Friday, June 2, 2023

IPL 2023: The Afterthoughts

After a gap of few seasons returning to this blog with a post on the IPL After-thoughts (A name inspired by the times when IPL After-party was as important a feature of the tournament as the games itself!)

So what will we remember this season for? Lets see
  1. The battle of the eyeballs: the biggest matchup was not between the teams on the field but between Star Sports and JioCinema. One product on two different media with different broadcasters for the first time. Not sure about whose numbers to believe, but in the end the viewer was the winner!
  2. The circle of Life: Gujarat Titans played against Chennai Super Kings in Ahmedabad to kick start the tournament. Almost a couple of months down the line, the same two teams were at the same venue fighting for the title!
  3. Performance of the tournament: Rinku Singh clobbering 5 sixes off the final 5 balls to win KKR a seemingly lost game. And this wasn’t the only heist he pulled off.
  4. The Yellove: Or rather it was just the love for MS Dhoni which turned almost every single away stadium into a sea of yellow! End result, this was one of the more popular CSK tournament wins ever.
  5. Six: That’s the number of IPL titles Ambati Rayudu has, as he walks away into the sunset. A career which could be qualified as a success and as well as leaving you wondering, “what could have been”.
  6. Tales of Redemption: Like phoenix they rose from the ashes – Mohit Sharma, Piyush Chawla, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra. A series of feel-good stories.
  7. The Rise of the Young Uncapped Indian Batters: Rinku Singh, Sai Sudarshan, Tilak Varma, Prabhsimran Singh, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Nehal Wadhera, Dhruv Jurel, Jitesh Sharma – what a wonderful crop of talent. Unlike the previous lot, they are not all top order run-accumulators.
  8. On the flip side, where are the new Indian bowlers?
  9. Impact Player Rule: Gave something more for the team strategists to mull over, but has it diluted the role of some players. Shivam Dube and Rahul Tewatia hardly bowled. Gill, Jaiswal, Rayudu. SKY mostly did not even have to field. From the need for multi-dimensional players, we may swing the other way to single skilled specialists.
  10. Game of Small Margins: If Sandeep Sharma’s last delivery against SRH had been legal, Rajasthan Royals would have been in the play-offs. Instead, it was a no-ball and the subsequent delivery was deposited in the stands.
  11. And finally on the raging debate: running out the non-striker. At least, now it can be safely said, it does require skill. Just ask Harshal Patel. And is probably the only mechanism to keep batters within the line. 
And so it was, an action packed tournament concludes and more “serious” cricket returns.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Women's Premier League

A few numbers from the inaugural Women's Premier League
  • ₹ 4,669 Cr - Bidding amount for 5 franchisees
  • ₹ 951 Cr - Broadcast rights for 5 years
  • ₹ 59.65 Cr - Players’ Auction. 
However, the way it panned out the teams seemed willing to go beyond the ₹ 12 Cr cap placed on each of them. 

Seeing the numbers here, especially in light with global sports (and not just women’s league), seems BCCI have underestimated their own product! Given the level of interest, they could easily have gone for extra teams, more players & larger purses for the franchisees.

The expansion of the league is not too far away!

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Ranji Trophy 2022-23: Jharkhand Review

Jharkhand were placed in the Elite Group C. After a roller-coaster ride in the league stages, the Virat Singh led squad finished second and reached the Quarter-finals. In a repeat of last season’s match-up they again lost to Bengal and ended their campaign.

Once again it was the veterans Saurabh Tiwary and Shahbaz Nadeem who stole the show with Nadeem reaching the milestone of 500 first-class wickets. Anukul Roy had a good outing with both bat and ball, while Kumar Kushagra kept a firm grip on the wicket-keeping gloves in absence of Ishan Kishan who missed most of the season being on national duty.

Here is the game by game summary of the season.

