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Friday, September 30, 2011

Match 16 - Clinical KKR destroy RCB

Kolkata Knight Riders for the first time in the main pool managed to win a match and win the match in grand style.  KKR outplayed RCB in every department and deservedly won by 9 wickets.

Match 16 - Kokata Knight Riders vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Result - Kolkata Knight Riders (171 for 1) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (169 for 9) by nine wickets [SCORECARD]

Dan the Man - Daniel Vettori the Challengers skipper is known as Dan the man for his ability to pull his team out of trouble.  He has done it often with New Zealand and in this match it was for RCB.  With RCB in deep trouble at 91 for 6 after the 13th over, Vettori walked in helped rebuilt the innings, and in the end played some exquisite shots to see RCB reach 169.  His 44 off 23 balls was the highlight of the RCB innings and watching two huge sixes sail over square leg was a treat for the eyes!

The Gambhir - Kallis partnership - It was this partnership that saw the demise of RCB and what a partnership it was!  Gambhir and Kallis together scored 109 runs for the second wicket and remained undefeated at the end.  The duo took over the reigns of the chase after Haddin fell giving a brilliant start.  The two milked the bowlers for singles and doubles and the occasional hit over the fence surfaced.  It was all done with minimum risk and it was like watching a knife going to through your heart watching these two bat in such fashion.  However I must say that I did enjoy it and that KKR look in good touch after this win.

Both these IPL teams have a long way to go and another loss spells certain exit.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Match 15 - Bravo Chennai!

Chennai Super Kings came back to their usual winning ways with a last over thriller against Cape Cobras.  CSK playing at home on a slow sticky wicket won on the back of a brilliant all-round performance by Dwayne Bravo.

Match 15 - Chennai Super Kings vs. Cape Cobras
Result - Chennai Super Kings (146 for 6) beat Cape Cobras (145 for 7) by four wickets [SCORECARD]

The pressure at the death overs - Normally the assumption is that only the fielding side feels the pressure during the death overs unless your chasing of course, but that really isn't the case as Cape Cobras showed.  The Cobras scored only 30 off their last 30 balls and that was largely responsible for their below par score.  Once their set in batsmen were back in the hut, the runs were difficult to come by and the Chennai bowlers tightened the flow.  I feel this is where the match was lost and perhaps another 10-15 runs could have made the difference.

Bravo! - Dwayne Bravo is an extremely talented star and this is a well known fact and the fact that he has often not lived up to his full potential is also well known.  This match however was one of those days when he decided to bring everything he had to the plate.  He bowled brilliantly and ended up with figures 3 for 23 in his four, and came back to see Chennai home with a 25 ball 46*.  His knock was classy and one shot that went for six over cover is forever etched in my mind.

Chennai look well set with their first win and must be hungry to repeat last years success.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Match 14 - A super over triller

Almost all the matches this Champions League tournament has been going to the very last over if not the last ball and these thrillers have made the tournament very very exiting to watch.  Today was no different as Trinidad and Tobago and New South Wales locked horns with the match going into the super over and the very last ball of that over too!  If there ever was a good humdinger then here it is.

Match 14 - New South Wales vs. Trinidad and Tobago
Result - Trinidad and Tobago (139 for 6) tied with New South Wales (139 for 8). New South Wales won the one-over eliminator [SCORECARD]

Nerves of steel - Moises Henriques has nerves made up off steel.  That much I'm certain.  With New South Wales needing an improbable 17 runs of the last over with Trinidad and Tobago's best bowler (Ravi Rampaul) bowling, the odds looked to be against the Aussie team, but Henriques changed all that.  NSW managed to score 16 off that over thanks to Henriques hitting 3 fours and dragged the match into a super over.  In the super over he repeated the same hitting 18 runs off Ravi Rampaul, and eventually winning the match.

Another blunder by Ganga? - Trinidad and Tobago have dragged two matches to the very last ball now and after the match against Mumbai where I feel that Trinidad lost the plot after a tactical error on Ganga's part, I'm thinking if the same is the case here.  I understand Ganga's decision in wanting his best bowler to bowl the super over but could he have tried someone else?  I appreciate that he backed Rampaul's ability despite being smashed for 16 runs of the precious over, but am wondering if it was foolhardy.  Also with Rampaul coming around the wicket, he wasn't doing much other than be set up to be hit and am wondering if Darren Ganga cost his team another match due to another tactical blunder?

I was supporting T&T this match and it was a difficult pill to swallow seeing the team finish second again.  They are so close yet so far away and the sad faces of the players after the match told their own stories.  Just hope that this team finds a place in the last 4.

Match 13 - KKR lose again!

KKR managed to lose yet another match and this time against the South Australian Red Backs.  The Red Backs were in red hot forms and clinically defeated the KKR team to win by 19 runs.

Match 13 - Kolkata Knight Riders vs. South Australia Red Backs
Result - South Australia (188 for 5) beat Kolkata Knight Riders (169 for 9) by 19 runs [SCORECARD]

Callum Ferguson - The Entertainer - I've watched Ferguson in a couple of matches before but he never did score much runs in those.  Yesterday he showed me just why this man is so talked about in Australia and it was delightfully entertaining to watch him bat.  His flicks over mid-wicket where he deposited a few balls over the ropes was a treat to the eyes.  He scored 70* off just 40 balls helping South Australia to 188 for 5.

The bizarre promotion of Shakib - Shakib Al Hasan was promoted to bat at first drop and he walked into bat as soon as Bisla fell in the second over.  I just failed to comprehend the logic behind such a decision and felt that if anyone was to be promoted it should have been Ryan ten Doeschate.  He has been one of their best batsmen in the few matches they have played and looks to be in great touch.  Coming in at 7 and scoring 32 runs of 16 balls in a losing cause is a waste of his talent and I think KKR should learn to better use their resources.

