Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Rajasthan

Match Summary: Jharkhand (209 & 277) beat Rajasthan (207 & 237) by 42 runs 
Points: Jharkhand 6, Rajasthan 0

Second outright win of the season propelled Jharkhand to the top of Group B and in pole position for one of the knock-out berths.

Jharkhand won the toss and were all out for 209 with Kaushal Singh adding a fifty his century in the first game. Other batsmen got starts but no one capitalized on it with Pankaj Singh taking 5 wicket. Rajasthan had a great start with the openers putting on a 100 partnership but then Shahbaz Nadeem had other ideas as he ran through the Rajasthan line up and Jharkhand got a slender 2 run lead. In the second innings Jharkhand were in trouble with 7 wickets down for 163 before Ishank Jaggi and Nadeem put up a 99 run stand for the 8th wicket. Jaggi went on to get a round 100 as Jharkhand were all out for 277. Nadeem was once again amongst the wickets as Rajasthan lost 8 wickets for 137 in the chase. However, then came an irritating 87 run 9th wicket stand. But Jharkhand were finally able to break through and register a well deserved win.

In the end it was a fighting win as the team kept fighting hard and did not give up.

  • Team Changes: In - Ajay Yadav, Sunny Gupta, Pratyush Singh. Out - Varun Aaron, Shiv Gautam, Samar Quadri. 
  • Saurabh Tiwary lead the side in place of Aaron.
  • Pratyush Singh made his first class debut. Decent outing having got starts in both innings but couldn't capitalize on it.
  • 12th First Class century for Ishank Jaggi.
  • 2nd 10-wicket match haul for Nadeem which included his 10th & 11th 5-wicket hauls. Nadeem picked up the Man of the Match award.
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Kaushal Singh 193 @48.25
Most Wickets: Shahbaz Nadeem 18 @27.06
Player Count: 14

Points Tally - 13 after 3 games. Right at the top of the table. Meanwhile Rajasthan drop down to 4th place.

Coming Up Next - Vidarbha, who are currently at 7th place in the Group but have played one game less.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Arbit Stats #58: Big Gaps

Test Match #2225: Bangladesh vs England
It could turn out to an extra-ordinary one or it could be just another Test but for one player, this game is special.

Gareth Batty returns to the England Test side after having missed 142 Test matches in between over a period of 11 years. And in the process breaking compatriot Martin Bicknell's 124 game missing streak by a whopping 28 Tests. (Full list)

Lets hope he gets a better run this time around.

P.S. Wondering how would the likes of Kepler Wessels (who played for Australia and South Africa be accommodated in such lists)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Karnataka

Match Summary: Karnataka (577/6d & 162/3) drew with Jharkhand (374)
Points: Karnataka 3, Jharkhand 1

The kind of game where one team decided that it doesn't want to win. Otherwise there is no obvious reason for Karnataka not enforcing the follow-on on the last morning and giving themselves a shot at earning 3/4 additional points.

Karnataka batted first and rode Samarth's double hundred to overcome an initial wobble and pile on a big score. Jharkhand were in trouble but managed to extend their first innings just enough to ensure that Karnataka did not enforce the follow-on. Ishan Kishan played a blistering innings to spare Jharkhand the blushes and secure one point from the game.

  • Team Changes: In - Samar Quadri. Out - Ajay Yadav.
  • 2nd first class century & career best score for Ishan Kishan. Comparisons with another Jharkhand keeper will become a norm if such performances continue. 
Season Stats
Top Scorer: Ishan Kishan 163 @81.50
Most Wickets: Ashish Kumar 9 @19.78 

Points Tally - 7 after 2 games. Currently lying in 4th place in the group, well in hunt for a knock-out berth.

Coming Up Next - Rajasthan, who are currently at the top in the Group.

Swapnil Gugale & Ankit Bawne put on an unbeaten 594 stand before Gugale declared, leaving themselves just 30 short of the highest partnership record in first class cricket. Apparently they were not aware of the record! Although not similar but reminds of the BB Nimbhalkar's first class epic where he missed out on the highest  first-class score at the time because the opposing Kathiawar team refused to take the field anymore!!!

