KKR.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Virender Sehwag came into this game on the back of five consecutive half centuries. Once again, he started like a freight train, racing to 23 off 9 deliveries, before Kallis struck to take him out. The Daredevils never got going after that.

Best tweet of the game:  So I hear Mahela didn’t walk when he edged the ball? Tell me something else thats new. #IPL (by @Floral_Mint)

Game 52: PWI vsRR

Rajasthan Royals 126 for 3 (Watson 90*) beat Pune Warriors 125 for 6 (Majumdar 30, Tait 3-13) by seven wickets

Match in 140 characters: Pune’s listless batting form continues as Tait helps restrict them to 125; In response, a merciless Watson takes the Royals to an easy win

#TrottsFault: Who else, but the man who refuses to go away gracefully. Ganguly promoted himself to the opening slot but could only gather an unconvincing 14, which robbed the Warriors of any momentum.

Viagra Performer of the day: Shane Watson completed another terrific day at the office, as his scathing unbeaten 90 demolished any hopes the Warriors may have had of winning the game.

Best tweet of the game: “Ashish Nehra has a big heart!” FOUR. “Ashish Nehra will keep trying.” SIX. (by @sidin)

Game 53: DC vs KXIP

Kings XI Punjab 170 for 5 (Mandeep 75) beat Deccan Chargers 145 for 8 (Hussey 2-2, Praveen 2-15, Awana 2-27) by 25 runs

Match in 140 characters: Mandeep’s impressive run continues as KXIP post a challenging 170; a middle order implosion by the Chargers ensure a no contest.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: When David Hussey brought himself on to bowl, the game was in the balance. In the space of four deliveries, he ensured the game was virtually over when he took the scalps of the well set Harris and the dangerous White.

Viagra Performer of the day: Mandeep Singh has been one of the breakout Indian players this IPL; his punishing knock of 75 ensured that the Chargers would have to chase a tricky target. More performances like these would not hurt him one bit, as the selectors are on the look out for fresh talent.

Best tweet of the week:

How do you put an elephant inside a fridge? Open Fridge. Get Ramesh Powar out. Put elephant in fridge. (by @thecricketcouch)

The Plunder Games – Week 4 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 33: MI vs KXIP

Match in 140 characters: Hussey and Miller’s late burst propels Kings XI to 168; MI stutter in their chase but Peterson and Rayadu batter Chawla to steal a victory

#TrottsFault: Once upon a time, Chawla was considered to be Anil Kumble’s successor; but in the years past, his performances have been unconvincing, and culminated today in a disastrous over yielding 27 runs and a stunning win to the Mumbai Indians

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: In hindsight, the wicket of Harbhajan Singh turned out to be a blessing for the Mumbai Indians. It brought in Robin Peterson, whose switch hits coupled with Rayadu’s brilliance sealed the fate of the Kings XI Punjab.

Viagra Performer of the day: Ambati Rayadu, for as long as he was there, Mumbai Indians believed; and he didn’t disappoint.

Game 34: CSK vs RCB

Match abandoned

Game 35: DC vs PWI

Deccan Chargers 177 for 4 (White 78) beat Pune Warriors 159 for 7 (Reddy 2-32) by 18 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Match in 140 characters: Cam White finally decodes the IPL to give his first significant performance in a long times as Chargers finally open their account in IPL 5

Viagra Performer of the day: Cameron White has been a passenger in the IPL for the last few seasons, without doing anything special. It was always known that he was a big hitter, as his T20 record in Australia shows, but he has been a huge disappointment in terms of performance over the last few years. In this game, he showed why he can be so dangerous, as he was the only one who played a power-packed innings even as others around him and the other opposition struggled to find their groove. In the end, that was the jolt needed by the Chargers to notch their first win in IPL 5.

Game 36: DD vs MI

Delhi Daredevils 207 for 5 (Sehwag 73, Jayawardene 55, Pietersen 50*) beat Mumbai Indians 170 for 9 (Rayudu 62, Karthik 40) by 37 runs

Match in 140 characters: Sehwag leads power packed Daredevils innings as KP and Mahela also make merry; despite best efforts of Rayadu and DK, MI fall short

Viagra Performer of the day: For once, two people can share this distinction. If it was Sehwag who started sending the leather to all parts of the ground, Pietersen provided the explosive finish as Daredevils reached 207 and put the total beyond the reach of the Mumbai Indians.

Game 37: CSK vs KXIP

Kings XI Punjab 156 for 8 (Mandeep 56, Morkel 3-29) beat Chennai Super Kings 149 for 8 (Mahmood 3-35) by seven runs

Match in 140 characters: Mandeep and Marsh shine as Kings XI post 156; in reply CSK stutter as Mahmood and Chawla masterming a tight 7 run victory

#TrottsFault: One that should be equally shared by MS Dhoni and Saha. To send in Saha ahead of more qualified batsmen at a crucial stage was not one of Dhoni’s better decisions; and for Saha to potter around and waste deliveries, added more pressure on the following batsmen and cost crucial momentum, which ultimately resulted in a loss.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: If there was any one player who could transform CSK’s fortunes from the dire situation they were in, it was MS Dhoni, the master of close chases. It took some presence of mind by Nitin Saini to run out Dhoni, which heaped more duress on the Super Kings, and ultimately proved to be decisive in the favor of Kings XI Punjab.

Viagra Performer of the day: Credit has to be given where it is due. A few days after a disastrous performance against the Mumbai Indians, Piyush Chawla came back into his own and put in a much better show as his figures of 2/20 off 4 overs show. He ensured that CSK never got going, while chasing a modest total.

Best tweet of the day: As a New Zealander I’d relly like to apologise to the world for Danny Morrison. Hasn’t lived here for quite a while (by @Sportzfreak)

Pinocchio Fact: BCCI President N Srinivasan announced that Chennai would be receiving the Fairplay award this year, as they have been doing their best to give other teams a chance this year. (courtesy @knittins)

Game 38: KKR vs RCB

Kolkata Knight Riders 190 for 4 (Gambhir 93, McCullum 43) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore 143 for 6 (Gayle 86) by 48 runs

Match in 140 characters: Imperious performances by Gauti and Kallis set RCB an imposing target; Kallis and Narine never let pressure ease as Gayle’s knock is in vain

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Chasing an imposing 191, RCB needed big performances from their top order; in the space of two deliveries, Kallis derailed any such hopes by dismissing Kohli and de Villiers.

Viagra Performer of the day: Gautam Gambhir has been in fine nick as batsman and captain in this IPL, and the fine touch continued as a majestic 93 set the tone for a complete performance by the Knight Riders and maintained their 2nd position on the points table.