Game 1: Kerala 475 & 187/7d beat Jharkhand 340 & 237 by 85 runs
Points: Jharkhand 0, Kerala 6
  • First Class Debut: Manishi
  • Ishan Kishan - 132 in 1st innings, 6th First class century
  • Shahbaz Nadeem - 5/167 & 5/79, 23rd & 24th 5-wicket and 7th 10-wicket haul
Game 2: Jharkhand 386 & 212/3d drew with Goa 362 & 61/3
Points: Jharkhand 3, Goa 1
  • Virat Singh – 100* in 2nd innings, 8th First class century, completes 2000 First-class runs in 38th match
  • Utkarsh Singh - 1000 career first-class runs in 25th match
Game 3: Services 367 & 214 lost to Jharkhand 551/8d & 31/1 by 9 wickets
Points: Jharkhand 6, Services 0
  • Anukul Roy - 6/67 & 4/63 and 57, 1st 5-wicket haul & 1st 10-wicket match haul
  • Saurabh Tiwary - 165, 20th First Class Century
  • Shahbaz Nadeem - 60 & 5/78, 25th 5-wicket haul
Game 4: Jharkhand 92 & 470/9d drew with Rajasthan 287 & 194/4
Points: Jharkhand 1, Rajasthan 3
  • First Class Debut: Aryaman Sen, Supriyo Chakraborty
  • Aryaman Sen - 38 & 119, Century on debut & top scorer in both innings
  • Anukul Roy - 125 in 2nd Innings, 3rd First Class Century
  • Ashish Kumar - 5/76 in 1st innings, 5th 5-wicket haul
Game 5: Jharkhand 103 & 366 beat Chhattisgarh 113 & 312 by 44 runs
Points: Jharkhand 6, Chhattisgarh 0
  • Shahbaz Nadeem - 500 First-class wickets in 129 games
  • Ashish Kumar - 5/44 in 1st innings, 6th 5-wicket haul
  • Anukul Roy - 5/45 in 2nd innings, 2nd 5-wicket haul
Game 6: Pondicherry 231 & 250 lost to Jharkhand 412 & 73/0 by 10 wickets
Points: Jharkhand 7, Pondicherry 0
  • First Class Debut: Monu Kumar
  • Virat Singh - 124 in 1st innings, 9th First Class Century
  • Saurabh Tiwary - 116 in 1st innings, 21st First Class Century
  • Kumar Deobrat - 50th First Class match
  • Anukul Roy - 1,000 career runs in 23rd match
Game 7: Jharkhand 164 & 201 lost to Karnataka 300 & 66/1 by 9 wickets
Points: Jharkhand 0, Karnataka 6
  • Kumar Suraj - 1,000 career runs in 15th first-class match
  • Shahbaz Nadeen - 5/141 in 1st innings, 26th 5-wicket haul
Group Stage: Jharkhand finished with 23 points, and somehow with all their opponents also messing up ended in 2nd spot to qualify for the knockouts.

Quarter-Finals: Jharkhand 173 & 221 lost to Bengal 328 & 69/1 by 9 wickets

Season Stats
Highest Scorers
  1. Saurabh Tiwary: 653 @59.36 2x100, 4x50
  2. Virat Singh: 498 @38.31, 2x100, 2x50
  3. Kumar Kushagra: 429 @33.00, 2x50
Highest Wicket-takers
  1. Shahbaz Nadeem: 42 @26.81, 4x5
  2. Anukul Roy: 26 @22.77, 2x5
  3. Ashish Kumar: 19 @26.89, 2x5
Top Score: Saurabh Tiwary 165 vs Services
Best Bowling: Anukul Roy 6/67 vs Services
Players Used: 21 
First Class Debuts: 4

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Ranji Trophy 2022-23: Bihar Review

Bihar - Ranji Plate League Champions
That has a nice ring to it.

Bihar were placed in the 6 team Plate Group. After finishing 4th in the group stage, the Ashutosh Aman lead side upped the ante and registered comprehensive victories in the semi-finals and finals to be crowned the inaugural Plate League winners of the Ranji Trophy. And they also got the much-awaited promotion to the Elite League next year!

Here is a game-by-game review of the season

Game 1: Arunachal Pradesh 212 & 84 lost to Bihar 517 by an innings & 221 runs
Points: Bihar 7, Arunachal Pradesh 0
  • First Class Debut: Baljeet Singh Bihari, Adhiraj Johri
  • Adhiraj Johri – 118, Century on Debut
  • Sachin Kumar – 156, 1st First Class Century & Player of the Match
  • Malay Raj – 2/48 & 5/35, 1st 5-wicket haul
Game 2: Bihar 311 & 287/9d drew with Manipur 296 & 248/8
Points: Bihar 3, Manipur 1
  • Babul Kumar – 156, 4th First Class Century
  • Malay Raj – 5/35, 2nd 5-wicket haul
Game 3: Bihar 264 & 99 lost to Meghalaya 167 & 200/6 by 4 wickets
Points: Bihar 0, Meghalaya 6
  • First Class Debut – Anuj Raj, Raghuvendra Pratap Singh
  • Bipin Saurabh – 107 in 1st innings; 1st First Class century
Game 4: Sikkim 157 & 122/4 drew with Bihar 157
Points: Bihar 1, Sikkim 1
  • Veer Pratap Singh – 5/30, 4th 5-wicket haul
Game 5: Bihar 474 drew with Mizoram 176 & 379/6 (f/o)
Points: Bihar 3, Mizoram 1
  • First Class Debut: Varun Raj
  • Babul Kumar – 209, 5th First class century
  • Shivam Singh – 110, 1st First class century
Bihar finished 4th in the Group Stage and met group toppers Meghalaya in the Semi-Finals

Plate League Semi-Final: Bihar 428 & 164 beat Meghalaya 134 & 156 by 302 runs and qualified for the Elite League next season
  • First Class Debut: Nawaz Khan
  • Bipin Saurabh – 177 in the 1st innings, 2nd First-class century
  • Ashutosh Aman – 150 first-class wickets
Plate League Final: Bihar 546 & 335 beat Manipur 337 & 224 by 220 runs
  • Sakibul Gani – 205 in 1st innings, 3rd First-class century, 1,000 career runs in 10th game
  • Sachin Kumar – 132 in 2nd innings, 2nd First-class century
  • Bipin Saurabh – 155 in 1st innings, 3rd First-class century
  • Nazwaz Khan – 5/82 & 5/95, 1st & 2nd 5-wicket haul and 1st 10-wicket haul
Season Stats
Highest Scorers
  1. Sakibul Gani: 585 @53.18, 1x100, 3x50
  2. Sachin Kumar: 562 @51.09, 2x100, 2x50
  3. Bipin Saurabh: 521 @47.36, 3x100, 1x50
Highest Wicket-takers
  1. Ashutosh Aman: 28 @21.25,
  2. Sachin Kumar: 20 @24.35
  3. Veer Pratap Singh: 16 @24.94, 1x5
Top Score: Babul Kumar 209 vs Mizoram
Best Bowling: Veer Pratap Singh 5/30 vs Sikkim
Players Used: 24
First Class Debuts: 6