Coming back to the game, even this huge score almost did not prove enough because young Risabh Pant hammered a triple hundred at near run-a-ball but Delhi just fell short.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Ranji Trophy 16-17: Jharkhand vs Maharashtra

Match Summary: Maharashtra (210 & 188) lost to Jharkhand (306 & 93/4) by 6 wickets
Points: Maharashtra 0, Jharkhand 6

A good start to the new season for team Jharkhand. Probably the exposure in the pre-season Buchi Babu tournament helped the team a lot. Maybe its time for Jharkhand to start their own pres-season invitational tournament.

Maharashtra batted first but didn't score much as they found the pace of Varun Aaron too much to handle. Kedar Jadhav and Ankit Bawne got 50s and stitched a century stand but there was not much else to follow. In response, Jharkhand were in trouble with half the side back in pavilion with only 106 on board. But the tail had other ideas as they built small partnerships to stretch the score past 300 and take a healthy 96 run lead. The bowlers once again combined to restrict Maharashtra to 188 with Kedar Jadhav again scoring a fifty. Jharkhand had a wobbly start in their chase of 93 as both openers got out for ducks, before Virat Singh anchored the chase to set up a 6 wicket victory.

  • 19 year old Kaushal Singh's maiden first class century.
  • Saurabh Tiwary reaching the 5000 run mark in first class cricket.
  • 250 first-class wickets for Shahbaz Nadeem.

Season Stats
Top Scorer: Kaushal Singh 130 @130
Most Wickets: Ashish Kumar 6 @12.67 

Points Tally - 6 after 1 game. Currently lying in 2nd place in the group.

Coming Up Next - Domestic powerhouse Karnataka, who did not play in the first round of the season.

P.S - Congratulations to Chhattisgarh on winning their maiden Ranji game. Hopefully this performance will open up the path for teams like Bihar to enter the Ranji fold.

P.P.S. - This is the 400th post on this blog.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

India: 500 Not Out

India play their 500th Test match at Kanpur against the Kiwis. Could have been just another game but cricket (and its fans) love statistics. So becomes one of the most significant games in India's Test history. To celebrate this milestone, its time to pick up an XI of India's most memorable moments in the Test arena.

Disclaimer - The memories are the ones which happened on my watch. So all are post 1989 or as we cricket tragics mark the event, after Sachin Tendulkar's debut.

1. That Partnership at Eden Gardens, 2001
The greatest turnaround in the history of the game at one of its greatest centers against an all-conquering Australian side who were treating the series as the "Final Frontier". They were well on their way to achieve their goal till they were stopped in their tracks by VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid. The 4th day's play was not just match or series turning, it permanently instilled a belief in all Indian fans that miracles do happen.

2. The Chase in Chennai, 2008
By itself it would be remembered as one of our greatest victories. India chased down 387 with Sachin Tendulkar hitting the winning runs after Sehwag had given a turbo-powered start to the chase. But then it wasn't just any other game, being played in the aftermath of the horrific Mumbai attacks. Sometimes sport can provide just that bit of healing touch to a whole nation.

Rahul Dravid hitting the winning runs on the 5th day. An image firmly etched in the memories of the Indian fan. Australia had scored big, but they ran into a pair of familiar foes. The Dravid-VVS combo ensured that both teams are on equal footing after the first innings. And then the much maligned Ajit Agarkar produced his best spell of Test match bowling to knock out the Australians. And he was there at the other end with Dravid to see it through to the end.

On a green pitch, India chose to bat first and the English team had the absolute privilege of being the only team to witness centuries from Dravid, Tendulkar and Ganguly in the same innings. And they followed it by slumping to an innings defeat against the spin duo of Kumble & Harbhajan on a green top.

5. The Monkeygate Test, Sydney, 2008
A match India lost on the field but where on-field incidents spilled over threatening diplomatic relations. Players were called over for investigations by international judges into racial abuse. There were umpiring controversies galore and accusations of cheating. Questions were raised on the very spirit of the game. The Australians seemed rattled as Anil Kumble declared that "there was only one team playing in the spirit of the game", reminding them of Bodyline time. It was ugly. And after all that the Indians bounced back to win the next one at Perth. Karma. Probably.

6. Sreesanth's six off Andre Nel, Johannesberg, 2006
S. Sreesanth, one of the biggest enigmas of Indian cricket. A freakish talent which went to waste. Amongst his achievements, the one stand-out would be to shut up Andre Nel. And he did it in his own maverick style. Hits a six, runs off to the other end and then starts... dancing!!! Leaving Nel bemused and everyone else rolling in laughter. And he also picked up 8 wickets in the game to win India's first ever Test victory in South Africa.