KKR would now need to pull up their socks and play well and win the next two matches.  That is something I don't see happening.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Match 12 - Mumbai steal a win off the last ball

The Mumbai Indians - Trinidad and Tobago match was a low scoring thriller and the final few minutes of the match I literally had my heart in my mouth.  Trinidad and Tobago showed great spirit to fight back after being bowled out for 98, to get the match to the very last ball.  It was a terrific match and a real pity that there had to be a loser in such a close encounter.

Match 12 - Mumbai Indians vs. Trinidad and Tobago
Result - Mumbai Indians (99 for 9) beat Trinidad and Tobago (98 all out) by one wicket [SCORECARD]

The greatest match of CLT20 2011 so far - Yes, I would go as far as calling this low scoring match as that for the fact that it indeed was the greatest match of CLT20 2011 so far.  I always found the close low scoring matches much more romantic and the way in which T&T fought back was just magnificent.  Watching the two teams celebrate after the match shows just how much each match means to these players.  One side the Mumbai players were jumping up and down with joy while on the other hand the West Indian players were all on the ground heartbroken.

The big blunder - Darren Ganga's team were in control for 119 balls of the Mumbai Indians innings and lost the plot in the final ball.  Ganga failed to bring the field up with just 2 runs needed off the last ball with just a wicket remaining for the Indians.  I mean why not bring the field up and try to pressurize the number 11 batsmen?  I understand saving a single off the final delivery is difficult, but surely there's no risk in trying.  After all T&T had nothing to lose at that stage.  Ganga did admit that he was playing for the super over, but playing for the super over when your opposition has a bowler called Malinga is suicide.  It was sad to see T&T lose because of a tactical error when they clearly were the better team on the day.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Match 11 - Somerset best KKR again!

Somerset took on the KKR for the second time this tournament and managed to came out on top again.  South African van der Merwe led the Somerset to victory with an all-round performance.  It was yet another close finish and it seems close shaves have become the normalcy of the tournament which is amazing and as a spectator can't ask for anything else.

Match 11 - Somerset vs. Kolkata Knight Riders
Result - Somerset (164 for 5) beat Kolkata Knight Riders (161 for 3) by five wickets [SCORECARD]

The legend of Yusuf Pathan - There is no one in Indian cricket who can strike a cricket ball so fiercely as this man.  His sixes are just brutal and when he gets going it's difficult not to pity the bowler and watch the amazing batting display.  Yesterday was one of those days when the legend came to life and we witnessed some huge sixes as he took a special liking to Aurl Suppiah.  He scored 4 mammoth sixes and his 39 off just 21 balls helped KKR get to the 160 mark.

Roelof van der Merwe - This man is a player every skipper would want on his team.  He always gives his 100% while bowling, batting and fielding and is exceptionally talented in all those three fields making him an amazing player specially in the shorter format.  Yesterday was no exception as he bowled a tight spell of 4-0-21-0, put in some dives saving some precious runs and then coming in at first drop and scoring 73 off just 40 balls with 10 boundaries and two sixes (one of those was a reverse sweep six!).  So it was just another day at the office for van der Merwe, and its good to see him doing really well.  I always thought him to be an exceptional player when he was with RCB and knew it was a bad decision when they let him go.

So now with Butler and Kieswetter coming back, Somerset will be further strengthened and its great to see the underdog play with such great spirit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Match 10 - JJ Smuts annihilates South Australia

The Warriors continued their winning ways as they clinically destroyed the South Australian Red Backs by 6 wickets thanks to an all-round display by JJ Smuts.

Match 10 - Warriors vs. South Australia Red Backs
Result - Warriors (171 for 5) beat South Australia (121 for 6) by 50 runs [SCORECARD]

Bad day at the office - Shaun Tait is one of those player who on his day will win you a match single handedly but when it's not his day, things can get ugly and we witnessed the latter happen today.  Tait had a horrid day at the office today as his bowling figures read 4 - 0 - 53 - 1.  His economy was a hemorrhaging rate of 13.25!  Prince's wicket that he took was a peach of a delivery and sadly those deliveries were rare today.  South Australia desperately need him to bounce back and I'm sure that today was just a bad day and that he'll surely bounce back.

JJ Smuts - The Aggressor - JJ Smuts was in an aggressive mood today as he smashed a brilliant half century.  Smuts scored 88 runs of just 65 balls which consisted of 10 boundaries and 2 hits over the fence.  Smuts looked very impressive and seemed to have an array of strokes.  He looks to be an outstanding talent.  He also contributed with his bowling as he got rid off Borgas.

The Warriors look like a very threatening team this tournament.

Episode 9 - CLT20, India's Uneventful Tour And Shakib

Episode 9 is finally out!

Recorded on 23rd September 2011; Duration 36 minutes.

Description: In this episode Michael as usual presents us some very unique stats in Statistic Class where we look at the CLT20 so far and also at Shakib Al Hasan - who was recently sacked as captain of the Bangladesh team.  Then we discuss in the main part of the pod, on India's ill fated English tour and Michael shares his grievances with the Auckland Aces team as they crash out of the CLT20.  

Panelists - Michael Wagener, and Christopher David

 If you wish to download the podcast click here. You can also subscribe to it via iTunesor any other podcatchers.

Match 9 - Mumbai stun Chennai

Mumbai Indians managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat as they won a last over thriller.  Mumbai who were chasing 159 for victory seemed to be lost at 85 for 6 after the 12th over, but an unlikely hero in Malinga emerged and he scripted a memorable win ending CSK's 8 match undefeated streak at home.

Match 9 - Mumbai Indians vs. Chennai Super Kings
Result -  Mumbai Indians (159 for 7)  beat Chennai Super Kings (158 for 4) by three wickets [SCORECARD]

Mr.Cricket - Michale Hussey who had a dream run in Sri Lanka for Australia continued his great form as he scored a brilliant half century.  His 81 was a typical Hussey innings with plenty of singles, doubles and the occasional big hits out of the ground.  Hussey seemed to have done the magic for CSK as he took the home team to a respectable total on a very slow pitch in which the batsmen were generally struggling to find their timing.  However Malinga ruined his party.

