Friday, April 30, 2010

T20 World Cup - Preview

The hyped up dust from the IPL has not settled yet. And we have another T20 tournament on our hands. The 3rd T20 World Cup in a span of less than 3 years is here. This time it is being held in the faroff West Indies. Hopefully the tournament would be much better than the ODI World Cup of 2007.
The T20 format is highly unpredictable, and this is especially true in the international context. T20 internationals are not a regular feature. So form etc are difficult to predict and the shorter the format, it becomes a more level playing field. The last two editions threw up quite a few surprises. Bangladesh (2007) & Ireland (2009) qualifying for the Super 8s; Zimbabwe beating Australia (2007); Netherlands beating England (2009); Australia getting knocked out in the first round (2009). Hopefully we'll get to see a few surprises. After all everyone loves an underdog (unless the underdog is beating up India).
Tournament Favourites
In my opinion, NONE. T20 is too unpredictable to even hazard a guess at this stage.
Teams to Watch
Afghanistan - They are living a fairytale. Their story goes beyond cricket. They are playing in the T20 World Cup despite having Affiliate status only. And they are probably every neutral fan's favorite team. India open the campaign against them (a real banana-skin encounter).
Zimbabwe - Not much should be read in the results of the warm-up games. But Zimbabwe have beaten Australia & Pakistan in the last few days. They also won a T20 against West Indies rcently. So the team should be high on confidence. Elton Chigumbura is the player to watch out.
India's Chances
Hopefully should clear group stage. And the result will be known pretty early. They take on Afghanistan on Saturday & South Africa on Sunday. Ideally should win both. After that it becomes more and more unpredictable.
There wont be many big scores. And pitches will be slow. Spinnersto dominate proceedings. Shouldnt expect too many big sixes.
Things to look Forward to
Hopefully the commentary would be saner after the madness called the IPL. No DLF Maximums, Karbonn Kamaal Catches, Cit Moments of Success or the MRF Blimp. Would be nice if the focus stays on the cricketing action.
Now back to cricket filled evenings.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The IPL Moments

The third edition of the Indian Premier League is over. This time around it will be remembered more for the off-field controversies than any on-field event. The off-field issues have left a bitter taste in the mouth and any cricket lover would be hurt by it. It has already lead to the resignation of one union minister and the removal of the IPL commissioner. There have been tax raids all over the country & worst of all there have been allegations of match-fixing as well. Parliament has been disrupted on this issue (not that it takes much for it to be disrupted). The IPL seems to have become an unholy nexus of politicians, business houses, filmstars with the main element of cricket taking a farther back seat. And we are no closer to getting any truth on the matter. Hopefully truth will be out and soon.
But this post is about the cricket. And here are some of the memories which will be associated with this year's IPL.
  • The Final & the 3rd place match - Simply because I was there to watch it.
  • Yousuf Pathan's blistering 37 ball century against MI.
  • Yuvraj Singh's reverse swept boundary to win the super over against CSK.
  • Dhoni hitting consecutive sixes to take CSK through to the semi-finals.
  • David Hussey's catch to dismiss Paul Collingwood.
  • Murali Vijay's century.
  • Praveen Kumar's hat-trick.
  • Hayden's Mongoose bat.
Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Suresh Raina, Saurabh Tiwary, Robin Uthappa, MS Dhoni, Pragyan Ojha, Doug Bollinger, Dale Steyn, Anil Kumble.

