Monday, May 26, 2014

IPL7: Notes#3

The League part of the Indian Premier League is over. Congratulations to Kings XI Punjab for winning the League. Oh wait.... the IPL is still not over. The top 4 have to now go through a seemingly complicated (albeit more fair) elimination process to decide the champions of IPL7. 

Some thoughts on the India phase of the league (For UAE phase, click here)
  • Chennai Super Kings are the consistency personified. 7th consecutive knock-out phase entry doesn't surprise anyone.
  • Defending champions Mumbai Indians recovered marvelously from pathetic start to just about enter the knock-outs by the skin of the teeth with net run rate calculations being as much in focus as the actual match result. (Detailed post tomorrow or maybe not)
  • Rajasthan Royals have always been a fan favorite team, in spite of the spot-fixing scandal. They have been unorthodox in their selections also but this time over-experimentation caused an early unexpected end to their campaign.
  • T20 cricket has emboldened batsmen. The bigger the target, the likelihood of it getting chased down somehow becomes higher. With batsmen under no pressure, even 15 an over does not seem too big an ask. KKR, Kings XI, Mumbai Indians all produced one astonishing chase after the other.
  • If CSK as a team are consistency personified, Robin Uthappa was the epitome of a consistent batsman. Nine 40+ innings in a row in a format which is designed to be unpredictable will take some beating.
  • Amit Mishra had a horror tournament after a good return to the national side. But it was as a batsman that he provided the "highlight" of the tournament with this extreme run-out against Rajasthan Royals. (Video)This one was straight from the Inzamam school of run-outs. [Aside - 23 run-out collection here]
  • Apurva Wankhade was fielding in a stadium carrying his name. Would like to know how many similar stadium-player combinations are there.
  • When the batsmen are in a rampaging mood, even the likes of Dale Steyn become lambs to slaughter. Steyn getting hammered twice (by AB de Villiers & Yusuf Pathan) wasn't a pleasant sight to behold. But what was pleasing was the way a smiling Steyn applauded his opponents. The kind of moments which make sports special.
  • Indian seamers stated well, but by the end of the league stage Bhuvaneshwar Kumar was the last man standing. Mohit Sharma was the other one to have enhanced his reputation.
  • As always, the future of Indian batting seems in good hands with Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Manan Vohra all playing key parts.
Till next time

Friday, May 2, 2014

IPL7: Notes #2

The UAE leg of the IPL is over. Every team has now played 5 games each and some paaterns are beginning to emerge. Yet its still a long way to go and as it is said in sports - "It ain't over till its over". Here are a few random thoughts & memories form the games so far.

  • Catches Win Matches - The old adage still holds true. If you need proof, just check Chris Lynn's effort which changed the course of the KKR-RCB game. Also a high number of catches have been dropped which have enabled some batsmen to simply blaze away.
  • Steve Smith's cool-headedness in calmly tapping away Sunil Narine for two, instead of going for glory in the Super Over [Aside - if you have a system of counting 6s & 4s, why have the Super Over business at all?]
  • Indian fast bowling is suddenly looking in good health with the likes of Zaheer, Bhuvneshwar and Aaron leading the charge. Then we have Sandeep Sharma, Vinay Kumar & Balaji also putting in good performances. Either the pitches have all seamed around or the bowling has been exceptionally good.
  • India's batsmen somehow have not fired with the exception of Rahane and Manish Pandey.
  • The Mumbai Indians advisory board has a better chance of success than their playing XI. Just why have they managed to let so many of their existing players go off to other franchisees is confusing to say the least. The likes of Maxwell, Dwayne Smith, Chahal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Suryakumar Yadav are some of the names who should have been in the Mumbai team
  • Chennai Super Kings seem to have shrugged off their off-field distractions and are back into their sail-into-the-knockouts-form
  • The RCB squad looked a batting powerhouse but is looking more like a powermouse (to quote the interim BCCI head Sunil Gavaskar). 70 all out against Rajasthan Royals being a a case in point.
  • Keeping the uncapped players into the auction has actually limited the number of potential backup players.
  • The schedule is a little lopsided. Now some of the franchisees have 5 "home" games while others have 4 remaining. For all practical purposes the UAE leg was neutral to all all concerned. Although the defintion of "home: and "away" is getting quite blurred in some cases..e.g. With Dhoni captaining CSK, who will dare to term KKR as the home team in tonight's encounter in Ranchi?
Till next time...