Malinga the batsmen - Lasith Malinga is supposed to win matches with the leather in his hand, not the willow.  However everything was reversed as he played a stellar innings seeing Mumbai through.  Malinga walked in at the fall of Pollard's wicket with still 56 runs needed off 28 balls.  his innings of 37* off just 18 balls which consisted of 3 huge sixes and another 3 hits to the fence sealed the game for Mumbai.

Mumbai would know that were lucky to get away with the match and the two points and would work harder not to repeat the same mistakes while CSK would be left ruing their death bowling.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Match 8 - Cobras destroy NSW

The South African team, Cape Cobras destroyed New South Wales by 7 wickets as they played an almost clinical display of batting and bowling. Their fielding was found wanting as they dropped about 4 catches but they still managed to win the match easily barely breaking a sweat.

Match 8 - Cape Cobras vs. New South Wales
Result - Cape Cobras (136 for 3) beat New South Wales (135 for 8) by seven wickets [SCORECARD]

Losing the momentum - If there ever was a batting side that lost the plot, it was NSW today as they failed to capitalize on a good start.  Credit must be given to the Cape Cobras bowlers as they tighten the string and restricted the flow of runs.

Eternal Gibbs - He might be a bad boy who is well past his prime at age 37, but he showed his class on a slow pitch as he guided the Cobras to victory.  He scored 55 off 47 balls with 2 huge sixes and 5 boundaries.  Gibbs was usual classy best as he played some amazing shots through the off-side.

NSW should be disappointed by their performance and they will probably go back to the drawing room and  rework their team composition and strategy.

Match 7 - Warrior Prince helps overcome the Challengers

The first match of the CLT20 started yesterday as the Warriors took on the Royal Challengers at home.  RCB managed to put up a competitive 172 on the board despite losing the way near the end.  Warriors in reply were struggling after the 10th over, but then a huge partnership between Prince and captain Botha helped the team come close to the target and the Warriors clinched a win off the very last ball!

Match 6 - Warriors vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Result - Warriors (173 for 7) beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (172 for 8) by two wickets [SCORECARD]

"Sloppy fielding cost us the match" - Those were Daniel Vettori's words in the press conference afterwards as he tried to explain the loss that never should have taken place.  RCB dropped a couple of catches and looked sloppy in the field.  There were plenty of misfields and even overthrows.  A missed run out chance just added to their vows as the fielding failed to put any kind of pressure on the Warrior's batsmen.  Surely had RCB fielded batter, I'm sure that they would have won and I hope that in the future the difference between the two teams is not fielding.

The Warrior Prince - Ashwell Prince the MOM yesterday played a stellar innings as he almost saw his team through.  He anchored the chase and provided the needed stability required by any team chasing a huge target. Prince played some exquisite strokes and he hit two sixes of a Gayle over in the most unPrincelike fashion.  He scored 74 off just 55 balls which consisted of 3 sixes and 6 boundaries.  It was a treat to watch him play despite the fact that he was scoring against my team and I'm glad that he managed to prove the point that even technically correct batsmen can play T20 cricket.

CLT20 - the main stage has started with a bang and I'm sure that if we have plenty more of yesterdays match, then it will become a great product.  Yesterday there were two winners.  The Warriors and cricket.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tiger, Tiger burning bright...

Tiger, Tiger burning bright.  My hero passed away tonight. 

Could there have been a more romantic figure in cricket? Royal Blood, Piratically one eyed, with a a flashing rapier of a bat. Fearless, brilliant, and in the still colonical hungover era could make White men realize that not all natives simply rolled over and begged for mercy.

I remember snatches; a personal memory of him patting my head, when I was a little boy: his magnifcent tactical acumen in countering the fearsome West indies side in 1974.The clairvoyant use he made of Prasanna, Bedi and Chandrashekhar. Oh, if only he had a Kapil Dev too. He laid the foundation of the self belief which led to India's first overseas triumphs; never mind that the Last Pataudi trophy to be given away by Tiger while alive was in a Whitewash: nobody doubts that India will rise again.

I remember his epic battles at Headingley, Brisbane, the pirate admiral on a burning deck, repelling musket shot and cannon with his scimitar of a bat. Of his preternatural and feline fielding at covers.

Above all, his class, his persona, his wonderful understated humor and grace.

To his wonderful Begum, Saif and daughters, my deepest condolences.

This tiger is prowling his elysian fields, staring down all with one tigerish eye, down that imperious and regal nose.

Goodbye Tiger. Goodbye, legend.

By - Rajiv Ramanujam (@RR2303)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

RIP Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi (January 5th 1941 - September 22nd 2011)

Rest in Peace Tiger Pataudi. Legendary Nawab of Pataudi.  Indian Hero.  Gentleman.  Husband.  Father. Cricketer Extraordinaire.  Respect. 

Match 6 - KKR and Somerset qualify

Both KKR and Somerset managed to find a spot in the main pool of the CLT20 after Somerset won the match against KKR yesterday.  KKR who lost, still managed to make it due to their superior net run rate.

Match 6 - Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Somerset
Result - Somerset (166 for 6) beat Kolkata Knight Riders (155 for 8) by 11 runs [SCORECARD]

Ryan ten Doeschate - Nerves of steel - With KKR needing 153 runs to qualify were 57 for 4 in the 9th over and looked to be in deep trouble, but ten Doeschate proved his true worth with a brilliant 46 from 31 balls guiding the team to victory.  Watching the scenes after KKR crossed that 153 mark was just sensational and you could see just how much this win meant for KKR.  ten Doeschate showed no signs of nerves despite the climbing run rate the the wickets falling and no wonder this guy is the associate player of the year for the 3rd year running now!