So this is the last post on IPL (hopefully). Now over to the T20 World Cup from tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vaastu behind Chennai's victory

If this article is to be believed, MS Dhoni's captaincy played no role in Chennai Super Kings victory in the Indian Premier League. It was all down to one Vastu Shastra expert. He decided the playing XI, the batting order , the bowling order. If these are true, then WOW. BCCI should immediately hire him as a permanent consultant to the Indian teams. And then we will become undisputed number 1 in all 3 formats of the game.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Was There

April 25, 2010: IPL Final, Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings, DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai.
I WAS THERE. I saw CSK become the winners of the Indian Premier League. Ye hai Chennai, Chennai Super King.
The stadium was jam packed. The atmosphere party like. The crowd (including yours truly) rooting firmly for the Mumbai Indians. But it was Dhoni's day as Raina led CSK to victory.
Watching a game in the stadium is a different experience all together. You move with the crowd. You sing along with them. You dance along with them. You share high fives with the unknown people near you. You participate in Mexican Waves. You can whistle all you like without anyone minding. And you dont feel like an idiot while wearing the inflatable zoozoo cap with a team flag draped around your shoulders. And the best part, you dont have to suffer the silly ads, or the sponsored commentary. You can forget about the DLF Maximum or Karbonn Kamaal Catches. You may miss the action in some bits but then you can always catch the replay afterwards on the big screen. Amongst other things I managed to see the marvel of technology that is the MRF Blimp.
And I really loved the Fly camera. Now its a wish to operate it one time at least.
The match itself was good. Outstanding moment of the day. Raina catching Tiwary off Jakati.
I had also been to the 3rd place match. RCB won. The match was boring, Stadium was only half full. But the atmosphere made up for it quite a bit. 
It was a real pleasure though to see some all time greats, some current stars and a few potential big names in the making in action. So now the players whom I saw in action over the 2 matches
CSK: Dhoni, Hayden, Murali, Raina, Bollinger,Vijay, Badrinath, Albie, Ashwin, Jakati, Aniruddha
MI: Sachin, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Malinga, Pollard, Duminy, Ferando, Tiwary, Rayudu, Nayar, Dhawan
RCB: Kumble, Dravid, Kallis, Pietersen, Steyn, Uthappa, White, Kohli, Praveen, Akhil, Doshi
DC: Gilchrist, Symonds, Rohit, Harris, Ojha, Rahul Sharma, Harmeet, Dwayne Smith, Mohnish Mishra, Anirudh Singh.
There were non-cricket performers as well. AR Rehman, Bipasha Basu & Shahid Kapoor.

Overall the experience was simply AWESOME.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mid IPL Review - 6

First let me allow myself a moment to gloat. Yes, my predictions for the semi-finals came true.It is going to be a Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings final. And I have got the tickets as well. So I'll be in stadium for this one. Here are the highlights of the semi-finals
  • Kieron Pollard can hit BIG. And he can change the game in a matter of a couple of overs. Add to that some controlled bowling and athletic fielding. He is proving a real good investment.
  • Saurabh Tiwary has been the best upcoming Indian player wothout doubt. Has been delivering consisitently throughout the season. And so also has Ambati Rayudu.
  • Sachin Tendulkar claiming catch & getting injured. Rahul Dravid not walking. 3rd umpire giving benefit of doubt to batsman. Where did all the gentleman's game talk go?
  • Virat Kohli standing like an idiot and not walking though the catch was taken at knee height.
  • Mukesh Ambani's fist pumping
  • Harbhajan Singh's antics after the game
  • Deccan's pathetic catching
  • Badrinath's bat smashing
  • Gilchrist & Hayden are old now. Really not performing at all
  • IT raids all over the country. Heads will roll.
Saturday's game is pretty important. Last Champions League spot is at stake after all.
Here are the BIG predictions
RCB to win the 3rd place
MI to win the IPL

And I hope to be watching both these games live in the ground.

P.S. There was some international cricket going on as well last week. West Indies played a couple of ODIs against Canada & ireland without any of their star players, all of whom are in the IPL. And they won quite comfortably as well

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mid IPL Review - 5

So finally the league stage of the IPL got over. And it left a bit of a hollow feeling. I didnt know what to watch on TV yesternight. So here are the highlights off the week.

  • Dhoni's sixes to win the game vs Kings XI and take Chennai to the semi-finals.

  • Dharmasala has a beautiful stadium and the moths there ar very big too.

