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

Match: Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals in Chennai

Result: Chennai Super Kings won by 5 wickets


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Preview of next game:

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


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…..