The Van der Merwe catch - Words fail to describe this piece of beauty so here's the actual catch.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Match 5 - Ruhuna outfox Leicestershire

Ruhuna XI managed to keep their hopes alive of qualifying for the next stage of the CLT20 after a thrilling last  over win over Leicestershire Foxes.   Leicestershire needed to chase down 161 in 13.2 overs to ensure automatic qualification looked well set to win the match around the 17th over with Razzaq going great guns, but in the quest for runs, he fell and with it a win, giving the team from the Emerald Isles some hope for an extended run.

Match 5 - Ruhana XI vs. Leicestershire Foxes
Result - Ruhuna (160 for 6) beat Leicestershire (156 for 8) by four runs [SCORECARD]

Dinesh Chandimal and Abdul Razzaq - The Dashers - Chandimal was the backbone of Ruhuna's batting and he scored his second fifty of the tournament.  He paced his innings beautifully and was largely responsible for taking Ruhuna to 160.  He hit two huge sixers and six boundaries in his knock and looks to be one for Sri Lanka's future.  Razzaq likewise was the main stray for the Foxes and he top scored 68 runs of just 46 balls!  He hit two huge sixers with one of them being deposited some 98 meters away!  It was a pity that he couldn't see his team through.

The spinners come to the party again! - The pitches this tournament have all been on the slower side and that was case today!  Once the spinners came on, it was almost impossible to score freely.  The spinners and slow medium pacers restricted the flow of runs and strangled the batting sides.

With the English county out, Ruhuna have an outside chance, but it all depends on the next match - the crucial 6th match!

Match 4 - Somerset eliminate Auckland

Somerset brought to an end Auckland Aces' CLT20 run as they managed to win a cracker of a match in the very last ball!  Auckland who managed only 125 showed great character and fighting spirit as they almost defended that small total.  It was a pity though that they had to lose and I feel sad for the team who played back to back matches and both of them being close ones that ended in defeats.

Match 4 - Somerset vs. Auckland Aces
Result - Somerset (126 for 6) beat Auckland (125 for 7) by four wickets [SCORECARD]

Low scores - So far all the matches in the tournament have yielded very small scores.  120 odd runs was defended by KKR and the Aces almost did the same!  The first ten overs the batsmen find it easy but once the ball scruffs up a bit, it starts holding up and the batsmen struggle to get it away.  I'm sure the Aces woould have won had it been not for

Michael Bates - The one player who in the two matches has captured my attention is this guy, and now he's boarding a plane back to Auckland.  Bates was unplayable yesterday and his figures 4-1-13-2 actually don't tell the real story as he bowled much better than that!  He brought the Aces from no where to within striking distance of a victory and the last over he bowled having only 5 to defend was a splendid over. Think he has mastered the art of bowling at death.  Do I sense an IPL contract for Bates coming up?

With this we have our first elimination as Auckland crash out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Match 3 - T&T qualify after mauling Leicestershire

Trinidad and Tobago became the first team to qualify for the main stage of the Champions League T20 as they destroyed the Leicestershire Foxes.  T&T set a very decent target of 169 for Leicestershire as the Trinidad openers put on 139 runs for the first wicket.  In reply the English T20 champions could only manage 117 in their 20 overs for the loss of 9 wickets.

Match 3 - Trinidad and Tobago vs. Leicestershire Foxes
Result - Trinidad and Tobago (168 for 2) beat Leicestershire (117 for 9) by 51 runs [SCORECARD]

The magnificent opening stand! - T&T openers put on a century stand for the first wicket as they decimated the Leicestershire bowlers sending the foxes on a leather hunt.  Lendl Simmons (67) and Adrian Barath (62) put on 139 runs which is a record partnership for the Calypso team.  The foundation gave Trinidad and Tobago the perfect platform to put up the huge score that they did.

The spinners do the job - A West Indian team for probably the first time in history strangled and destroyed a team with spinners.  Samuel Badree and Sunil Narine picked up 4 wickets between themselves in the powerplay as the Foxes found themselves at 20 for 5 after just the 6th over!  Badree ended up with figures 4-1-7-2.  Imagine those figures in a T20 match and considering the fact that his first ball was dispatched to the boundary meant that he gave only 3 runs off his remaining 23 balls.  Ravi Rampaul cleaned the lower order as he picked up 4 himself.

Trinidad and Tobago are into the next stage with an additional 200,000 dollar cheque, while the CLT20 dream for the Leicestershire Foxes looks to be coming to an end.

Match 2 - KKR clinch a thriller

Kolkata Knight Riders in the second match of the CLT20, managed to clinch victory from the jaws of defeat as the tournament witnessed it's first nail biter.  KKR having  won the toss elected bat and managed only a poultry total of 121 in their 20 overs.  Auckland Aces in reply fell two runs short thanks to some splendid bowling by the KKR slower bowlers.

Match 2 - Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Auckland Aces
Result - Kolkata Knight Riders (121 for 6) beat Auckland Aces (119 for 6) by two runs [SCORECARD]

The batting collapses - Both the teams were subjected to batting collapses.  KKR known for losing the plot form a position of advantage collapsed from 75 for 1 in 10 overs to 121 for 6 in their 20 overs.  They lost 5 wickets for just 46 runs in their last 10 overs.  Likewise Auckland Aces chasing a easy target collapsed from 60 for 2 in 9 overs to 119 for 6 in 20 overs.  The Aces lost 4 wickets for just 59 runs in their last 11 overs.

The slow bowlers - It was the slower bowlers who strangled the batsmen on both teams.  Medium pacers Michael Bates and Rajat Bhatia were the stars in their respective sides.  The KKR spinners in Iqbal Abdulla, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib al Hasan also strangled the flow of runs eventually restricting the Aces.

It was good to see a team fight back and show such character and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  And wasn't Kallis a happy man after Lee bowled that splendid last over, making sure that KKR come out on top?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Match 1 - T&T start with a bang!

This CLT20, I'm going to be analyzing every single match!  Yes, you heard that right!  Every single game!  However it won't be the usual match report.  It's going to be this unique system, that I have managed to derive where I will talk about two most interesting aspects of the match.  It is going to be a two point approach of the match and I'll start off with the first analysis today.