  • Blasts in Bangalore. Now semi-finals shifted to Navi Mumbai (officially Deccan's home ground, in reality Mumbai's)

  • But the major tamasha was off the field. One union minister resigned; One "sweat equity" holder giving up the stake; IT raids everywhere; Lalit Modi may have to go also; Hungama in parliament; Accusations of match fixing. Off the field drama seems to have become more rivetting, at least for the media.
Semi-finals lineup
RCB vs MI; CSK vs DC.
My predictions for the final: MI vs CSK

Fantasy League Status
Points: 10265; Rank: 3319; End of League Stage

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dhoni & the Red Light

April 13, 2010, Chennai
Post match Presentation
Harsha Bhogle: “I know you come from Ranchi but I would never believe that you come from anywhere other than Chennai today.”
MS Dhoni: "Ya, People in Chennai just love me. In the first edition when I used to go out biking at night whenever I used to stop in Red Light Areas, They always used to come up to me and speak in Tamil."

According to me the quote of the IPL so far :D

Video is here

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mid IPL Review - 4

Week 4 is over, and we are approaching the business end of the tournament. The points table is as messed up as it could possibly be. MI are now just about 2 points clear at the top while Kings XI are 4 points clear at the bottom. 3 teams at 12 & 3 at 10 each are now locked in a battle for the semi-final spots. Here are the highlights of the week.
  • Old is Gold. The IPL is continually proving this true. With the exception of VVS Laxman, almost everyone is performing superbly.
  • Somehow get the feeling that the World Cup squad was selected too early. Players like Robin Uthappa, Murali Vijay & Murali Kartik are performing better than the ones chosen ahead of them.
  • Indian fast bowling lineup is bare. Apart from Zaheer, there is nobody else performing consistently well.
  • No one can afford to lose to Kings XI now.
  • Kevin Pietersen isn't good for RCB's chances.
Picks for Semis: MI, RCB, RR, DD
Fantasy League Status
Points: 7483, Rank: 6434; After Game 43
A 1500+ drop in rank can be accounted by the inability to change my trump player for 4 successive games due to being away

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Blog Verification Post

This post has nothing to do with cricket. Seems that technorati needs a specific post to verify that I own this blog. So here is to you, folks at Technorati.
The claim code is 2356HAWDJJ2Z
I hereby claim to be the owner of this blog.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Mid IPL Review - 3

Here is the 3rd edition of the IPL reviews.
The tournament is passing at such a fast phase that a certain amount of fatigue has set in. I am not really following the league itself. But its the only thing worth watching on TV these days. Anyway here are the highlights of the 3rd week of IPL.
  • Just past the halfway stage in the league, MI have moved clear of everyone at the top of the points table. Similarly, Kings XI have settled alone at the bottom. And the other 6 are in for a real dogfight for the last 3 semi-final slots.
  • Teams have been bolstered by the inclusion of the Aussies & the Kiwis.
  • Gautam Gambhir reprimanded for calling Rajasthan an ordinary side. I don't understand any logic in this action by Lalit Modi. Though its great to see Gambhir standing by what he said.
  • The MRF Blimp: The camera moves skywards & zooms in on the blimp with MRF written on its side. And the commentator says - Ah MRF; forefront of technology; did you know they are the largest manufacturer of motorbike tyres in the world; Dennis Lilee; Pace foundation in Chennai; random names of fast bowlers; Sachin Tendulkar's bat.... Seriously, don't they feel embarrassed saying such things.
  • Murali Vijay's batting has been a pleasant revelation to say the least.
  • David Warner's century.
  • Dinesh Karthik vs Shaun Tait.
  • Bollinger's spell vs RR.
  • David Hussey's catch to dismiss Collingwood.
  • Sangakkara dropping catch and kicking the ball away against RCB for a boundary.
And now for the semi-final picks: MI, RCB, DD, RR
Fantasy League Status
Points: 6018, Rank: 4842; After Game 33