Game 39: DD vs RR

Delhi Daredevils 152 for 6 (Sehwag 63, Pankaj 2-25) beat Rajasthan Royals 151 for 3 (Rahane 84*, Morkel 1-26) by one run 

Match in 140 characters: Sehwag leads a rusty Daredevils innings as they post 152; in reply Rahane and Dravid seem to have sewn up the chase but for a Morkel special

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: It was not so much as a moment as it was an over; the 19th over has been the most important one in most games in this IPL, and yet again it changed the course of the game. Morkel bowled an impressive over yielding just 3 runs and a wicket, which left the Royals needing 12 runs in the final over, which they fell short of by one run.

Viagra Performer of the day: Despite the heartbreak of the final over, it was Rahane who was the best player of the day. While Sehwag and Morkel had their moments under the sun (and floodlights!), it was the young Mumbai batsman, who stole the show by making the most of his purple patch.

Game 40: MI vs DC

Mumbai Indians 101 for 5 (Rohit 42, Steyn 2-10) beat Deccan Chargers 100 (Dhawan 29, Duminy 25*, Malinga 4-16, Harbhajan 2-13) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Malinga is too hot for DC on a spicy pitch, and despite a matching performance by Steyn, Sharma scores enough to push MI over the line

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: He has been getting a lot of stick this year, but Harbhajan had one of his best days with the ball, in this game. His wicket of Dhawan was very important, as he has been the only consistent batsman for his team this year.

Viagra Performer of the day: Malinga may have had more wickets, but for sheer exhilaration and quality of the opposition batsmen, Steyn was the star of the day. His four overs yielded just 10 runs but two wickets, and the Chargers are left ruing a suitable support bowler for the Saffa speed demon.

Game 41: CSK vs KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders 140 for 5 (Gambhir 63, Ashwin 2-22) beat Chennai Super Kings 139 for 5 (Raina 44, Kallis 2-21) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Raina and Dhoni preside over a turgid CSK innings; despite some final jitters, Gauti and Das do enough to push KKR over the line

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Honestly, CSK were never in the game thanks to their low total; and Gambhir ensured that the chase was on track. That was until the 19th over when Gambhir got out, and suddenly KKR seemed to panic. It took two calm hits by Das to bring the due victory and spark celebrations among SRK and co.

Viagra Performer of the day: Gautam Gambhir has been in fine form, and he duly did the job yet again for KKR. Despite not staying till the end, he did just about enough to ensure that KKR remain just below the Daredevils in the points table.

Best tweet of the day: If I had a dime for everytime Lakshman Shivramakrishna said something new on TV, I would actually have … well a dime #HypePL (by@katragada)

Game 42: DC vs PWI

Deccan Chargers 186 for 4 (Sangakkara 82, White 74) beat Pune Warriors 173 for 5 (Smith 47*, Ganguly 45) by 13 runs

Match in 140 characters: White fires again, Sanga finally returns to form; Pune Warriors try their best but fall short by 13 runs

Viagra Performer of the day: Kumar Sangakarra is too classy a player to stay out of form for too long. After bravely sitting out in the last game despite being the captain, he scored a brilliant 82 to power the Chargers to a winning total.

Game 43: RR vs DD

Delhi Daredevils 144 for 4 (Sehwag 73) beat Rajasthan Royals 141 for 6 (Dravid 57, Negi 4-18) by six wickets

Match in 140 characters: Dravid and Rahane give the Royals a bright start but Negi induces complete chaos as they are restricted to 141; Sehwag ensures an easy win

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: The Rajasthan Royals have the best opening combination in this season’s IPL, and yet again Rahane and Dravid gave them a great launching pad to post a daunting total. Instead, the introduction of Negi in the 9th over brought about the wicket of Rahane, and that was the start of a collapse as the Royals never got going after that.

Viagra Performer of the day: Virender Sehwag scored a record 5th successive half century to establish Delhi Daredevils as the team to beat, but his task was made easier by the little known left arm spinner Pawan Negi whose 4 wicket haul completely derailed the Royals’ innings.

Best tweet of the week:

#ThatAwkwardMoment when Kevin Pietersen gets out to a second-rate Aussie… #IPL (by @AltCricket)

The Plunder Games – Week 3 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 22: KXIP vs KKR

Kolkata Knight Riders 127 for 2 (Gambhir 66*) beat Kings XI Punjab 124 for 7 (Gilchrist 40*, Lee 2-26, Narine 2-24) by eight wickets 

Match in 140 characters: Kings XI struggle to 124, as Gambhir and Kallis lead KKR to an easy win

Viagra Performer of the day: It is a wonder why Gambhir hesitates to open the innings more often, considering his success at the top which usually converts to wins for his team; a typical innings ensured no hiccups in a steady chase.

Best tweet of the game: There are so many mosquitoes in the field at mohali. Probably, thats why KXIP players wanted to get ALL OUT! 😛 #ipl (by @coolfunnytshirt)

Game 23: DD vs DC

Delhi Daredevils 162 for 5 (Pietersen 103*, Steyn 2-19) beat Deccan Chargers 157 for 8 (Parthiv 45*, Nadeem 3-16) by five wickets 

Match in 140 characters: Nadeem and Morkel restrict Chargers to 157 after a good start; despite a top order wobble, KP powers DD to win, with some generous help

#TrottsFault: Deccan Chargers would have felt that they were in with a chance, as they left the Daredevils staggering at 65/4. All that changed in the space of a Duminy over, where he conceded 21 runs to hand the momentum back to DD.

Viagra Performer of the day: Kevin Pietersen is in some hot form. The Chargers did help with three dropped catches, but full credit to KP who made them pay for it with an authoritative ton that was rounded off with a brilliant six to win the game.

Best tweet of the game: Delhi Daredevils won despite Agarkar, Deccan Chargers lost despite Dale Steyn. #IPL (by @CricketSaurabh)

Game 24: CSK vs PWI

Match in 140 characters: Badri, du Plessis and Dhoni power CSK to 164; Warriors give it their best shot but are thwarted by a strong bowling and fielding effort

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: Till the end of the 19th over of CSK’s innings, it looked like the team was heading for a middling total which could be easily chased by the Warriors. Instead, MS Dhoni got a couple of big hits going which helped CSK to get 18 runs in the final over, and which ultimately proved crucial in a tight finish.

Viagra Performer of the day: For once, no one performer outshone the rest. It was a true team effort with batsmen, bowlers and fielders playing their part.