Match 1 - Trinidad and Tobago vs. Ruhuna XI
Result - Trinidad and Tobago (144 for 5) beat Ruhuna XI (138 all out) by five wickets [SCORECARD]

The Run Outs and the Spinners - Ruhuna XI managed to attain the dubious record of becoming the team with the most number of run outs as five of their batsmen were run out and most in comical fashion.  Both spinners started out with spinners and the Ruhana spinners were all over the calypso batsmen as they not only picked wickets but also were quite economical.

Sherwin Ganga - The Destroyer! - Ganga played a stellar innings as he scored 39 runs of just 15 balls with a strike rate of 260!  He hit 2 sixers and 4 boundaries to see his team through.

Kochi franchise shown the door

Kochi Tuskers Kerala will no more be part of the Indian Premier League.  The franchisee has been terminated for breach of terms with the BCCI due to non-payment of dues.  The Indian board has come down hard  on the franchisee.  Newly elected BCCI President, N. Srinivasan revealed the decision by the Indian cricket board and said,
"Because of the irremediable breach committed by the Kochi franchise, the BCCI has decided to encash the bank guarantee in their possession and also terminate the franchise."

He also said that Kochi won't be allowed to return to the tournament saying,
"We have terminated the franchise because the breach is not capable of being remedied."
This means that KTK will no longer be part of the IPL and that the total number of teams will be reduced to 9. It is to be seen if another team does replace the Kochi team.

Now this move by the BCCI leaves some questions unanswered.  There are two big questions left unanswered now.  First what will happen to the players in the team and the support staff?  Logic tells that they would be put back in the auction, but I just wonder the fate of players such as V.V.S. Laxman.  Which other IPL team would invest in him?  Meanwhile John Hastings from Australia who was part of the Kochi team tweeted his point of view on the matter.
"Looks like I will be having a little holiday then during IPL." 
- John Hastings
Is that what you call looking at the glass half full?  My second question on the matter is why BCCI didn't take this decision earlier?  Kochi should have been suspended the minute they unveiled their ugly orange and purple uniform and saved humanity from having to see Sreesanth wearing those colors!

Had BCCI acted in time we could have been saved from this! 
The IPL saga continues and there are bound to be many twists in the story.  My take on what will happen?  Well I'm sure that Kochi will contest the termination in a court of law and BCCI under pressure will buckle, bringing alive the debate whether BCCI should be brought under the government's control.  So don't be surprised if we see Kochi play next season.  Whatever the case is, you can be sure to be entertained.  That much is certain.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nokia Ke Asli Champions

Nokia Champions League T20 (CLT20) starts tomorrow and the title sponsors, Nokia are running an online contest called Nokia Ke Asli Champions.

Prove your an Asli Champion and you'll get a chance to watch the CLT20 finals in Chennai along with Priyanka Chopra.

So what do you have to do and how do you play?
  • You start by uploading your Air Cricket Video or Cricket Audio Commentary on or
  • Participants then need to start collecting votes and each vote will help the participant increase his rank 
  • Entries that are amongst the top 100 air cricket videos or top cricket audio commentaries (by votes) will be eligible for a shortlist from which the Nokia judges panel would then decide the 8 winners from these top 100 entries of Air Cricket Videos and top 100 entries Cricket Audio Commentaries.
  • The 8 winners would then fly to Chennai and watch the match with Prinyanka. 

Sounds simple?  Well what are you waiting for?  Start proving your an Asli Champion!

A look at India's disaster tour of England

India's horror tour of England has finally come to an end! The hellish tour is over! The tour that was cursed from the start as India's strike bowler, Zaheer Khan was injured in the very first hour of the Lord's test. A tour that was to be the highlight of this year has become a forgettable nightmare.  Here's a look at certain points from that tour.

India lost this tour 8-0 (four tests, one T20 and 3 ODIs). Only once before has India lost a tour 0-8 and that was back in 1988-89 when they lost all 5 ODIs and three Tests in the Windies. However they at least managed to draw a Test then. So what does it say about this Indian team? Well honestly I'm still trying to figure out the answer. However I do know that this has been the worst tour result for India in the last decade!

The Indian players fitness has never come under scrutiny as it has in this tour. Having ten players (Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, and finally Praveen Kumar) of your squad injured is just either being cursed by the Gods or lacking something in the fitness area. When you lose your key players to injury and have some of your key players playing with niggles, the result that we got was bound to happen.

There's a saying that says, 'When the temple doors are closed, even the Gods hide behind the wall', and that's what the Indian team did. Rahul Dravid was India's lone performer in the test series and without Dravid, the already humiliating defeats would have been even more humiliating. The man also bid adieu to the limited format in style by making his debut and retirement in T20s on the same day and scoring a very Dravidian half century in his last ODI.

It doesn't matter if you are the number one test team and the World Champions in ODI cricket, when you start a series, as those titles mean nothing when you start to play. India went into the series with those two titles and due to lack of planning and preparation now India find themselves ranked 3rd in test cricket and number 5 in ODIs!

Only once in two months did India breach the 300 mark and that was two days ago which also ended in a defeat. What does this say about our batting?  King Leonidas would have wished that the Persian army was instead the Indian team.

India lost to a superior English team. An English team though lacking 'English' players consisted of a solid batting and a equally well equipped bowling unit with a long reserve queue. If this English team can adapt and perform outside the English conditions specially in the sub-continent, then I'm sure that they would be the team to dominate cricket for the next couple of years and maybe even more.  At the end of the day England was the better team playing quality cricket.

This is a series India would love to forget but shouldn't as so many lessons are to be learnt from it. I hope this serves as a wake up call and that the BCCI immediately start making amends.

There was absolutely no positives for India in this series. If there ever was one, it probably would be that team England defeated only one team in the series - India, while team India managed to win against three teams in the tour games, namely against Kent, Sussex and Leicestire, and lost only to England.

