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Monday, April 30, 2012

IPL week 4 – In Overdrive!

It’s week four of the IPL and we are nearly at the half way point of the competition. This season of the IPL has been the closest so far and the points table reflects that truth. All the teams except Delhi Daredevils and Deccan Chargers are caught in the middle of the table in a big scramble for points. Having played the same amount of matches, the teams find themselves neck and neck with each other and a single loss or win could change the entire order of the table. Delhi Daredevils and Deccan don’t feature in the mid-table rat race since they both find themselves at the opposite ends of the table – Delhi sitting right at the top while Deccan languishing at the bottom hoping against hope for a turn around. [Read the full article at Sportskeeda...]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

IPL Week 3 – The tournament heats up!

It’s three week since the start of the 2012 IPL edition and this has probably been one of the best weeks of cricket. The matches were closely contested with most of them being decided in the very last over. 

Here’s a look at a few interesting things that happened during the course of this week.  [Read the full article here at Sportskeeda...]

Monday, April 16, 2012

IPL week 2 – The Carnival gets going!

It’s been 13 days of nonstop cricket carnival and each day better than the previous one.  This week we witnessed some outstanding moments of cricket – brilliant exhibitions of power hitting, accurate bowling, heartbreaks, miracles, controversies. And the best thing is that we’re not even halfway over with the tournament!
So here’s a look at a few interesting things that happened in the IPL this week. [Read the full article at Sportskeeda...]

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Episode 17 - Conversations on Cricket

Recorded on 12th April 2012; Duration 18 minutes.

Description: In the latest episode of Verbal Slogs, Michael and I converse about the recently concluded Sri Lanka versus England test series that ended with the honours being shared and also the first test match of the Frank Worrell Trophy between West Indies and Australia. KP's switch hit, and the club versus country debate is covered in our discussion. Michael as usual presnts some numbers in Stats Class and this time he takes a look at whether teams have won matches batting first or second in T20 cricket.


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.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Yeh IPL hai boss!! (The IPL so far…)

It’s that time of the year again, when the sun shines down baking the Indian ground, schools and colleges come to a close, the taxes are all done and the Indian Premier League takes centre stage. So the cricket carnival returns with it’s DLF maximums, Karbon Kamal catches, Danny Morrison’s interesting commentary with odd pauses and of course the dancing girls in strange outfits waving their pompoms! [Read the full article at Sportskeeda...]

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

IPL 2012 Preview - Royal Challengers Bangalore

We're down to the last team in this IPL2012 Preview series and I've saved my favourite team last. Two time IPL finalist and the CLT20 finalist last year, RCB is a team that has performed consistently except for that very first season and this very well could the year when they get across that final line.

The team is led by the versatile Daniel Vettori and boasts of one of the most powerful batting unit in the league. The West Indian dasher, Chris Gayle at the top is complimented well by Sri Lanka's Dilshan, AB de Villiers, and India's Virat Kohli. The Indian stars such as Myank Agarwal, Saurabh Tiwary, Mohamed Kaif, and Cheteshwara Pujara all are immensely talented and inspire much confidence. The batting has always been RCB's strong point and this year it's no different. At home in the small Chinnaswamy stadium, it is bound to rain sixes! I'm interested to see how Tiwary fares and whether he manages to justifies his huge price tag. RCB's weakness last season was that it's middle order compared to the top was frail and when wickets fell the team struggled to make up. Early wickets would certainly peg back this team and make recovery difficult. Last year the team depended on Gayle alone and that might not be the case this year. Still I can't wait for the big Caylpso to pick his bat and smash a few sixes.

RCB have a young team and also one of the better fielding teams. With the likes of de Villiers, Kohli and Kaif the team saves some precious runs by their fielding.