Best tweet of the game: just realized, Ganguly still doesnt have a full time wicketkeeper for his team. some things never change!#IPL5 (by @chetannarula)

Pinocchio Fact: Concerned by his expensive performance with the ball, Saurav Ganguly met the match referee at the end of the game to report Marlon Samuels for chucking. (courtesy @AltCricket)

Game 25: RCB vs KXIP

Royal Challengers Bangalore 166 for 5 (Gayle 87, de Villiers 52, Awana 4-34) beat Kings XI Punjab 163 for 6 (Hussey 41, Mahmood 33*) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Mahmood’s late burst propels Kings XI to 163; despite a four-fer from Awana, Gayle and de Villiers lead RCB to a risk free victory

Viagra Performer of the day: Chris Gayle is getting more dangerous with each passing match. He has added a new facet to his slam bang hitting – now, he takes his time to settle down and give the first few overs to the bowlers, before hitting out. This strategy served him and RCB well in this game as a chase which should have been more tricky, turned out to be a cake walk for them.

Game 26: CSK vs RR

Chennai Super Kings 147 for 3 (du Plessis 73) beat Rajasthan Royals 146 for 4 (Shah 52, Menaria 36) by seven wickets

Match in 140 characters: Kulasekera and Ashwin counter Shah’s strikes to keep Royals to 146, Faf leads CSK again as ice man Dhoni closes out a tight chase

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: In a game which CSK seemed to have sewn up for most part of their chase, it all came to the final ball with Dhoni needing two runs off Binny; sure enough, the skipper got the runs with a wild throw helping his cause.

Viagra Performer of the day: du Plessis is in the form of his life. He is definitely making it hard for Mike Hussey to find a place in the XI when he returns. Yet another fifty to sheperd CSK’s chase helped him to second place in the run charts.

Best tweet of the game:  Should Ravi Shastri be locked up in the lift again?#PulseQuestion #IPL (by @triple81212)

Pinocchio Fact: At his hotel room, Gambhir was seen shaking his head while watching the CSK chase and was heard muttering something about ‘winning it in 18 overs’. (courtesy @cricketsaurabh)

Game 27: PWI vs DD

Match in 140 characters: Ryder, Ganguly and Smith blast Warriors to 192; despite Viru’s and KP’s best efforts, Ganguly and Alfonso star with ball as DD crash land

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: When Ganguly brought himself on to bowl, he was up against a rampaging Pietersen and Sehwag. With his first ball, he knocked over KP to set off on a vintage celebration. He went on to claim one more wicket to back up an impressive performance with the bat and smart changes in the field.

Best tweet of the game: Ganguly is the Kamalhasan of PWI. Has played every role today. (by @cheese_charmer)

Game 28: MI vs KXIP

Kings XI Punjab 164 for 4 (Marsh 68*, Pollard 2-14) beat Mumbai Indians 163 for 6 (Franklin 79, Awana 2-23) by six wickets 

Match in 140 characters: Frankin and DK’s efforts takes MI to 163; Munaf’s tantrum and Pollard’s strangling bowling are in vain as Marsh takes KXIP over the line

#TrottsFault: Munaf Patel might be one of the leading wicket takers in this IPL, but his antics are getting unbearable to watch now. Not satisfied with physically intimidating a batsman, he got into an argument with the umpires and escaped with a fine of 50% of his match fee for all the trouble. Additionally, he had an unforgettable day with the ball.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: With 8 runs to defend in the final over, Harbhajan turned to Perera, who had bowled one over for 10 runs. Sure enough, the first ball he bowled to Marsh sailed over deep point to signal the beginning of the end of the contest.

Viagra Performer of the day: Shaun Marsh is quickly getting back to vintage form, as he strives to put behind memories of a poor home season behind him. His unbeaten 68 from 40 balls was one of his best knocks considering the opposition and the match situation.

Best tweet of the game: After a long time, Preity Zinta delivers a hit. #KXIP #IPL (by @coolfunnytshirt)

Pinocchio Fact: Considering their inconsistent performances of late, Mumbai Indians are planning to wheel in Lasith Malinga to bowl from a stretcher for the next few games. (courtesy @BoredCricket)

Game 29: KKR vs DC

Kolkata Knight Riders 127 for 5 (Tiwary 30*, Steyn 2-24) beat Deccan Chargers 126 for 7 (Dhawan 50, Balaji 2-22) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Dhawan top scores in a somnolent Chargers innings as they post 126; despite tight bowling, it is not enough as Tiwary guides KKR home

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: With both teams playing like they wanted the other team to win, it all boiled down to a dropped catch by Anand Rajan in the 18th over of KKR’s chase which sealed the Chargers’ fate.

Best tweet of the game: DC fielders can pass on few jokes to the kkr batsmen. They will get frustrated and get out. Thats the only option left now! #ipl (by @coolfunnytshirt)

Game 30: RCB vs RR

Royal Challengers Bangalore 189 for 3 (Dilshan 76*, de Villiers 59*) beat Rajasthan Royals 143 for 7 (Dravid 58, Appanna 4-19) by 46 runs

Match in 140 characters: A de Villiers blitz and a Dilshan special propel RCB to 189; Dravid sizzles briefly but Appanna is too much for the Royals

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: It is not often that a Gayle wicket turns out to be a winning moment for RCB; yet, it was the dismissal of the unwell Jamaican that brought de Villiers to the crease and set in motion the mayhem that was to follow.

Viagra Performer of the day: While it was gracious of him to share the MOM award with Appanna, it was the manic innings of de Villiers which proved to be the difference between the two sides. He came in when the team’s run rate was below 6 per over and by the time he walked off after an innings of 59 in 23 deliveries, the run rate was 9.45 per over.

Best tweet of the day: Justin Bieber’s Indian cousin opening the bowling for RCB. (by @AltCricket)

Game 31: DD vs PWI

Delhi Daredevils 148 for 2 (Sehwag 87*) beat Pune Warriors 146 for 2 (Pandey 80*) by eight wickets 
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Match in 140 characters: Pandey and Utthappa resist some tight Daredevil bowling to take Warriors to 146; Sehwag’s blistering knock makes light of target as DD win

Viagra Performer of the day: It is not often that Sehwag strings together two consecutive scores above 50, and it shows that he is slowly getting back into vintage form. 147 was always going to be comfortable chase, but the way he was going, it would not have mattered if the Warriors had scored 200 either.