7. Declared at 194, Multan, 2004
The match had it all. India's first Test victory in Pakistan. Sehwag establishing his legendary status by hitting India's first ever Test triple. And Dravid declaring with Sachin batting at 194. Something which the stat-hungry Indian fan could not get his head around. But all's well that ends well.

8. Kapil Dev's Blitzkrieg off Eddie Hemmings, Lords, 1990
You need 24 runs to avoid the follow-on. And you have a genuine number 11 for company at the other end. So what do you do? If you are Kapil Dev, you take matters into your own hand and just hammer 4 consecutive sixes. And Hirwani at the other end promptly got out the very next ball. Couldn't prevent a defeat but it was heroic. Personally, me missed out following most of Kapil Dev's glorious career and only remember the dragged out ending in pursuit of Hadlee's Test record.

9. Kumble's Perfect 10, Kotla, 1999
On a pitch which had been dug up a few weeks before, Anil Kumble produced one of those freakish spells of bowling, taking out all 10 Pakistani wickets in the 2nd innings and squaring up the series. And wiping off some of the bad memories of the previous game at Chennai.

10. The Chennai heart-break, 1999
One of the heart-breaking results for an Indian fan. Sachin Tendulkar nearly pulled off a 4th innings chase all by himself. But the tail could not finish up the job. India were left 12 short off what would have been a sensational victory against arch-rivals Pakistan.

11. Bludgeoned in Bridgetown, 1997
For an Indian fan, the 90s were really tough to watch, especially when India was playing abroad. We just couldn't get an overseas test victory (not even in Zimbabwe). So when India got a target of 120 against West Indies, it seemed the elusive overseas victory would be finally achieved. But the pace trio of Ambrose, Bishop and Rose had other plans as India were blown away for 81. That overseas victory would have to wait a few more years.

And the 12th Man. The Test that wasn't, Centurion, 2001
Two full-strength national sides taking on each other in a five day clash played under Test match conditions but not being called a Test match. The aftermath of the Mike Denness affair had led to India lodging a protest. ICC did not withdraw the referee. So India and South Africa got a different referee. ICC removed Test status from the game (but it was still a first class game). This could have been Dravid's captaincy debut. And for poor Connor Willaims, this was his only match for India and could have been his debut. He never payed another international. And the Kanpur Test would have been India's 501st.

And the ones which did not make to the list - Irfan Pathan's first over hat-trick against Pakistan, Sehwag's 293 against Sri Lanka, Zaheer Khan's jellybean incident, Kumble bowling with a broken jaw, Dravid's Sabina Park exploits, Harbhajan's 2001 series. And many, many more.

Hopefully many more will come in over the coming years.

The Eden Gardens winning moment

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jharkhand Domestic Schedule: 2016-17 Season

After some judicial delays, the domestic cricket season has been announced. And as has been the case every year, some more tinkering has been done with the different tournaments. Cricket has been constantly evolving. India's domestic cricket even more so. So this year we have
  • a new domestic team in Chhattisgarh
  • Duleep Trophy is now a 3-team affair being played under lights with a pink ball. (A First-Class Challenger Trophy)
  • Mustaq Ali Trophy will now be an inter-zonal tournament instead of being an inter-state one (A T20 Deodhar Trophy)
  • All Ranji matches will be played at neutral venues.
Like the past few seasons, Slisptream Cricket will continue putting out regular posts about Jharkhand's progress in these tournaments. Last year the team had a fairly good run reaching the quarter-finals in all three formats. Lets wait and watch their progress this season.

Jharkhand's fixtures for 2016-17

Ranji Trophy - Jharkhand has been promoted into Group B, which will be sending 3 teams into the knock-outs.
  1. October 6-9, 2016, vs Maharashtra (Delhi)
  2. October 13-16, 2016, vs Karnataka (Chennai)
  3. October 20-23, 2016, vs Rajasthan (Vadodara)
  4. October 27-30, 2016 vs Vidarbha (Wayanad, Kerala)
  5. November 5-8, 2016, vs Delhi (Thumba, Kerala)
  6. November 13-16, 2016, vs Saurashtra (Agartala)
  7. November 29-December 2, 2016, vs Assam (Vizianagaram)
  8. December 7-10, 2016, vs Odisha (Chennai)
The knock-outs will be held in second half of Decemeber with the final being played in January.