This will be the last post I'll be writing on this series as I try to forget the last two months.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My thoughts on the final ODI

India managed to lose the final ODI against England and thereby ending the English tour with no wins!  A sad and bleak tour has finally come to an end.  Here's a look at yesterdays match [SCORECARD].

300! - India for the first time in this tour managed to breach the 300 mark.  However the score made no difference to the result as India lost the match as usual.

Trott hits a six! - Did you think India breaching 300 was a rarity?  Then well you've got a surprise, cause Johnathan Trott went one better and hit his first six in International cricket.  His first after 35 ODIs and 23 test matches!

Dravid bids adieu - Rahul Dravid bid adieu to ODI cricket and played his last match for India in blue.  He received  standing ovation when he walked in to bat at the fall of Rahane's wicket, and one of Indian cricket's greatest servant signed off in style with a typical Dravidian half century.  Some of the shots were amazing and together with Kohli helped India lay a foundation for the huge total.

Samit Patel can't field - Does this make him a donkey, Nas?  Samit Patel dropped two sitters yesterday and looked very bad in the field.  And no, it has nothing to do with his Indian connection.

Kohli comes good - Kohli after a bad run in the Windies and in England so far, managed to come good and scored a brilliant century.  The only sad part was the way he got out - he was given out 'hit wicket'.

Indian bowlers can't bowl - The Indian bowling yesterday was horrible to say the least.  The most economical Indian bowler was Ashwin and even he went for 6.25 per over!

England batsmen dominate - 241 in 32.2 overs for the loss of just 4 wickets is an amazing display of the brutal strength of your batting and England showcased just that!

Debutante comes to the fore - Jonny Bairstow smashed a eye catching 41 runs of 21 balls as he saw England through.  Skipper Cook has called Bairstow a find, and looking at the three sixes he smashed, I agree with Cook.

With that England conclude what has been a summer of English domination and living hell for the Indian team and it's fans.  I am glad that the series is finally over and now finally onto something more cheerful, colorful and 'more important than test cricket' - Champions League T20.  My points on this series will be up, tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My Favourite Cricketer…Sourav Ganguly

I'm too lazy to actually write a blog post today so instead what I'll do is direct you to an article I wrote for World Cricket Watch.  They have a series going on called 'My Favorite Cricketer' in which writers talk about their favorite cricket.

As you can guess from the title, mine was about the Bengal Tiger - Sourav Ganguly and why he is my favorite cricketer.  So go ahead and check it out and tell me what you think.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The 2011 ICC Awards

The ICC Awards took place in London yesterday and as expected, it was a gala event with plenty of former and current legends.  The awards went to... 

The Test Cricketer of the Year went to Alastair Cook
The ICC player of the year was Johnathan Trott
Bishoo named Emerging Player of the Year
Aleem Dar wins best umpire for the third consecutive year
Dhoni wins Spirit of Cricket award
Kumar Sangakkara named ODI Cricketer of the Year and Peoples Choice Player of the Year 
Tim Southee wins award for best Twenty20 performance
Stafanie Taylor wins Women's Cricketer award
and finally Ryan ten Doeschate wins Associate award.

The list was more or less what was expected.  England's ODI skipper in the last year has played 12 Tests, and in 18 innings he has scored 1302 runs at an astounding average of 76.58, which includes six centuries and four half-centuries and an highest of 235!  Now if that doesn't win you an award then I'm not sure what will.  Trott likewise has been a busy player with 1042 runs from 12 tests at an average of 65.12, including four centuries and three half-centuries.  Added to this is scoring 1064 runs at an average of 48.36 with two centuries and nine 50s in 24 ODIs.  It's been an English year all the way!

Kumar Sangakara certainly did win the public with his MCC - Spirit of Cricket speech and that showed as he won the Peoples player of the year award.  He also won the ODI player of the year award after leading Sri Lanka to the World Cup finals and scoring 1049 runs at an average of 55.21 in 25 ODIs. He also has 26 catches and 10 stumpings as wicketkeeper.

Aleem Dar won the Umpire of the Year for the third time running while ten Doeschate won the Associate player of the year.  A Cricinfo tweet yesterday read that only death, taxes and ten Doeschate winning the associate player of the year award were the only certainties in life.

And the lone Indian Dhoni won the Spirit of Cricket for calling back Ian Bell.  The great Curtly Ambrose was introduced into the ICC hall of fame.

Monday, September 12, 2011

India still search for the elusive win!

Another day, another match, same result!  Well maybe not exactly the same result as India managed to tie the fourth ODI, but still couldn't manage a win [SCORECARD], and that itself tells a story.  So here's my take on the match.

1.) India are improving - From losing all the matches in the tour against England, India finally put up one of its better performances and actually looked like winning a match for the first time.  The batting with Raina and Dhoni clicked and with a huge score the Indian seamers did the job of knocking back the English top order early.  Pity the series isn't a 7 match series.  Surely India would have improved to a certain level capable of winning by then.

2.) Duckworth and Lewis method is a bitch! - I cannot lay more emphasis on this.  The entire complex method cricket uses for matches affected by rain is sometimes a shame as it gives out results that no one ever will be pleased about.  But in that it shows that the system works as a good compromise is one in which no is happy and that's pretty much what D/L method is all about.  I was happy when the umpires called of play ahead of Munaf Patel's 42nd over with India being 2 runs ahead in the D/L method.  But when the players came back on in a matter of minutes, I was even more happy but after England looted 9 runs of that over before play being called off and England being 2 runs ahead now, I was disgusted!  However I am happy the game ended in a tie as probably that was the best result considering the situations.

3.) Rain! - Will it ever not rain in England?

4.) The curious case of Raina, Dhoni and Bopara - I mentioned three highest scorers of the match and it is interesting to note that all three of them have done pretty well in the limited formats while in Test cricket all of them have struggled to make the very same impact.  Raina and Dhoni are exceptional players and immensely talented, but the two players seem to lack the confidence when it comes to playing in whites and look all at sea.  Bopara has had it more difficult has England has a more or less fixed test batting line up, but even he has failed to make the same impact in tests.  I really do think Bopara can make it to the highest level if given the chance and if he shows the desire to perform.