Best tweet of the game: Dada running long on ! hair is going long off lol #ipl (by @YUVSTRONG12)

Game 32: KKR vs DC

Match abandoned

Tweet of the week:

Looks like this season KXIP will meet the same fate as most of Preity Zinta’s films do (by @_fakeiplplayer)

The Plunder Games – Week 2 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 12: MI vs RR

Mumbai Indians 197 for 6 (Pollard 64, Rayudu 47*) beat Rajasthan Royals 170 (Shah 76, Rahane 40, Munaf 4-28)

Match in 140 characters: Frenetic hitting from Pollard and Rayadu take MI to 197, Rahane and Shah threaten a tight contest, but night belongs to the big Trinidadian

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Owais Shah was threatening to overshadow Pollard’s knock with a blistering innings of his own, when a beleaguered Bhajji threw the ball to his go-to bowler, and he didn’t disappoint. Off the first ball, he knocked back Shah’s stumps and that was basically the end of the Royals’ resistance.

Viagra Performer of the day: 33 balls, 6 fours, 4 sixes, all added up to a typical Pollard-ian innings. If that wasn’t enough, he returned to scalp 4 batsmen and take 1 catch.

Best tweet of the game: Once a Shah, Owais Shah. #IPL (by @coolfunnytshirt)

Pinocchio Fact: Pollard’s workout consists entirely of lifting  Junior Ambani everyday (courtesy @_fakeiplplayer)

Game 13: RCB vs CSK

Chennai Super Kings 208 for 5 (Du Plessis 71, Dhoni 41, Murali 3-21) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore205 for 8 (Gayle 68, Kohli 57, Bollinger 3-24) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: Gayle, Agarwal and Kohli take RCB to 205, du Plessis sets platform, Dhoni maintains tempo, Morkel smokes Kohli to take CSK to thrilling win.

#TrottsFault: The obvious choice might be Virat Kohli; but he is a part-timer, and against Morkel’s clean hitting he had no chance. On the other hand, Vinay Kumar bowled like a novice in the final over dishing out full tosses and no balls, which CSK made full use of.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: The game might have been decided off the final ball, but it truly turned on its head in the previous over when Morkel blitzed 28 runs off Kohli.

Viagra Performer of the day: Till this game, Morne was the Morkel grabbing all the attention in this IPL. In the space of 6 balls, Albie changed all that with an adrenaline-packed innings, which swung the game CSK’s way.

Best tweet of the game: It seems Raina has a special place in his heart for long on to mid wicket region.Doesn’t matter if he is batting or bowling. (by @holdingwilley)

Pinocchio Fact: Dan Christian was seen offering bowling tips to Vinay Kumar on the day before the RCB-CSK game.

Game 14: PWI vs KXIP

Kings XI Punjab 116 for 3 (Marsh 64*, Chawla 24*) beat Pune Warriors 115 (Manhas 31, Mascarenhas 5-25) by seven wickets

Match in 140 characters: Pune Warriors stumble and stutter to 115, thanks to a Macarhenas 5-fer; led by Marsh, Kings XI ease to victory

Viagra Performer of the day: Shaun Marsh may have had a horror Aussie summer, but in IPL colors, he still continues to torment the bowlers. His unbeaten 64 extinguished any hopes that the Pune Warriors might have had.

Best tweet of the game: #AltPulseQuestion Who has the most pinchable cheeks – Piyush Chawwwwla or Preity Zinta? #IPL (by @AltCricket)

Game 15: KKR vs RR

Kolkata Knight Riders 137 for 5 (Kallis 31, Bisla 29) beat Rajasthan Royals 131 for 5 (Shah 31, Dravid 28, Shakib 3-17) by five wickets

Match in 140 characters: On a tricky pitch, Royals scrape to 131 as Shakib keeps them in check; KKR chase it down without much of trouble..

Viagra Performer of the day: Shakib al Hasan had a good start to his IPL, with a match winning 3/17 which kept the Royals down to a chaseable target.

Best tweet of the game: Funny that GG is the captain of KKR but the team is playing with MSDs tactics. Take it till the end. (by @siddyness)

Game 16: CSK vs PWI

Pune Warriors 156 for 3 (Ryder 73*, Smith 44*) beat Chennai Super Kings 155 for 5 (Jadeja 44, du Plessis 43) by seven wickets

Match in 140 characters: Despite du Plessis’ and Jaddu’s knocks, CSK don’t get enough, Ryder bats through innings and Smith explodes to chase down 156

#TrottsFault: Its not often that captain cool MS Dhoni costs his team the game; A painstaking 26 with no big hits in the end stalled CSK’s progress and some of his tactics including holding back Jadeja while the Warriors were batting and giving Yo Mahesh the final over backfired spectacularly.

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: du Plessis’ stumping off Rahul Sharma’s bowling killed CSK’s momentum early in the game and despite some lusty hitting by Jadeja, they fell short by atleast 25 runs.

Viagra Performer of the day: Steve Smith has been the biggest success story for the Pune Warriors. In the field, he is incredibly quick with a safe pair of hands. With the bat, he has applied the finishing touches well. His dismantling of Kulasekara in the penultimate over tilted a game which was heading for a tight finish, in favor of the Warriors.

Best tweet of the game: Faf Du Plessis will wear an Orange Cap, yellow jersey and Trousers + Red boots when CSK take the field, Will look like a Tamil Hero. #IPL (by @forwardshortleg)

Pinocchio Fact: The reason why Dinda Jumps So high before bowling is because he was born in a leap year (courtesy @joydas)

Game 17: KKR vs KXIP

Kings XI Punjab 134 for 9 (Mandeep Singh 38, Narine 5-19 ) beat Kolkata Knight Riders 132 for 7 (Das 35, Chawla 3-18) by 2 runs 

Match in 140 characters: Narine mesmerizes as Kings XI are kept down to 134, despite a good start, KKR stumble as Chawla and Harmeet shock Kolkata

Charlie Sheen Winning moment: Despite Chawla’s heroics earlier, the game was going to be won or lost by little known Harmeet Singh, when he was thrown the ball for the final over. KKR needed 9 runs to win the game but could only manage 6, as Kings XI stole an unlikely win.

Viagra Performer of the day: Sunil Narine is one of the better spinners in international cricket these days, and in this game he showed why he is highly rated. In 4 overs of masterful bowling, he kept the batsmen guessing as he returned with figures of 5/19. Though his team lost the game, Narine was easily the best performer among the two sides.