The bowling revolves around Vettori and Zaheer Khan. The addition of Vinay Kumar would be vital and along with Sreenath Aravind, and Abimanyu Mithun will be key figures. Dirk Nannes is another player to watch out for and it will be interesting to see how he goes with Zaheer Khan with the new ball. Buying Muralitharan was a good move but if he bowls the way he did in the Bangladesh Premier League then RCB rather not play him. Andrew McDonald's all-round abilities give Vettori more options and wonder if he'll make the playing XI.  Dilshan and Gayle can also bowl and certainly will send a few down.

RCB is one team I definitely see making the last four and hopefully lift that trophy this year.  One thing is sure and that is that this team with plenty of style and charisma will be certainly 'thrill the nation' in Vijay Mallaya's own words.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

IPL 2012 Preview - Rajasthan Royals

The winners of the IPL in the very first team, Rajasthan Royals ever since then have never been able to match that performance or even come near that glory and this year under a new leader in Rahul Dravid would be hoping to climb that peak once again.

Rajasthan Royals is the team that has spent the least among the others in the IPL and it must come as no surprise that their team is not made up of big names and that Rajasthan rather rely on the lesser known players and the local Indian talent more than other teams.

The batting is not made up of the ideal T20 dashers but rather players who are quite busy at the crease and can bat through the innings. Rahul Dravid, Aakash Chopra, Paul Collingwood, Shreevats Goswami, Brad Hodge, Owais Shah and Pinal Shah aren’t the names that come to mind when thing of T20 batsmen but that is whom they have, and will have to make do with. Rahane, Chandimal, Watson and Botha hence would be vital in the batting as they have the ability to get the runs at a quick rate. After England last year Rahane was forgotten and it will be good to see how he performs.

The bowling likewise isn’t made up of big names other than Sreesanth and Shaun Tait. SiddharthTrivedi is a senior player and along with Amit Singh and they will be influential as they take Deepak Chahar and young Ashok Maneria into the fold. I’m really looking forward to seeing the 41 year old Brad Hogg bowl his chinnaman deliveries.

Rajasthan is a team of unknowns and resemble a Bangladesh outfit in International cricket. They have the talent but still aren’t one of the big boys. However they are not to be underestimated and like Bangladesh demonstrated in the Asia Cup, RR are also capable of giant killing acts.

Monday, April 2, 2012

IPL 2012 Preview - Pune Warriors India

Pune Warriors India has had a very short and difficult time in the IPL and a couple of months ago it didn’t seem very likely that the team would be playing this season. However all that seems to be in the past and the team led by former India skipper, Sourav Ganguly looks to make an impression this year.

Pune might be missing the services of Yuvraj Singh and Graeme Smith this IPL, but still their batting is strong and looks lethal. The last minute signing of Aussie skipper Michael Clarke and Bangladeshi dasher Tamim Iqbal was a master move. With the added names such as Callum Ferguson, Jesse Ryder, Marlon Samuels, Robin Uthappa, and Manish Pandey the batting looks decent. I’m very much interested to see how Ganguly goes on considering that it has been quite some time since he has retired. The local players other than Mohnish Mishra do not inspire much and I do hope that we’d be surprised by them.

The PWI team has plenty of all-rounders and Angelo Mathews is the biggest name there. Jesse Ryder, Steven Smith, Mithun Manhas and Luke Wright are the others. I’m not sure if Smith would get a game but the rest are sure to be in contention for the playing XI. Pune last year were mediocre in the field and this year would be looking to improve on that.

The bowling has a number of Indian names. Murali Karthik and Rahul Sharma head the spin department while Ashok Dinda, Ashish Nehra and Kamran Khan (the man who caught everyone’s attention in the second season of the IPL for RR) feature in the pace battery. Wayne Parnell and Alfonso Thomas are the big overseas names and Pune would be relying on these two players heavily. The spin department looks very strong and when your back-ups are Nathan McCullum and Ali Murtaza why wouldn’t it be?