5.) England win the series! - Do I have to say any more?

In other news, Stuart Broad is out of the series with a muscle tear.  Will this at least help India win the final ODI?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The 23 over affair

Yesterday was yet another loss for India [SCORECARD] and the series looks like it might end in a sorrowful way for the visitors. The second ODI at the Rose Bowl was reduced to 23 overs a side after persistent rain.  It was a pity but at least we had a match and 23 overs in better than no match.  Surely the IPL experience would help the Indian team in this match.  Unfortunately that didn't happen.  Here's my take on the match.

1.) 23 overs a side is not ODI cricket.  Period. - It's just T20 cricket with three extra overs.  Having said that I expected the Indian players who play so much of T20 cricket in the IPL to come good, and that they didn't do.  Interesting that Rahul Dravid who bid adieu to T20 cricket last week now is playing 23-23 cricket.  The match was entertaining but I would never consider it an ODI match.  The scorecard proves me wrong though.

2.) Ajinkya Rahane is the real deal. - I don't really know where this little guy has been hiding till now, but from what I've seen in the three matches he played for India thus far, I'm sure he's a player to watch out for.  Watching him bat yesterday was such a treat.  He played a mature innings full of calculated risks and clinical cricketing strokes.  Maiden half century for the young man yesterday, and hopefully many more to come.

3.) Cook can play 23 over cricket! - The English ODI skipper can actually play 23 over cricket!  Yes, the same Alastair Cook who bats ball after ball, hour after hour in test cricket batting a team into the ground in the most uninspiring manner does find a role in the shorter format.  His 80 of 63 set the match beautifully for England and as a skipper, I'm sure he would have liked nothing better.

4.) The EC - EC here stands for the Entertaining Cameos.  There were 4 very entertaining cameos and each team contributed equally in this.

  • Parthiv Patel who according to rumors was inspired by Poonam Pandey's new antics, launched into the English bowling as he raced to 28 runs in just 15 balls.  The little dynamite took a liking to Bresnan and hit 16 runs of his over.  
  • The next big cameo was Suresh Raina.  The star of the IPL, showed the world just why he's so highly rated in the shorter format as he 40 off just 19 balls getting India to a good total.  He hit Dernbach for a couple of sixes and got under his skin so much that the umpire had to intervene!
  • England's Kieswetter launched his team's run chase off in grand style as he scored a quick fire 46 off 25.  Kieswetter took the Indian bowlers to the cleaners and must be happy at the fact that he now has earned an incremental contract from the ECB, after that knock!
  • Finally we have baby faced, Ian Bell who kept the momentum going for England once Kieswetter was back in the hut.  He scored 25 off 16.
5.) India are cursed by the Gods - How else does a team fare so badly in a series?  With 6 matches played till now, India has managed to lose all of them!  And lose them all in grand style!  Is the team jinxed?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Almost an Injured Indian XI

Sachin Tendulkar has been ruled out of the England versus India ODI series after a toe injury.  He's also likely to miss the CLT20 for Mumbai Indians.  So that big 100th century has to wait yet again!

Yes, another Indian is injured taking the casualty toll to 9 players!  We can form an Indian Injury XI if just two more players get injured.  Here's the Injured Indian XI,
Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma,
I'm wondering who is next?  A seamer and a keeper would finish the team well.  So guess Dhoni, Parthiv Patel and the Indian pace men need to find themselves ways of getting themselves injured!

Subramanium Badrinath has been named has Sachin's replacement.  According to sources, he was last seen dancing outside his house in Chennai singing, 'Dhinka "CHEEKA" dhinka "CHEEKA" dhinka "CHEEKA'.

Note - Cheeka is the nickname of Krish Srikanth - The chairman of selectors.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

My two cents on the 1st ODI

The first ODI between India and England [SCORECARD] has been washed out and yet again India are denied their maiden win this tour.  Here's my two cents on all the action and rain that took place in the 1st ODI.

* Parthiv Patel can bat - I was never a big fan of Parthiv Patel and found the selectors' faith in a player who hasn't scored even a single century in limit overs format both domestic and international as appalling.  I actually wanted Rahul Dravid to open the batting along with young Ajinkya Rahane, but man was I in for a surprise!  The short, left hander who looks like a school boy sure did prove me wrong as he played perhaps his best knock till date.  He pulled, and was at ease against the shorter deliveries bowed by the English pacemen.  He played all around the park and was a treat to watch.  Pity his knock didn't conclude with him getting a century.

If it can rain in England, it will rain! - England is a gloomy country with the conditions generally being overcast and likely to rain.  We all know this and we all expect it to rain, but I was really disappointed when it did start to rain and the match was eventually called off.  Call me an optimist or whatever, but I did not expect it to rain.  I remember calling Michael Wagener a pessimist for predicting that a match would be called off due to rain when we recorded Episode 8 of Verbal Slogs, but how right he was!

* Technology that didn't work - Dravid was given out caught behind when hot-spot and slow motion replays failed to detect any deflection off the bat.  However a small sound was heard when the ball passed the bat but that was the lone bit of evidence which clearly couldn't have been backed on.  Umpire Erasmus surprised us all by doing that very thing!  So another dubious decision, and Ravi Shashtri was spewing fire at the DRS.  But is the DRS at fault here or the idiot who was interpreting it?

* India's injury list grows - Sachin Tendulkar who missed the match due to a inflamed toe, will be consulting a specialist on Monday and his role in the series would be assessed then.  Rohit Sharma joined the Indian injury list as he fractured his index finger on his right hand after being hit first ball on the gloves by Stuart Broad.  Rohit Sharma is likely to miss the rest of the series.  I really feel for Rohit, cause as a youngster he would have been looking at this chance to cement his spot in the team but now after travelling around the world to England and participating in the tour games, is likely to board the plane back home after just facing one ball.