Game 18: RR vs RCB

Rajasthan Royals 195 for 2 (Rahane 103*, Shah 60) beat 136 Royal Challengers Bangalore (Agarwal 34, Trivedi 4 for 25) by 59 runs

Match in 140 characters: Rahane sizzles and Owais smashes as RCB run for cover, Trivedi leads a disciplined Royals effort in the field as they surge to top of table

#TrottsFault: If it was Kohli who had a horror game with the ball last time, it was S Aravind’s turn in this game. Not too long ago, he featured in the national team, but after the ruthless punishment at the hands of Rahane, it is hard to see him coming back after this effort.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: While it was Rahane and Shah who set a massive target, it was Pankaj Singh’s two wickets in the 5th over (Agarwal and Gayle) which sealed the game in favor of the Royals.

Viagra Performer of the day: IPL 5 could well be the tournament which opens the door for Rahane to enter into the Indian T20 side. For long, he has been considered a batsman for the longest form of the game, and only recently did he make his foray into ODIs. After a scintillating 98 last week, his century against RCB was one full of power and grace which showcased his full repertoire. Greater things await the new maestro from Mumbai.

Game 19: DD vs MI

Delhi Daredevils 93 for 3 (Sehwag 32) beat Mumbai Indians 92 (Harbhajan 33, Umesh 2-10, Nadeem 2-16) by seven wickets

Match in 140 characters: Nadeem leads a strong Daredevils performance in the field despite Bhajji heroics with the bat as Sehwag and Mahela lead a controlled chase

#TrottsFault: The entire MI top order, including Rohit Sharma who apart from running out Rayadu, kept playing high risk shots when the situation warranted some rebuilding.

Viagra Performer of the day: For a team which does not have any high profile spinners, Shahbaz Nadeem is perhaps as big a boon as any of the fancy top order batsmen. He strangled MI right at the top of the game, and induced them into playing rash shots to get away.

Best tweet of the game: MI: Duniya hila denge, DD: Mahela denge, Taylor: Sila denge, RCB: Pila denge (by @crownish)

Game 20: RR vs DC

Rajasthan Royals 197 for 5 (Hodge 48*, Mishra 3-32) beat Deccan Chargers 196 for 2 (Duminy 58*, Dhawan 52) by five wickets 

Match in 140 characters: Duminy leads a strong Deccan ‘Charge’ as Royals are left with a target of 197, Dravid, Rahane and Hodge’s fireworks ensure thrilling win

#TrottsFault: Steyn had a rare off day, as Dravid and Hodge tucked into him at crucial times, even as he returned expensive figures of 0/44 in 3.4 overs.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: The Royals’ chase was so well planned that they didn’t really look like they were in trouble at any stage. Little known wicket keeper Yagnik duly dispatched Steyn for two boundaries in the final over to seal the win.

Viagra Performer of the day: Brad Hodge who scored an unbeaten 48 at a strike rate of 228.57. In a high scoring match featuring plenty of slam bang innings, his knock stood out.

Game 21: RCB vs PWI

Royal Challengers Bangalore 186 for 4 (Gayle 81, Tiwary 36*, de Villiers 33*) beat Pune Warriors 182 for 6 (Uthappa 69, Ryder 34, Samuels 34) by six wickets

Match in 140 characters: Utthappa, Ryder and Samuels power the Warriors to 182, Gayle leads a spirited assault while de Villiers and Tiwary steal an unlikely win

#TrottsFault: While it is tough to choose between Rahul Sharma and Ashish Nehra, the winner is the lanky Delhi seamer. He is the more experienced performer who has been in this situation numerous times before. With RCB needing 24 runs in the final over, one would have backed Nehra to defend it more times than not. Unfortunately, those days are gone long by.

Charlie Sheen Winning Moment: Gayle whacked 5 sixes in a Rahul Sharma over to pull back the chase for RCB and de Villiers played a manic yet creative innings to haul them to the precipice of an improbable win; but in the end, it was left to the much maligned Tiwary, who defied the script and pummeled the last ball to the boundary in the final over, triggering wild celebrations in Bangalore.

Viagra Performer of the day: AB de Villiers’ knock of 33 in 14 deliveries might not seem out of place in T20s; but the figures don’t tell the story of an innings which contained innovative strokes under tremendous pressure and which ultimately helped RCB over the line.

Best tweet of the game: Uthappa says Danny Morrison is too loud. Tell us something we don’t know, lad. #IPL (by @headless_sky)

Pinocchio Fact: Chris Gayle has been signed up as the new ambassador for iPhone 4S – since their punchline suits him every time he goes to bat. “This changes everything. Again.”  (courtesy @CluelessVictory)

Tweet of the week:

DD must be seeing their past in MI’s present. #ipl (by @boredcricket)

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.


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

First impressions of IPL 4

The fourth edition of the IPL is up and running. All the 10 teams have played one game each so far and already there are some ideas as to how each team is going to fare in the rest of the tournament.

Personally, I can’t seem to get excited enough about this edition compared to the previous ones; because I want to bask in the World Cup win hangover for some more time, dammit!  A few days back, Tendulkar watches Malinga take out Sehwag off the second ball of the Indian innings in the World Cup final before falling victim himself; now, he rejoices with Malinga after running out Sehwag of a direct hit. A few days back, Dhoni negated Randiv in the Final to perfection; now, they celebrate after plotting the dismissal of an Indian batsman. Its not that I don’t enjoy it; its just that it is too soon!

Anyway, I like the IPL. Despite its faults and crassness, I enjoy players from different countries get together to play as a team. Inadvertently, it has improved the ODI performance of the Indian team over the last couple of years and given the likes of Raina, Ashwin, Yusuf Pathan and Pragyan Ojha the opportunities to break into the Indian team. Foreign players have a better understanding of a different culture and most importantly, the ‘club’ culture is slowly taking root in India.

The IPL is not going to please everyone. For those people, I would just say – Don’t watch it then. There are other alternatives. For International cricket, you can tune into the Australian tour of Bangladesh, where ‘Pup’ has transformed into ‘Big Dog’. For the antithesis of IPL T20, there is the County Season which is underway (Go Lancs!). While critics like Peter Roebuck (who is slowly turning into the cricketing version of Glenn Beck!) and others harp on about the IPL’s contribution to the supposed decline of cricket, the recent World Cup is a reminder that cricket has and will survive in the future, no matter the number of changes and innovations which will inevitably grace the sport.

Anyway, here are my first impressions of IPL 4 so far:

Chennai Super Kings

  • Despite the loss of Hayden, Oram, Murali and Balaji, CSK are one of the teams to beat in this IPL, with the addition of Southee, Du Plessis, Randiv, Kulasekara and Styris.
  • With Bollinger slated to join from CSK’s third game, this team is going to get better.
  • As long as Dhoni is involved in a cricket match, the game will be decided in the last over.
  • The presence of so many Kiwi and Saffer cricketers in this team makes it a top class fielding side too.
  • It’s a long way to go, but I’m confident that CSK will progress to the final easily.