Pune might not be strongest team out there, and might not have a big history of wins. What they do have is an able and inspirational captain and a team full of willing players and hopefully that will help them in their journey. Pune is a loose cannon and I really can’t say what they are capable of. Let’s just hope that they fire and go better than last season.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

IPL 2012 Preview - Mumbai Indians

The Mumbai Indians outfit is one of the strongest outfits in the Indian Premier League. The Mumbai team has spared no expenses and have gone out of their way to get their hands on some very good players bolstering their already incredible line-up. Mumbai Indians in the recent past have been very consistent and think that this might very well be their year.

The Mumbai batting has all the big names one would expect in a limited overs fixture and this is what makes this team so deadly. Sachin Tendulkar, Aiden Blizzard, Herschelle Gibbs, Davy Jacobs, Dinesh Karthik, Richard Levi, Rohit Sharma, Ambati Rayudu, and Kieron Pollard. An absolute group of batting dynamites, Mumbai Indians are the strongest batting unit in the tournament. Maybe only CSK can compete with them there. Of the names four of them are Indians and that just adds more balance to the team. The transfer of Dinesh Karthik from Punjab was a brilliant move and now allows the team to play an extra foreigner.

 In the all-rounders department the team has Pollard, Franklin, and Thisara Perera. All big hitters who can clear the fence at will and at the same time send a couple of overs in and are expected to even get a breakthrough. The fielding of Mumbai Indians is perhaps the best in the tournament and their coach Jonty Rhodes certainly does his job with the boys.

 If the batting was out-standing, the bowling is just as great if not a step better. With a line up of some well known Indian stars in RP Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, and Pragyan Ojha, Dhawal Kulkarni the places for the final XI will be well contested. I am really interested to see how Harbhajan Singh goes about and I’m hoping to see a good show from him so that he can put himself back on the selectors’ radar. In the overseas name, Lasith Malinga is the biggest one. He won the purple cap last season and his four overs will be crucial. There’s the new addition of Mitchell Johnson, and it will be interesting to watch how he goes if he does get a game.

The Mumbai Indians team is one powerhouse and I will be disappointed if this team does not make it to the last four. They are a serious contender for the title. Sachin’s captaincy might not be very impressive but with a team like MI, you don’t need to be a great skipper to win matches.

Sachin Tendulkar ruled out of the IPL with an injury!

In what must come as a telling blow to the Mumbai Indians franchisee and their fans, Sachin Tendulkar has been ruled out of this edition of the Indian Premier League starting on Wednesday.  Sachin Tendulkar who is the captain of the Mumbai Indians team will now travel to London for treatment.  The MI camp is yet to announce the name of their new captain.

Sachin Tendulkar earlier has skipped Rahul Dravid's felicitation function held by the BCCI that was attended by all prominent Indian cricketers as he had gone to consult a specialist in London regarding a toe injury.  Sachin was given the clean chit to play in the IPL, but an injury in today's morning practice session at the Wankhede Stadium has ruled him out.  He was hit on the same toe by a Malinga yorker.  The news is that the injury is not that serious but nevertheless requires treatment and Sachin will be out of action for 6 weeks.

Harbhajan Singh is the likely candidate to replace Sachin Tendulkar as the captain being the most experienced Indian player in the MI lineup.  Nita Ambani when approached by the news channels failed to give a comment saying only that they are hopeful.  Sachin Tendulkar's absence will certainly hurt Mumbai's chances, but Harbhajan Singh is not worried.  He said, "Such things happen in cricket.  Let's hope he recovers soon.  Mumbai Indians will play good cricket with or without Sachin."

Under the leadership of Sachin Tendulkar, Mumbai Indians won the Champions League last season and this time were firm favorites by the punters.  I was hoping to watch Sachin Tendulkar play in the IPL alongside the Dravids and the Gangulys.  The man with the most centuries in International cricket is unfortunately sitting in the sidelines as the biggest cricket tournament gets underway soon.  Will this affect Mumbai's chances?  Only time will tell.  In other news today is April first and hope this post got you.  Happy April fool's day!

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