Overall, a good season for Bihar with Sachin Kumar being their best player closely followed by Bipin Saurabh. Looking forward to the next season in the Elite Leagues now!

Monday, January 9, 2023

The Twenty22 LineUp

We are already a few days into 2023 and the laws of cricket have been called into question in the Big Bash League. Before the year gets too far ahead, here is looking back at the year gone by. 2022 was a packed year for cricket with many countries clearing their covid backlogs. It was also the year in which we moved away from Covid with players participating actively in games even after testing positive. A far cry from the days when even those who had potentially come in close contact with them had to be put in isolation.

Here is presenting the Slipstream XI for 2022!

1. Cricketing Term of the Year – BazBall
BazBall is the real deal. Winning multiple improbable 4th innings chases, taking out a dead Rawalpindi pitch and bad light out of the equation, England are showing that Test cricket can be played differently! This after a horror start to the year after another pounding in Australia in the Ashes!

2. The Question of the Laws
Ben Stokes took a DRS Review after being given caught behind. Replays showed ball missed bat, hit the stumps but the bails did not fall off. Given not out on review, everyone had a hearty laugh, but it once again brings into question of LBW is a valid form of dismissal at all?

3. Coach of the Year
Given the headline dominating BazBall, Brendon McCullum should have been a cert for this award. But it goes to the other England coach, Matthew Mott, who in 2022, first lead the Australian women to an ODI World Championship and followed it up by leading the England Men to a T20 World Championship!

4. The Perseverance Award
12 Years after his Test debut, Jaydev Unadkat got to play his second Test for India. He may never play again, but what a story it has been, toiling year after year on the domestic circuit, and finally getting his second Test cap, and first wicket

5. The cricketing moment of the Year
There were a few contenders - Virat Kohli hitting that six off Haris Rauf (18.5), Stuart Broad conceding 35 runs in an over to Jasprit Bumrah, surreal scenes in BPL where the fielder’s throw hit both sets of stumps and the second one was runout. But the most talked about incident turned out to be Deepti Sharma running out Charlie Dean at the non-strikers end. The so called guardians of “Spirit of Cricket” were all up in arms on social media, where the debate raged on and on. The players themselves moved on fast with Deam attempting a run-out the very next day. Only issue was the non-striker had her feet firmly plonked behind the line!

6. Rivalry of the Year
Move over the Ashes, India-Pakistan, England-West Indies or even the Naagin rivalry (Sri Lanka – Bangladesh for the uninitiated). There is a new rivalry in town which has in origins in a Mr. Bean’s Pakistani duplicate being sent to an agriculture event in Zimbabwe a few years back! It came to light only in the T20 World Cup clash between Zimbabwe and Pakistan (won by Zimbabwe). Such was the storm on social media that even the Heads of States of both countries got involved!

7. Friendship of the Year
On the other hand, there were the Argentine fans of Bangladesh cricket, who were reciprocating their support after learning that there were more Albiceleste fans in Bangladesh than in Argentina itself. Result – Mehidy Hasan Miraz’s series winning exploits against India were also written in Spanish across the interwebs! That is one interesting way to grow the game.

8. Karma bites back
In the Ranji Trophy pre-quarter finals, Jharkhand batted on and on, scored 880 runs, shot out Nagaland for 289, then batted again and declared at 417 taking a lead of 1008 runs (first 4-digit lead in first class history). However in their very next game, they were at the receiving end. In the Quarter-finals, Bengal batted first scored 773, shot out Jharkhand for 298 and then batted again to pile up 318 runs. Just a small lead of 796 runs!

9. Ypu Gate
A journalist threatening an international cricketer and getting caught by his typos. Well done Wriddhiman Saha for exposing one rotten apple. But one wonders what else goes on behind the scenes. This ypu can’t be the only one who has indulged in such activities!

10. The Debutantes of the Year
ODI (W): Thailand
T20I (M): Cook Islands, Croatia, Fiji, Gambia, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mali, Slovenia, South Korea, St. Helena
T20I (W): Bahrain, Barbados, Denmark, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Isle of Man, Malta, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Spain

11. The New Format of the Year
West Indies compressed the game to 60 balls and made random changes along they way and came with The 6ty. It had its own set of bizarre innovations. Lets see which format comes along in 2023! 

That was the Slipstream selection from 2022. Hoping for an action-packed 2023 with its two World Cups and Test Championship Finals. 

Wishing all readers a Very Happy and statistically fun-filled cricketing Year.