Kolkata Knight Riders

  • New captain, new team, same problems.
  • Gambhir is trying to be a very unique captain. It didn’t work too well against CSK but it will be an interesting campaign for sure.
  • With the likes of Kallis, Y Pathan, Eoin Morgan, Haddin, Tiwary and Ten Doeschate in the squad, the batting looks top class, but the bowling looks weak despite the presence of Lee and Shakib.
  • KKR played with only two overseas players in the CSK game. Surely, a first?
  • KKR play their first game at home today, and it will be interesting to see the reception in the absence of Dada.

Deccan Chargers

  • One keeper captain replaces another. Kumar Sangakarra replaces Gilchrist as captain of the Chargers. Still didn’t break their home jinx though.
  • Neither the batting or bowling seem full strength. Steyn and Ojha are top class bowlers but the likes of Christian, Ishant Sharma, Mishra are not consistent enough. A lot depends on if Sangakarra would want two Saffer new ball operators in Rusty Theron and Steyn.
  • Kevin Pietersen is injured and Cam White is terribly out of form. That leaves the batting in the hands of Sanga, Dhawan, Duminy and Lumb. As you can see, too much dependence on foreign players.
  • It’s hard to see this team doing well, but then again, what do I know?

Rajasthan Royals

  • Warnie’s team are at it again. Despite the lack of big stars, they have started their campaign on a winning note, with their most expensive signing, Johan Botha leading the way.
  • The team actually has a lot of good domestic talent with the presence of Rahane, Asnodkar, Binny, Dravid, Chopra, Menaria and Pinal Shah to bolster the batting and Trivedi, Pankaj Singh, Narwal and Chahar shoring up the bowling.
  • They are complemented by the foreign exports in Oram, Taylor, Watson and Tait.
  • Safe to say, they can go far in this tournament. They should be disappointed if they don’t make it to the semifinals.

Kochi Tuskers Kerela

  • Worst Jersey. Period.
  • They have the talented Mr Jayawardene at the helm, which is a huge boost.
  • Then again, they have Jadeja, Sreesanth, RP Singh and Steven Smith; and that drastically reduces their chances of winning.
  • That puts a lot of pressure on Murali, Powar, Hastings and Vinay Kumar to be at their best always.
  • Batting is top class (Laxman, Hodge, McCullum, Jayawardene, Owais Shah and Perera) but local talent is not sufficient to see them through to the semifinals.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

  • One intelligent spinning legend replaces another at the helm. Vettori replaces Kumble and the team gets off to a winning start.
  • Zaheer, Nannes, Vettori, Langeveldt, Mithun in bowling. De Villiers, Dilshan, Kohli, Tiwary and Pomersbach in batting. Need I say more?
  • The trick will be, as with all teams, to get the balance between the local talent and international players right.
  • Another team which will be disappointed if they do not get to the semifinals.

Delhi Daredevils

  • The Daredevils or the ‘Triple D’ as Morrison screams in our ears – have a shambolic team composition. They were duly knocked senseless in their opening game.
  • On paper, their strength is the top heavy Sehwag, Warner and Finch. That also happens to be their weakness as these players know only one way to play, and if that does not come off, their performance against Malinga and co are a good template as to how it can pan out.
  • Same goes for bowling; Agarkar, Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Morkel, Irfan Pathan. They can be really good or terribly bad. No middle ground what so ever.
  • Sehwag remains their main X-Factor as a captain and a batsman. Take him out and half the match is gone.
  • If they reach the semis, it can be considered as an achievement.

Mumbai Indians

  • Along with CSK, my other pick for reaching the final. They dispatched the Daredevils with ease in their opening game, with the batting and bowling firing on all cylinders. They didn’t even have to play Symonds yet.
  • Tendulkar and Davy Jacobs opening. Rohit Sharma, Rayadu, Pollard, Symonds to follow. Easily the most frightening batting line up in the IPL.
  • Their bowling has Malinga. Enough said.
  • If at all, there is any weakness, it is a paucity of quality domestic talent; but right now, it seems they have the requisite players to see them through to the finish.

Kings XI Punjab

  • Along with the Daredevils, I expect them to be at the bottom of the table for most part of the tournament. Another shambolic team composition; do we have to see a distressed Preity Zinta after every match?
  • Gilchrist’s powers are on the wane. Shaun Marsh is fighting injuries half the time. That leaves a lot on the plate of David Hussey (who is yet to join the team) and McLaren to shore up the batting. Local talent not good enough to see the team through tough phases.
  • Bowling depends on Praveen Kumar and Chawla too much; and we all know how consistent they can be.
  • A tough slog awaits the Kings XI in this IPL. If their match against the Pune Warriors are any indication, they are going to get walloped in every game till they figure how to manage with what they got.

Pune Warriors

  • I like this team (smart looking jersey and everything) and I expect them to be in the top four of this IPL.
  • Yuvraj Singh seems to be a much improved captain compared to the KXP version of the first two editions. Still, it is a long way to go and it will be interesting to see how he handles himself and the team.
  • Top order is one of the better ones: Smith (despite poor form), Ryder, Manhas, Yuvraj, Utthappa and Ferguson (If he gets to play). They can also fall back on T Paine, Jhunjhunwala and Manish Pandey (once he is done with the suspension).
  • Bowling looks classy with Parnell, Nehra, Alfonso Thomas, N McCullum and Murali Kartik. If only they had the services of the injured Mathews and Jerome Taylor, they would be even harder to beat.
  • The team owner who happens to own the main sponsor of the Indian team as well, sat with a huge horde of young ladies surrounding him and watched the game. For some reason, it reminds me too much of Allen Stanford. On the other hand, they might just have the best cheerleaders in IPL history!

An additional note on the commentators. I had always thought that Modi was to blame for the shameless shilling of the sponsors and overexcited nature of the commentary team. Glad to know that even in his absence, the commentators can continue their atrocious job!

My thoughts on the IPL auctions

It’s been a while now, since the IPL auctions got over. I needed some time for the dust to settle, and understand who went where, and how the teams stack up now. Luckily, some sites have done a good job in breaking it down, and following is my personal take on the 2-day television spectacle which gripped cricket-watching people all over the world, whether they loved or hated the IPL.