Vijay Hazare Trophy - Jharkhand are placed in Group D, with all games being played in Kolkata
  1. February 25, 2017, vs Karnataka
  2. February 26, 2017, vs Chhattisgarh
  3. February 27, 2017, vs Services
  4. March 1, 2017, vs Saurashtra
  5. March 3, 2017, vs Hyderabad
  6. March 6, 2017, vs Jammu & Kashmir
2 teams will progress into the quarter-finals from each group. The final is slated for 18th March, 2017.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Gulabi Gend

Sometime last week. 

The Olympics were over and won’t be back for the next 4 years. After 17 days of non-stop multi-sport action, a giant void has been left in prime time television. In an attempt to fill up this void, started surfing through the sports channels and ended up on some live cricket telecast. And it wasn’t just any game. History was being created. The first ever first-class game being played in India with a pink ball. Between India Green and India Red (or maybe it was India Blue).

The pink ball is still very much a novelty. Enough to keep me hooked for a while. It was looking pretty under the lights. And our Jharkhand Bradman, Saurabh Tiwary was on crease. Only after watching the action for some time did I notice the commentary. 2 commentators giving a ball by ball report of the on-field action. One speaking in Hindi and the other in English.  

And then I heard. Gulabi Gend!

Ahh! The pearls of Hindi commentary. Where the commentator translates every word literally (e.g. Chhotti Gend, Lamba shot etc.) Wonder why though? After all sport has its own language and need not be dumbed down by this literal translation. Also reminded me of the movie Lagaan, which had the best Hindi commentator ever. (Maybe with the exception of the Sehwag-Shoaib Akhtar combo).

Anyways back to the "gulabi gend" game. It was an interesting game with the fortunes swinging around heavily from ball to bat. There was quite a decent crowd enjoying the game as well. While I am not too sure about the players reactions, the pink ball was easily spotted on the TV especially in the background of the green pitches. Run making was fast. Bowlers also held an advantage at times. Although quite a few catches were dropped. Maybe visibility issues? The audience might be ready for pink ball cricket but this project is still in pilot stage. Further testing in different conditions is needed before launching it on to the interantional stage in India. 

However, while the pink ball was a novelty, this alternating commentary needs to be stopped. It is jarring to hear and well makes you want to switch off the TV. BCCI, क्या आप सुन रहे हो ?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Arbit Stats #57: Blockathon

Test Match #2209: Sri Lanka vs Australia

Probably one of the best Test matches in a while. If it had been an Ashes game, paeans would have been written about it. But it was a Test match in Sri Lanka (like another one in Galle almost a year back).

Unlike most matches, there was a third player involved, the rain Gods. They had their own way of making their presence felt at different points in the game. Australia were on top, Sri Lanka fought to keep the lead down. Then came the Kusal Mendis special, rains appeared on and off,  but Australia sank deeper and deeper. Then came the block with an eye on the rains. The block went on and on, the skies grew darker, but the rains stayed away. After 178 balls of stoic resistance, the wicket was prised out. And Sri lanka romped home to a famous win, only their second ever against Australia.

But what a resistance it was. Steve O'Keefe and Peter Nevill just blocked their way in a partnership of 178 balls with just one scoring shot making new records for the biggest runless period of play - over 23 overs without scoring a run. For a perspective that is longer  than an entire T20 innings!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Arbit Stats #56: Virat Kohli

Test Match #2207: West Indies vs India, Antigua

This is India's 248th Test abroad. And Virat Kohli becomes the 1st Indian captain to score a double century away. Previous record being held by Mohammaed Azharuddin's 192 in New Zealand. (Full List)

Interestingly this is also his highest score in any format of senior cricket.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Arbit Stats #55: Misbah

Test Match #2206: England vs Pakistan, Lords

At the ripe young age of 42 Years & 47 Days, Misbah-ul-Haq became the oldest captain to score a Test Match century. And then proceeded to celebrate the mark by doing 10 Push-ups. 

May you play forever. After all you bring a sense of sanity in the madness that is Pakistan cricket.

Source: Getty Images