KKR

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:

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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)

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!