First of all, when I started following the auction on day 1, I never expected it to be so gripping. It was 12:30 am here, when it started and I expected to go to bed after a couple of hours. Instead, watching the whole drama unfold live, including discussions about it in real time over Twitter and Paddlesweep, kept me awake till 7 am! Throughout those six and a half hours, my emotions varied from excitement to amusement to shock to disgust and finally a sense of resignation. One of the main reasons I stayed up for was to find out where the likes of Swann and Lara would end up, and you can imagine the anger/disappointment, when they were not snapped by any team. Eventually, there were tons of players who were not picked by any team — Ganguly, Gayle, Tamim Iqbal, Ntini, Jaysuriya among several others; and there have been several theories trying to explain them away. So, I am not going to bother trying to understand them. All I can say is, the team owners seemed to have learned their lessons from the first time around, and were building teams which stood a winning chance, instead of giving opportunities to old-timers for one last hurrah or picking players who would miss a sizable portion of the tournament. The Modi-less factor was evident, with teams looking serious and professional, and the auctioneer himself did a commendable job of hurrying the auction along and making sure everything went smoothly. All in all, it was an interesting auction on day 1 which lost a bit of steam on the 2nd day, but nevertheless it was an eyeball-grabbing extravaganza, which will please the BCCI and the Modi-less IPL. Here is the breakdown of the teams:


Batsmen: Suresh Raina (retained), M Vijay (retained), Michael Hussey ($425,000), S Badrinath ($850,000), George Bailey ($50,000)
Bowlers: Doug Bollinger ($700,000), R Ashwin ($850,000), Ben Hilfenhaus ($100,000), Joginder Sharma ($150,000), Nuwan Kulasekara ($100,000), Sudeep Tyagi ($240,000), Suraj Randiv ($80,000), Faf du Plessis ($120,000)
Allrounders: Albie Morkel (retained), Dwayne Bravo ($200,000), Scott Styris ($200,000)
Wicketkeepers: MS Dhoni (retained), Wriddhiman Saha ($100,000)

My thoughts: CSK have been my favorite team, ever since I found out that Hussey, Murali and Ntini figure in the same team in IPL-1. Since then, the team has undergone minor personnel changes, with the loss of Murali and Ntini this year; but they still remain my favorite team. They were the only side, which stayed loyal to the team it has been building for the last few years. You could sense the genuine disappointment, when they couldn’t get back the likes of Murali and Balaji. Having said that, they look one of the better and balanced sides in the tournament, with the inclusions of Styris, Bravo and Randiv. The selections of Hilfenhaus, Joginder and Tyagi are a bit baffling to me, but more surprising is the lack of an alternative opening option for Vijay and Hussey. Hopefully, they will get a good opener from the uncapped player list (I’m hoping for Mukund). All in all, Fleming and Dhoni will be happy to have got the core of the band back together, and will be one of the favorites for IPL-4.


Batsmen: Kevin Pietersen ($650,000), Cameron White ($1.1m), JP Duminy ($300,000), Shikhar Dhawan ($300,000), Michael Lumb ($85,000)
Bowlers: Ishant Sharma ($450,000), Dale Steyn ($1.2m), Pragyan Ojha ($500,000), Amit Mishra ($300,000), Manpreet Gony ($290,000), Chris Lynn ($20,000), Rusty Theron ($85,000)
Allrounders: Dan Christian ($900,000)
Wicketkeepers: Kumar Sangakkara ($700,000)

My thoughts: One of several teams, which have undergone a total revamp. There is no Gilchrist or Symonds this time; neither are Rohit Sharma, Ryan Harris or Scott Styris. Instead, they have gone for ex-RCB big players Pietersen, White, Steyn and have made a couple of smart buys in Sangakarra (who might double as their next keeper-captain), Duminy and Lumb. The Indian contingent so far, doesn’t impress me too much with the likes of Ishant, Mishra and Gony; but Ojha and Dhawan have had success at previous IPLs which will stand them in good stead. They also have a lot of money left, which might yet get them some good domestic uncapped players.


Batsmen: Virender Sehwag (retained), David Warner ($750,000), Aaron Finch ($300,000), Venugopal Rao ($700,000), Travis Birt ($20,000), Colin Ingram ($100,000)
Bowlers: Morne Morkel ($475,000), Ajit Agarkar ($210,000), Ashok Dinda ($375,000), Umesh Yadav ($750,000), Robert Frylinck ($20,000)
Allrounders: Irfan Pathan ($1.9m), James Hopes ($350,000), Roelof van der Merwe ($50,000), Andrew McDonald ($80,000)
Wicketkeepers: Naman Ojha ($270,000), Matthew Wade ($100,000)

My thoughts: I am not too sold on this team. True, they have the likes of Sehwag, Warner, Finch and Ingram who make up a devastating batting order, but their bowling lineup is too weak. They will miss the control of Vettori and the guile of Nannes. Morkel, Agarkar, Dinda will go for runs on most of the days, and Irfan Pathan is not the smartest of buys either, considering his fitness and form concerns. They better hope that they get some good uncapped players, otherwise they don’t stand much of a chance this time.


Batsmen: Shaun Marsh ($400,000), David Hussey ($140,000)
Bowlers: Stuart Broad ($400,000), Praveen Kumar ($800,000), Ryan Harris ($325,000), Piyush Chawla ($900,000), Nathan Rimmington ($20,000)
Allrounders: Abhishek Nayar ($800,000), Dimitri Mascarenhas ($100,000)
Wicketkeepers: Adam Gilchrist ($900,000), Dinesh Karthik ($900,000)

My thoughts: Looks like Gilly has to go from captaining an average team, to captaining ANOTHER average team. Despite having lots of money left in their budget, KXP didn’t seem to know what they want, and consequently didn’t pursue any player with particular intent. Their weird spending is highlighted by the equal pay to both the wicketkeepers, and the exorbitant amount spent to purchase Chawla when they could have easily got Swann for less than half that price (I know, I’m ranting again!). They have a couple of good T20 players in Hussey and Broad, but not enough to win matches consistently. Preity has to pray extra hard that she can get some top notch domestic players to fill the gaps before the tournament starts.


