Friday, January 29, 2021

Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy 2021 - Jharkhand Review

The 2020-21 season got off to a belated start with the Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy. This season’s format ensured that you had to win every game in the league stage or hope for a bunch of other results going in your favour. 

Jharkhand, lead by Ishan Kishan, had a bad start losing their first two games, effectively getting knocked out. The team regrouped and won the next two comfortably before finishing off with a Super Over win against Hyderabad. Incidentally this was the first ever Super Over at Eden Gardens! 

Here is the tournament summary. 

Game 1: Tamil Nadu 189/5 (20) beat Jharkhand 123/7 (20) by 66 runs 

Game 2: Bengal 161/6 (20) beat Jharkhand 145/9 (20) by 16 runs 
Highlights: Monu Kumar 3/20, Virat Singh 47 (38), Utkarsh Singh 1/19 & 28 (14) 
T20 Debut: Kumar Suraj 

Game 3: Jharkhand 233/3 (20) beat Assam 182/7 (20) by 51 runs 
Highlights: Virat Singh 103* (50), Saurabh Tiwary 57 (33),Kumar Deobrat 31* (12), Monu Kumar 3/23 

Game 4: Jharkhand 182/4 (20) beat Odisha 128/10 (17.5) by 54 runs 
Highlights: Ishan Kishan 60 (36), Virat Singh 67 (37), Bal Krishna 4/21 
T20 Debut: Bal Krishna, Vikash Vishal 

Game 5: Hyderabad 139/8 (20) lost to Jharkhand 139/9 (20) in Super Over (14/1 to 23/0) 
Highlights: Vivekanand Tiwari 3/25, Vikash Singh 3/36 

Season Stats 
Highest Scorers 
  1. Virat Singh 250 @ 62.50 
  2. Ishan Kishan 142 @ 28.40 
  3. Saurabh Tiwary 92 @ 23.00 
Highest Wicket-takers 
  1. Monu Kumar 8 @ 14.13 
  2. Bal Krishna 5 @ 9.60 
  3. Rahul Shukla 4 @ 26.50 
Best Batting: Virat Singh 103* (50) vs Assam 
Best Bowling: Monu Kumar 3/20 vs Bengal 
Players Used: 18 
T20 Debut: 3 

It was a good chance for the players to showcase their T20 skills with the IPL auction coming up. Monu Kumar, recently released by CSK came good as did debutante Bal Krishna. 

And now we go into another period of uncertainty about the next fixture.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Arbit Stats #72: On Substitutes

Over Days 3 & 4 of Test Match #2402 at Sydney, Wridhhiman Saha picked up 4 catches in Australia’s 2 innings – thus equaling the record for most catches taken as a substitute in a Test innings set by Younis Khan. 

A subsequent query put on twitter regarding the absence of substitute catches in “official” records got an enlightening conversation going. And what came out was a virtual treasure trove of factoids on substitute fielders. 
  • John Bracewell holds the record for 4 catches as a substitute in ODIs 
  • Geoff Howarth appeared as a sub for England against Australia at the Oval in 1972 before making his international debut for New Zealand 
  • Carl Cachopa, SW Eathorne, MA Hastings, NKW Horsley, MN McKenzie, SM Mills, TD Ritchie have taken a catch as a sub but were never part of the playing XI for New Zealand. 
  • A few subs have managed a stumping in first-class cricket – BE Congdon has a stumping as a sub and been stumped by a sub! 
  • England once used 4 players as wicket-keeper in a Test in 1986 – Bruce French (official), Bob Taylor & Bobby Parks as outside subs and Bill Athey from playing XI 
  • Most catches as sub for New Zealand – Greatbatch (5), Bracewell, Jeff Crowe, Jarvis (4 each) 
  • Marvan Atapattu picked 1 catch but was not part of the playing XI in any of the games of the 1996 Sri Lanka World Cup campaign! 
  • And there is Gary Pratt – faous for running-out Ricky Ponting in an Ashes Test. 

Overall, quite a fascinating subject. There will be many such trivia which are off the official books but interesting nonetheless.

All stats courtesy Kaustubh Gudipati (@kaustats) and Francis Payne (@FPayne100) on twitter!

Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Twenty20 Lineup

2020 – the year in which a virus stopped play. But we are a resilient lot and found out ways to keep the beloved game running. It was also the year, in which cricket acknowledged a global, political issue. Although how much impact it made beyond the symbolism is to be seen. Presenting the the Slipstream Cricket XI for the year 2020. 

1. Bio bubbles & breaches 
Coronavirus stopped play but some fabulous work from the administrators, the support staffs and the players saw some games being played. The fans were happy for every single game which could be held. There were some hiccups here and there, but the tremendous work done behind the scenes in setting up these bio-bubbles for play must be really appreciated. We also saw the first instance of players getting suspended due to breach of bio bubble. Having personally experienced a quarantine I can vouch for how difficult it is, so really admire the people who have been moving from one bubble to the next for the last few months to keep us fans entertained. 

2. BLM 
Even cricket was no left untouched by the killing of Georg Floyd. Before the game restarted, there was speech by Michael Holding and Ebony Rainford-Brent on their experience of racism. Those interviews really hit hard and gave the viewers a perspective of what people have had to experience in different parts of the world just because of the colour of their skin. There were symbolic gestures like taking the knee and raising a fist. Even debates were ignited of the issues in South Africa and the need for educating players (especially Asians). The fact that we are talking about it is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope to see real world results beyond the cricket field as well. 

3. 3TC 
South Africa cricket was in its own unique turmoil with the country’s government stepping in and ICC close to banning it. But they managed to add a new variety to the game. 3 Teams of 8 players each playing in the same match! Let’s see what further innovations/complications are in store for the Gentleman’s Game. They also got a silver lining in the form of Brexit which chokes (:P) the Kolpak talent drain. 

4. 86174 
That was the number of people watching the game live at the Women’s T20 Final. It was supposed to be the stepping stone for something big. But unfortunately, that was the last match played in “normal” times. And just like that women’s cricket slipped out of the limelight again (Very unfortunate) 

5. Debutante of the Year 
It wasn’t just about the Final though. Thailand made their first appearance at the world’s biggest stage. They might not have won a single game but their presence lit up the Womens T20 World Cup. BCCI, not usually known for doing the right things for the womens’ game, showed remarkable thinking in inviting Thai star player Natthakan Chantam to play in the Womens T20 Challenge. Chantam put in an extraordinary diving save at the boundary line which certainly made into all highlights packages for the year. 

6. Fake match 
There is a growing concern with the increasing visibility of fantasy (betting) games in cricket. They are now sponsoring leading tournaments and even organizing random ones in far flung corners of the cricketing world. They even have a live feed many times. And there was one such event where a match was conducted near Mohali, with masked players, pretending to be former Sri Lankan stars! Truly a fantasy game in every sense of the word! ICC really needs to keep a close watch on these fantasy sites. 

7. Never give up 
Fawad Alam hit a century on debut, played 2 more Tests and then was dropped. Over a decade later he makes a comeback and a couple of Tests later adds another Test century. Yes, patience pays off! 

8. Retro Live 
With all play suspended what do the live scoring websites do? They run retro live commentary! i.e. do a ball-by-ball commentary of a game from yore as if it is happening in real-time with even reader comments flowing in! That is some innovation. 

9. Doing a Tewatia 
Every IPL brings some unheralded names to the forefront. This year it was Rahul Tewatia. It was not just his performances but how he rebuilt an innings. From being unable to get bat on ball, suddenly turning the match on its head by smashing 5 sixes in an over off an international bowler. And a few days later, he pulled off another such heist, or as it is called now – he did a Tewatia 

10. The Nomad 
Aaron Finch is the Australian limited overs captain. Yet he hasn’t really hit it off in the IPL. But a solid reputation keeps him in good stead. So, he has now played for 8 different IPL teams! 

11. To sum up the year 2020
The Zimbabwe batsman makes his Test debut. Gets hit on the head fielding at short leg and is substituted out. Recovers from concussion. Plays the next Test. Again gets hit on the head fielding at short leg. Again the batsman is Kusal Mendis. And again he gets substituted. Somehow, sums up the year 2020. 

12. The 12th Man 
Yuzvendra Chahal becomes the first substitute to end up getting Man of the Match! 

So that was it for 2020, a truly bizarre year in all respects. Now lets see how 2021 picks up the pieces of the cricketing schedules that have been thrown haywire. 

Wishing all readers a Very Happy New Year!