* Broad the enforcer - Stuart Broad has revived his career thanks to this series.  In the test series, he's shown the world that he indeed belongs to the test arena and that his bowling is the real deal.  There was much talk before this series whether Broad was losing his rhythm and form by trying to be the enforcer of the English bowling attack, but he has showed us all that is not the case.  And yesterday he proved that without any doubt as he fractured Rohit Sharma's finger.  Broad the enforcer has arrived!

Well those are my thoughts on the match.  It was a shame that the match was washed out as it looked like a good contest.  At least on the bright side, India didn't lose another match.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Donkey-ing around!

The world's richest board, BCCI is angry, former Indian cricketers hurt and the Indian media is having a field day.  Why all because of a comment by Nasser Hussain in which he called a couple of Indian fielders donkey.  Nasser Hussain who was one of the commentators during the T20 match, said that the Indian team had a few donkeys when Parthiv Patel misjudged a catch of Munaf Patel.  He said,
"I would say the difference between the two side is the fielding. England are all-round a good fielding side. I do believe that India have few...3 or 4 very good fielders and one or two donkeys in the field still."

So now who is to blame?  Nasser Hussain of course!  I'm sure he didn't mean the statement as the Indian cricket board and the public sees it as but the fact remains that he called a couple of Indian players as donkeys.  Surely Nasser could have used a better term but the fact that he used the word donkey to describe the players is quite demeaning.  Yes, the Indian fielding is only average, and not world class and yes England are the fielding side, but does that mean the Indian fielders are donkeys?

I guess someone should remind N'ass'er Hussain that it's not very polite to call anyone a donkey, least of all on live television with a world wide audience watching.  I hope that he would be a gentleman and come out and apologize for his comments and admit that he said the wrong thing.  All these uncalled for comments and fights between the Indian and English commentators really irks me, and it surely does not portray the game in proper light.

The BCCI might be over reacting here a bit, but they are not wrong in wanting to protect their players and the team's image, are they?

So with Nass donkeying around and passing childish and immature comments, it reminded me of an Ural proverb.  The proverb says,
"In the forest, the wolf lives for three years, the donkey for nine."
Don't get it?  Ask Nass!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Episode 8 - Discussions on England & Australia

Episode 8 is out!

Recorded on 29th August 2011; Duration 44 minutes.

Description: In this episode Michael as usual presents us some very unique stats in Statistic Class and after that we discuss the recently concluded India versus England test series and the road ahead for England.  We also look at the various changes in the Australian cricket administration with the Argus' report and finally end the episode by discussing on Pakistan's latest search for a new coach.

Panelists - Michael Wagener, and Christopher David

If you wish to download the podcast click here. You can also subscribe to it via iTunesor any other podcatchers.

10 Thoughts on the England - India T20 match

After watching the much awaited contest between India and T20 Champs, England yesterday [SCORECARD], I was left thinking about a few things.  India lost yet another match in England against England making the series even more gloomy, and Stuart Broad managed his first win as England's T20 skipper.  So here are my thoughts on  the match,

1.) The man who made his T20 debut and retired from T20 cricket the very same day - Interesting isn't it, that someone can play their first international T20 match and that match being his last?  I wonder what was going through Rahul Dravid's mind when he made his T20 debut at the age of 38, yesterday.  Walking in at first drop Dravid played an entertaining knock scoring 31 runs of just 22 balls.  Dravid leaves the international arena with his T20 strike rate being 147.61!

2.) Dravid and his three big strikes - Dravid smashed three huge sixes off consecutive deliveries!  Maybe the IPL isn't all bad?  Surely one day when I'm old, I'll call all my grandchildren around my rocking char and tell them with pride, "I was alive when Rahul Dravid smashed three sixes in row!"

3.) Can India bat? - India which struggled to score 300 in the test series now struggles to last 20 overs!  The agony of being bowled out in a T20 match!

4.) Ajinkya Rahane - Is Rahane a star in the making?  Well that's my question!  The young man who has a very enviable first class record showed everyone his class as he scored a half century on debut.  The youngster showed no signs of nerves and looked completely at ease, even against the short pitched deliveries that the English seamers served him.  He drove, cut, pulled, hooked, flicked, and delicately dabbed the ball all over the park showcasing his entire repertoire of shots.  It was a treat to watch him bat and I hope that this is just the start for Rahane.  Hopefully he can become a star like Ganguly who also made his debut alongside Dravid in England.

5.) The great Indian Collapse - Only India can fall from a position of grace with the score at 104 for 2 in 11.4 overs to being bundled out for 165 runs in 19.4 overs.  In other words India lost 8 wickets for 61 runs in the space of 8 overs!

6.) The English - Irish, Indian, and South African connections - What would England be without their Irish, Indian and South African players?  They would be rubbish!  Their Indian-South African players picked up five of the ten Indian wickets with Dernbach picking up 4 and Bopara picking up 1.  Also Eoin Morgan set the run chase by scoring a splendid 49 while Bopara and Samit Patel finished the match.

7.) Divide and rule? - That has always been the British principle when it comes to conquering colonies such as India, but it took another form yesterday as they let lose two (English) Indians by the name of Ravi Bopara and Samit Patel to fight against the Indians.  Together they scored 56 runs in just 52 balls taking England home.

8.) The curious case of Patel - I'm not talking about England's over weight Samit Patel here, but rather India's Munaf Patel.  Munaf Patel was part of the Indian test squad and he was at all four grounds and the only effective thing he did was carry the drinks.  However after watching him bowl, yesterday, I wonder if India missed something by not selecting this man?

9.) Invention of a new shot - Samit Patel invented a new shot yesterday!  I cannot describe it so just look at the after all do speak a thousand words.

10.) The sad question - Having lost the test series and now the T20 match, can India somehow manage to save it's pride by at least winning the ODI series?

With that last question lingering on in my head...I conclude.