Batsmen: Mahela Jayawardene ($1.5m), VVS Laxman ($400,000), Brad Hodge ($425,000), Owais Shah ($200,000), Michael Klinger ($75,000)
Bowlers: Sreesanth ($900,000), RP Singh ($500,000), Muttiah Muralitharan ($1.1m), Ramesh Powar ($180,000), Vinay Kumar ($475,000), Steve O’Keefe ($20,000)
Allrounders: Ravindra Jadeja ($950,000), Steven Smith ($200,000), Thisara Perera ($80,000), John Hastings ($20,000)
Wicketkeepers: Brendon McCullum ($475,000), Parthiv Patel ($290,000)

My thoughts: Someone at Kochi didn’t think this through. Seriously, how could you value a Laxman over Ganguly in this format? They have also supplanted some expensive bowlers in RP Singh and Sreesanth (though this choice is understandable) and chosen possibly the two most maligned spinning allrounders in Smith and Jadeja. They have packed their side with foreign bowlers and allrounders, which means that they will have to rely on their Indian batsmen to get good scores; their options—Laxman, Parthiv and Jadeja. I will give them points for picking Owais Shah, Hodge, Jayawardene, McCullum and (*sob*) Murali.


Batsmen: Gautam Gambhir ($2.4m), Manoj Tiwary ($475,000), Eoin Morgan ($350,000)
Bowlers: L Balaji ($500,000), Brett Lee ($400,000), Jaidev Unadkat ($250,000), James Pattinson ($100,000)
Allrounders: Yusuf Pathan ($2.1m), Jacques Kallis ($1.1m), Shakib Al Hasan ($425,000), Ryan ten Doeschate ($150,000)
Wicketkeeper: Brad Haddin ($325,000)

My thoughts: King Khan can be pleased with the squad he has got so far. First off, they made a ballsy move by not retaining Ganguly, despite the enormous fan base he has in Bengal. Then, they made some good picks in Gambhir (possible skipper), Yusuf Pathan (born for IPL), Kallis, Shakib and Ryan Ten (three of the most valuable allrounders there is). Their bowling attack looks lite considering Balaji’s inconsistency, Unadkat’s inexperience and Lee’s fitness concerns but this should be made up for by their strong allrounders. Ofcourse, they did start the initial IPL with a similarly good team and high hopes; so they will want no repeat of their performances in the first three seasons. Under Gambhir and coach Whatmore, they have possibly the best combination to ensure that. Apart from CSK, they will be favorite team for including the likes of Morgan, Lee, Shakib and Ryan Ten.


Batsmen: Sachin Tendulkar (retained), Rohit Sharma ($2m), Aiden Blizzard ($20,000)
Bowlers: Harbhajan Singh (retained), Lasith Malinga (retained), Munaf Patel ($700,000), Clint McKay ($110,000)
Allrounders: Kieron Pollard (retained), Andrew Symonds ($850,000), James Franklin ($100,000), Moises Henriques ($50,000)
Wicketkeeper: Davy Jacobs ($190,000)

My thoughts: Imagine that you are the opposition captain when the Mumbai Indians are batting. First up, you have Sachin and Davy Jacobs opening. Then you take a look at their team compostion, and see that still to come, are Rohit Sharma, Pollard and Symonds. That is the plight which most captains will find themselves in during the course of IPL-4. They also have a good bowling attack suited for this format in Harbhajan, Malinga, McKay and Munaf. Once, they fill up their squad with uncapped players, they should be having one of the best teams in the tournament. As an aside, I do hope that Harbhajan takes out some time from playing, to teach Symonds Hindi and explain the real meaning of ‘Teri maa ki…’


Batsmen: Robin Uthappa ($2.1m), Yuvraj Singh ($1.8m), Graeme Smith ($500,000), Callum Ferguson ($300,000)
Bowlers: Ashish Nehra ($850,000), Murali Kartik ($400,000), Wayne Parnell ($160,000), Jerome Taylor ($100,000)
Allrounders: Angelo Mathews ($950,000), Mitchell Marsh ($290,000), Jesse Ryder ($150,000), Nathan McCullum ($100,000), Alfonso Thomas ($100,000)
Wicketkeeper: Time Paine ($270,000)

My thoughts: A so-so team really. They have good T20 batsmen in Utthappa, Yuvraj and Graeme Smith but I don’t expect them to fire consistently. They have a canny spinner in Murali Kartik (who went shockingly unpicked intially) but injury-prone bowlers in Nehra, Parnell and Taylor. Their allrounders and wicketkeeper consist of foreign players, who are decent, but not awe-inspiring. So, they have a lot of work ahead if they want to compete with the big boys.


Batsmen: Ross Taylor ($1m), Rahul Dravid ($500,000)
Bowlers: Shane Warne (retained), Johan Botha ($950,000), Shaun Tait ($300,000), Pankaj Singh ($95,000)
Allrounders: Shane Watson (retained), Paul Collingwood ($250,000)

My thoughts: Possibly, the unluckiest team in the fray. Their purse was cut due to some wrangling with the BCCI, which meant that they had to be smart with their buys. Instead, they spent a whopping amount on Botha alone. Maybe, they are preparing for Warne’s departure by grooming another foreign spinner/captain. Apart from that, the two Indians in the squad – Dravid and Pankaj Singh – are not going to set the world alight. Their remaining picks consist of, an inconsistent but dangerous batsman, a specialist T20 speedster prone to breakdowns, an allrounder who has had reasonable success with the team and an allrounder who has been in poor nick. Apart from CSK, they might be the only team hoping praying for a repeat of the first season!


Batsmen: Virat Kohli (retained), Saurabh Tiwary ($1.6m), Cheteshwar Pujara ($700,000), Tillakaratne Dilshan ($650,000), Mohammad Kaif ($130,000), Luke Pomersbach ($50,000), Rilee Rossouw ($20,000), Jonathan Vandiar ($20,000)
Bowlers: Zaheer Khan ($900,000), Dirk Nannes ($650,000), Abhimanyu Mithun ($260,000), Charl Langeveldt ($140,000), Nuwan Pradeep ($20,000)
Allrounders: Daniel Vettori ($550,000), Johan van der Wath ($50,000)
Wicketkeepers: AB de Villiers ($1.1m)

My thoughts: A team, whose batting will revolve around the promising trio of Kohli, Pujara and Tiwary. They also have a couple of good left arm pacers in Zaheer and Nannes, complimented by the spin of Vettori. Other notable foreign imports include de Villiers and Dilshan. Still, I feel that something is missing. I think that they had a better team last year and will have to rely a lot on their uncapped players, to progress far in the tournament. Also, it will be interesting to see their choice of captain – Dictator Dan, young Kohli or a left field pick in Zaheer Khan?

So, my picks for the semifinalists in this season’s IPL include Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Deccan Chargers. The bottom four will possibly be Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals and Team Kochi, and the middling teams – Royal Challengers Bangalore and Pune Warriors. Feel free to share your thoughts!